Turmeric and Wound Healing

Turmeric root and powderTurmeric is a versatile spice. It’s tasty so it’s not surprising that it figures prominently in many Asian cuisines.

Perhaps as importantly, turmeric has a long history of medicinal usages.
It has great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This makes it very helpful for problems like arthritis.

Cultures that regularly include turmeric in their diet have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

There’s also some suggestion that turmeric reduces the risk of cancer.

With possible benefits like that, I try to add at least a little turmeric to my diet most days.

When I have eggs, which is often, I sprinkle turmeric on them.

I also make a “latte” by blending hot almond milk with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and a bit of coconut oil. Very tasty – I suggest you give it a try.

Feel free to add a little sweetener if you care to.

Beyond that, I enjoy curries. When I make one I’m always sure to add turmeric.

If you don’t want to use turmeric in your cooking, you can take supplements. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and that’s the supplement that you’ll usually see in the health store.

Still, as always my preference is for whole foods and supplements only as a secondary backup.

You’re probably not too surprised about using as a spice or a supplement. You may be a little less aware of the linkage between turmeric and wound healing.

Turmeric has significant antiseptic effects. Additionally, some studies suggest that it improves collagen formation and wound remodeling – very important aspects of wound healing.

Because of these effects, turmeric is a reasonable natural remedy for minor cuts and scrapes.

Using it for this purpose is pretty straightforward.

Mix turmeric with enough coconut oil to make a paste. If there’s no coconut oil handy you can use water. After cleaning the wound, coat it with this paste, then put a bandage on.

Change this dressing once a day or so.

If you want to know about another natural treatment for minor cuts and scrapes, click on that link.

And here are some references if you’re interested:

Life Sci. 2014 Oct 22;116(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2014.08.016. Epub 2014 Sep 6.
Curcumin as a wound healing agent.
Akbik D1, Ghadiri M1, Chrzanowski W2, Rohanizadeh R3.

Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2016;17(11):1002-7.
Wound Healing Effects of Curcumin: A Short Review.
Tejada S, Manayi A, Daglia M, Nabavi SF, Sureda A, Hajheydari Z, Gortzi O, Pazoki-Toroudi H, Nabavi SM1

Natural Remedy for Cuts and Scrapes

band aidsI grew up as one of five boys. As you might imagine, there was a fair amount of rough-and-tumble in our household. Cuts and scrapes were pretty common.

Our mom used to clean the cuts, put on some Mercurochrome, apply a Band-Aid and send us on our way.

Of course this was always accompanied by a hug and a kiss.

I’m now certain that mom’s love and attention had much more to do with the healing than the Mercurochrome. Alas, Mercurochrome is pretty worthless as an antiseptic. The only thing I can say in its favor is that it has a pretty color and it doesn’t sting.

However, a lot of things people put on wounds are even worse. Not only are they ineffective, they can actually be harmful.

Back in the 50s, the other common antiseptic for cuts and scrapes was iodine. Iodine is certainly an effective antiseptic but it stings like the dickens. Plus, it’s actually a little harsh to put directly in an open wound.

These days a lot of people use Neosporin ointment. Not a good idea.

The active ingredient in Neosporin ointment is the antibiotic neomycin. Neomycin is in the category of antibiotics known as aminoglycosides.

There are a couple things wrong with using an antibiotic in a wound.

For one thing, topical antibiotics aren’t especially effective. They don’t work very well for preventing infection in a wound.

Another reason: we should use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and when no other good alternative exists. I’m sure that by now you’re aware of the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Overuse of antibiotics is a leading cause.

Yet another reason to stay away from Neosporin is the fact that it has a very high incidence of allergic reaction. Somewhere around 10% of people will develop sensitivity after a few days of use. That rate goes up even higher as people get older.

Here’s a Natural Alternative to Treat a Minor Cut

So if you’re not going to use Neosporin what should you use?

I’m glad you asked. There are a couple of natural remedies that are extremely effective. The one we use most frequently in our home today is medical honey.

Medical honey is honey produced by bees that have foraged on Manuka (also known as tea tree) shrubs.

Medical honey is marketed under the brand name Medihoney in the United States. You can find it in most pharmacies.

You can also find Manuka honey in a health food store. The downside of that honey is it may not have been handled as carefully in production as medical grade honey.

Whether or not to use it is your call. I will say that I’ve used honey from the health food store on myself and my family without any problems.

The only thing you might want to be careful about is using honey on someone who has a history of allergy to bees. Although the risk of a serious reaction is extremely low, it’s best to be on the safe side.

So for minor cuts and scrapes skip the Neosporin. Clean the wound well with plain tap water, Pat it dry with a clean towel, then apply some honey and a bandage.

And if it’s for someone in your family, remember the hug and a kiss.

There are other natural options I write about elsewhere that you can check out.

And here are a couple of references if you’re interested:

Mandal MD, Mandal S. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2011;1(2):154-160. doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60016-6.

Maddocks SE1, Jenkins RE Honey: a sweet solution to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance? Future Microbiol. 2013 Nov;8(11):1419-29. doi: 10.2217/fmb.13.105