Article originally published on RawFoodWorld.com republished with permission.
Yoga and visits to a chiropractor can help sciatica pain in a more natural way than going the pharmaceutical route. New studies point toward herbs as another natural method for healing sciatica.
Reversing Sciatica Pain
Many experts propound that turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, can be taken as a tonic to minimize chronic inflammation. One of the best ways to administer turmeric is to heat it in milk (or milk alternative) and coconut oil with a bit of pepper.
Fun Fact: The piperine found in black pepper helps absorb nutrients more effectively. Curcumin enteric-coated capsules with piperine is another suggestion for optimal absorption and faster relief. (1)
Consume turmeric as a tea, use it in cooking, or apply it topically in a paste to receive the best benefits. (2)
Turmeric Lowers Levels of Certain Inflammation-Fueling Enzymes
Turmeric can help relieve sciatica pain and swelling by lowering levels of certain inflammation-fueling enzymes. (2) The suggested general dosage for healthy adults is 300 mg of turmeric, taken 3 times per day to help ease pain and inflammation.
If you take medications, then the dosage may need to be adjusted. Turmeric supplements may contain bromelain which can increase the anti-inflammatory effects. (3)
Turmeric has been used in Ayurveda for many centuries to treat arthritis because of its effectiveness in reducing inflammation, which is sometimes the root cause of low back pain and/or sciatica. (4) Turmeric has also been used in traditional medicine in Asia. Malaysian scientists confirmed that turmeric extract could help ease nerve-related pain. (5)
Turmeric Better Than NSAIDs
Turmeric is a selective COX-2 inhibitor. COX-1 and COX-2 are enzymes that start your inflammatory process. COX-1 is considered to be “good” because it performs a “housekeeping role” around inflammation and maintains your stomach lining. COX-2 is responsible for increasing inflammation. (6)
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) that include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are not selective and inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes to stop inflammation. Because these drugs disrupt COX-1 they can lead to stomach problems over time. What makes turmeric unique is that it is “selective” and only inhibits COX-2. (6)
A selective COX-2 inhibitor is something drug companies have been trying to create over the last ten years, but why take a drug when a food or spice can do the same thing with no (known) side effects? (6) The cost difference between a pill and a spice are tremendously different. Thankfully, turmeric is easier on your body and your wallet!