[Homestead] Update on health: turmeric and milk thistle
jeanne13 at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 3 06:09:13 EST 2009
Thanks for the update Bev.
It is really great getting all this information. It appears that just by luck I have always added a tablespoon of olive oil or 1/4 cup of walnuts to my morning drink, which also includes a heaping tablespoon of organic turmeric (Frontier Herb Co.) along with a tablespoon of organic ground ginger. For whatever reason it works for me as I am 95% pain free. Also in that drink I include 2 Tablespoons of fresh ground organic flaxseeds, so I think I am well oiled. :)))
To bad we are not able to conduct more testing among ourselves.
Will take the time though to find out how Frontier gets the turmeric and how it is processed, or not.
It is good to hear that the milk thistle is working for your liver. Now that you are back on the drug do you think it might be necessary to increase the milk thistle?
North East TN zone 6
----- Original Message -----
To: Homestead List
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 4:51 PM
Subject: [Homestead] Update on health: turmeric and milk thistle
Several people have asked about my health lately, so...
Last Tuesday, I visited my rheumatologist and discussed my treatment
with her. She was less enthusiastic about alternative treatments
(especially the ones involving fasting and diet) than I had hoped for or
thought she would be, which was disappointing, but she did not totally
blow it off at the time. I got a pat on the back for not taking the
meds when I was sick, but then I got a pee-pee spanking for not
informing her of my turmeric trial. In case you don't know what a
pee-pee spanking is....in the old days, people housebroke puppies by
whopping them once with a rolled up newspaper and shoving their nose in
the pee. A pee-pee spanking is what you get if you commit a minor
infraction or are deserving of a minor reprimand...hehe...she did not
lecture too much as she saw/knew I paid a price for it.
So anyway, she was open to me reducing the meds by half (with the
obvious warning that this is not the tested dose and while it is a safe
dose, it may not be an effective dose and why take something if it is
not effective. She did not, however, think I should go off treatment
altogether. As to liver risks, she told me what I already knew, that
all available meds for this condition will carry the same risks, and
watching my liver and kidneys fluctuate is part of the deal. She agreed
that because the meds stress my liver that it would be important to keep
it clean(i.e. no alcohol, possible use of milk thistle, etc.) so that
was a small victory. I've been taking the milk thistle so we both were
anxious to see the results of the bloodwork.
For now, I will take the full Enbrel dose, but if the MRSA comes back, I
will go to a half dose after antibiotics are finished(no Enbrel during
infection-which might mean increase turmeric during that time).
About the turmeric trial....
To recap, I started off at the first of the year just eating turmeric,
within a few days, I bumped the dose to 9 teaspoons a day and then I
bought the extract capsules because it was really difficult to eat 9 tsp
a day. After no improvement with the capsules, I began taking two
capsules a day, that would be 1000 mg of turmeric extract a day, but
still without result. My fingers were horrible and my already
deteriorating condition did not stabilize or improve. I stopped taking
the turmeric on Tuesday the 27th, after 24 days. Based on the way
turmeric works in the body, I should have seen results in 14-21 days.
The doctor agreed with this. HOWEVER...
While the turmeric did not overtly help my RA pain, it may have helped
my allergies. Of course, it is January, the month where my allergic
response is the least, so I will hold on to the bottle for a few months
and give turmeric another try during the height of allergy season.
Honestly, though, it is hard to take 1000 mg of it...500 is
plenty, I think.
So anyway, I came home Tuesday evening and gave myself a shot, and by
Wednesday lunch, I could walk almost without limping and I could grasp
the coffee pot with one hand again. By Thursday, steps and washing my
hair were no problem, and by the weekend, I was almost 100% of my normal
mobility--still have some pain, but that is normal. Apparently my only
visible damage from this trial is a hammer toe which I did not have
before. Maybe it will straighten out some in time, but I doubt it.
It's not too bad yet, but definitely noticeable, if not by the bend, by
the grape sized knot on the joint. It is amazing how quickly the body
can deform. That happened in less than one month, but I'm hoping to be
back in remission soon. All things considered, I need to give my body a
break before trying any other alternative, and buy new shoes, of course.
Oh well, I needed new shoes anyway. For now, it's slippers and muck
Fast forward to today..
I got the results of my labwork today, and there were quite a number of
1. The Turmeric, while apparently not relieving my pain or halting the
disease process, DID reduce some inflammation. My sed rates were closer
to normal than usual, an amazing feat for having been off regular meds
for so long. The turmeric is the probable explanation. So, if I do end
up having to cut back on the Enbrel, adding turmeric in would probably
be helpful to reduce inflammation long term. Based on this, when I try
turmeric again in the Spring, I may try to take 1500 mg and see what
happens. (That seems crazy to me right now, but I am open to it) Right
now, I am in a one day at a time mode, so we will see. All in all, I
would say that turmeric has been somewhat helpful, but not helpful
enough to eliminate my regular medicines. Perhaps a higher dose would
help, but my digestive system may not survive that. :)
2. All of my liver tests as well as differential bloodwork were normal
again, something that hasn't happened in almost 2 years. That includes
my CRP, which is often 500 times higher(or more) than it should be. The
lowered CRP could also be related to the turmeric, but since CRP is
produced by the liver, I am going to attribute this miracle to milk
thistle. The milk thistle is apparently doing wonders on my liver.
Yeah!! I will definitely continue to take the milk thistle in the hope
that it will mitigate damage done by my regular meds.
My doctor's take was that all of this recent stuff is a normal
fluctuation in the disease process. She recognized that the turmeric
may be helpful, but was not sold on the milk thistle as she stated liver
function depends on a lot of variables. (I believe both were helpful in
I have a distant cousin who also has RA (extended family/stepfamily) and
her case is as bad or worse than mine. She is 5 years younger than me
and did not get help quickly so she has a lot of irreversible damage. I
heard she is involved in some experimental trials down at Emory and is
doing so well that she is working full time again and coaching soccer
again. I tried unsuccessfully to find out what the trial was about but
found this instead---it is research that might explain why some
treatments work for some people and not others.
I knew there were more than 40 subtypes of RA, but I did not realize
that they were being mapped like this.
While turmeric may not be the end all drug for me, it certainly did not
harm me other than moderate digestive discomfort and making me smell
weird to my friends and family. I would encourage anyone with
autoimmune issues to give this a trial and see if it helps you.
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will
not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius
will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the
world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone
are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve
the problems of the human race"
~ Calvin Coolidge
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