It contains the compound curcumin, which has been widely shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Therefore, it has historically been used to treat an array of inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema.
However, you may wonder whether using turmeric can truly fight eczema and if it's safe.
This article tells you all you need to know about turmeric and eczema.
What is Eczema?
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting 2–10% of adults and 15–30% of children.
Eczema presents as dry, itchy, and inflamed skin, resulting from a dysfunctional skin barrier that leads to excess water loss. There are many types of eczema, but all are characterized by undesirable patches on the skin
The underlying cause of eczema is unknown, but a person's genetics and environment appear to be linked to its development.
Common treatments include special moisturizers and topical anti-inflammatory creams during flare-ups to minimize itching and restore the skin's moisture barrier.
However, given the increased popularity of natural remedies, many people are turning to herbal medicine for relief.
Eczema is one of the most common inflammatory skin conditions in children and adults. Common symptoms include dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.
Turmeric and Eczema
Due to turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties, many wonder whether it can alleviate eczema symptoms.
Although the spice has been used for centuries as a natural treatment for skin disorders, there is little research specifically on turmeric and eczema.
However, the cream also contained other anti-inflammatory herbs, which could have contributed to the improvements. Therefore, the study could not conclude that turmeric alone relieved eczema symptoms.
Moreover, a 2016 review of 18 studies found early evidence to support curcumin use, both topically and orally, for treating skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
Still, the researchers called for more studies to determine the dosage, efficacy, and mechanism of action.
Apart from these studies, there is little additional research on the oral, topical, or intravenous use of turmeric or curcumin for the treatment of eczema.
Research on turmeric and eczema is limited. Still, at least one study found significant improvements in eczema symptoms after using a topical cream containing the spice and other herbs. Additional studies suggest it may aid other skin conditions as well.
Safety and Precautions
Although there is limited research on turmeric and eczema, some people may still choose to use it.
Food and Supplements
There is extensive research on the health effects of consuming turmeric.
It's generally recognized as safe, and curcumin has been shown to have no adverse health effects in healthy people when taken in doses of up to 12,000 mg per day.
Still, keep in mind that the curcumin in turmeric has low bioavailability. Therefore, consuming ground turmeric may not provide a therapeutic dose.
While some studies report finding little to no curcumin in the bloodstream after ingestion, especially in doses below 4,000 mg, curcumin may still provide beneficial effects.
Another study detected curcumin in the blood more easily by using an alternate testing method.
Adding black pepper to turmeric dishes and supplements may help as well, as this spice contains a compound known as piperine, which can increase the absorption of curcumin. Still, it's unknown how much curcumin might reach your skin.
Dietary fats, water-soluble carriers, volatile oils, and antioxidants may also enhance the absorption of curcumin, according to some research.
Finally, the side effects of excessive turmeric intake may include skin rash, headache, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, and yellow stools.
Due to turmeric's popularity, many cosmetic companies use it as an ingredient in their products.
However, these products are specifically formulated for enhanced absorption, and applying pure turmeric to your skin will not have the same effects.
Moreover, the spice contains a strong yellow pigment shown to stain the skin, which most people likely find undesirable.
Although more research is needed, topical products containing the spice's active ingredients appear to be safe for use. Speak to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.
Due to turmeric's low bioavailability, there is an increasingly popular trend among natural healthcare professionals to provide it intravenously.
By bypassing digestion, the curcumin from the turmeric spice enters the blood supply more easily, providing a substantially higher dosage.
However, there is little research in this area, and major complications have been observed. In fact, a 2018 report found that intravenous turmeric for the treatment of eczema caused the death of a 31-year-old woman.
Even with small doses, this type of intravenous treatment may cause unwanted side effects, such as headache, nausea, upset stomach, constipation, and diarrhea.
Safety in Children
Given eczema's prevalence among children, many adults are looking for safe, natural remedies for their children.
However, there have been reports of lead poisoning from ground turmeric and supplements due to lead chromate, which is added to enhance the yellow color. This is most commonly associated with turmeric sourced from India and Bangladesh.
Furthermore, supplementing with this spice is usually studied in adults, so it's unknown whether it's safe for children.
Finally, it's best to speak with a dermatologist or other healthcare professional before trying turmeric products for the treatment of eczema.
Ground, supplemental, and topical turmeric are generally recognized as safe. However, intravenous treatment with the spice has been associated with serious side effects and death and should be avoided.
The Bottom Line
Despite its potential health benefits, there is only early research supporting the use of turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin to treat eczema.
If you're looking to try turmeric for eczema, avoid intravenous treatment due to serious safety concerns.
That said, ground turmeric has been used for centuries as part of herbal medicine and is safe for use. Try adding this spice or curry powder to your dishes for a kick of flavor.
Topical products containing turmeric are usually formulated to be safe for use, although you should avoid directly applying the spice to your skin to prevent staining.
Oral supplements may also be beneficial, though research has not yet determined effective doses specifically for eczema.
Always speak to a healthcare professional before taking turmeric supplements, especially if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, have a chronic condition, or intend to give it to your child.
You may also want to talk to your medical provider about other treatment options for eczema.
If your healthcare provider suggests giving turmeric a try, you can purchase supplements locally or online. Be sure to follow their dosage recommendation.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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