Nurturing female health with turmeric
Turmeric can provide numerous benefits to women throughout their life. It is a healing and nurturing plant, offering protection from damage associated with modern day living as well as specific support for female health conditions. Through its rich and varied plant chemistry, it has a powerful anti-inflammatory (antioxidant) and immune-strengthening it can be a wonderful support for hormone balance at all life stages.
Here are just a few of the ways turmeric is beneficial to women:
- Premenstrual symptoms and cycle balance
- PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and Endometriosis
- Egg Preservation and fertility
- Peri-Menopause and menopause
- Thyroid health
Premenstrual Symptoms and cycle balance
A build-up of the hormone oestrogen may result in women experiencing an irregular cycle, extended cycles (more than 36 days in length), heavy periods, painful periods, PMS, weight gain or acne. In the longer term, these hormone imbalances may also affect other hormone glands such as the thyroid and lead to conditions (such as fibroids) or fertility challenges.
This “excess” of oestrogen is significantly influenced by the efficiency of the liver to break-down or eliminate this build-up. Turmeric’s liver-supporting properties mean that it can play a functional role in moderating hormone imbalance through this mechanism too.
As a warming spice, turmeric can also be used to optimise ‘sluggish’ digestion by promoting the circulation of health blood to the digestive system as well as supporting the health of the gut wall.
Turmeric also increases bile flow, a fluid that is made and released by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile helps with digestion and helps the break down of fats and the absorption of the healthy fatty acids from food. These fatty acids are especially supportive for women, forming the “backbone” of the sex hormones amongst many other important functions in the reproductive system.
PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and Endometriosis
Both PCOS and endometriosis are conditions which involve the immune system and, specifically, the compromised ability to moderate of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. When levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines are elevated, they trigger greater inflammation in the body.
This greatly influences the development and progression of both these conditions – including common symptoms including:
- Painful or heavy periods
- An irregular or absent cycle
- Difficulties with ovulation
- Other pain
- Low energy
- Mood changes
- Weight issues
- Fertility challenges
Research shows that biochemical components in turmeric are able to manage the over production of these inflammatory cytokines, making turmeric a superior spice for the management of PCOS and endometriosis.
Egg preservation and fertility
While men are able to produce more sperm through the course of their life, women start their life with a set amount of egg - around 7 million immature eggs - called 'oocytes'. Preserving the quality of these oocytes is vital and means paying attention to a diet and lifestyle that is rich in antioxidant support.
Before an egg is ready to go through the ovulation process (egg release), the immature oocyte has to develop further and mature. This process requires surges in hormone levels and a by-product of this process is a greater production of a molecule called ROS (reactive oxygen species).
Oocytes are sensitive to this kind of oxidative stress initiated by the ROS. Normally, an oocyte is able to protect itself if the ROS levels stay fairly balanced, but if there is an over-production of ROS then the oocytes are at risk of being damaged.
This may lead to ‘anovulation’ - where the ovaries do not release an oocyte during a menstrual cycle. Its therefore essential that women protect themselves from increased exposure and higher levels of oxidative stress.
This is where valuable plants like turmeric can offer great support. Turmeric makes a nourishing accompaniment, alongside a good diet and specific vitamin and mineral support, for women looking to safe-guard their eggs and support their fertility in general.
In traditional Eastern medicine, turmeric is classified as a warming herb or spice, often used to increase warmth and blood flow to the pelvic area. This in turn, supports essential nutrients travelling to the lower body to support a healthy womb environment.
Peri-Menopause and menopause
Increased inflammation is also associated with menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. This prolonged inflammation can be burdensome for the body, requiring extra nutrients keep inflammation under control. Inflammation also accelerates ageing, not just aesthetically but also within our internal organs and tissue. This is why minimising stress, eating well, exercising and getting enough rest and sleep are especially important during this life stage.
As women transition through the menopause they may experience an increase in joint pain and general wear and tear on their musculoskeletal system. Our Turmaforte Full Spectrum Turmeric has been clinically-proven to reduce joint pain by 86.2% within 21 days of use and reduced cartilage degeneration, joint tenderness and inflammation.
It’s important to manage inflammation for bone health too. When inflammation takes hold, it can interfere with the way osteoclasts and osteoblasts (bone cells) operate and ‘remodel’ existing bone structure, effecting bone density and general skeletal health.
Thyroid autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are statistically more common in women. In many cases, it’s not the thyroid itself that is the root cause but instead a result of changes in the immune system.
In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland, resulting in unwanted symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Mood and cognitive complaints
- Menstrual cycle irregularity
- Sluggish digestion
- Fertility problems
- Other immune issues
Because 70 % of our immune system is located in our gut, turmeric is a good choice to work as an antioxidant to protect the thyroid, modulate the immune system and provide digestive healing and support.
The clinical applications of Turmeric are multiple and with a continually increasing understanding of the mechanics behind many female health conditions, it is fast becoming the natural medicine of choice for many working in female health.