I hear so much about the health preventative benefits of using dried ground turmeric root in food daily, and recently read an article online that says adding ground black pepper helps in the absorption of the turmeric during digestion. Please, what are your thoughts on this.
Turmeric certainly has many health benefits. In Chinese Medicine there are different parts of the plant used - Jiang Huang and Yu Jin - it falls into the “Herbs That Invigorate Blood” category. Generally it is a useful anti-inflammatory and potentially helps with certain liver conditions, menstrual issues, pains, discomfort and/or masses in the abdomen, etc.
But it is moving and warming which when you look at things from a Chinese Medicine eye is not always good for each individual - even with issues that look appropriate. But this is where the thousands of years of herbal medicine research, combinations and clinical applications steer sharply away from the very basic approaches that we tend to use herbs with in the west. For more on this generally, read “What Does Acupuncture Treat?” - which gets into the importance of pattern diagnosis which is the basis of treatment in Chinese Medicine (rather than symptoms) for acupuncture, herbal medicine, and all of the other facets of TCM.
Now with regards to black pepper, there are studies that show it increases the bio-availability of turmeric. But black pepper is a hot spice and turmeric is warm and moving - so, again, in cases of inflammation/pain that are arising from what we would call yin deficiency in Chinese Medicine or even from liver fire or any of the excess patterns - it would be avoided completely (both black pepper and turmeric) or used very judiciously with other herbs that balance the effects you want from it. This alludes to how herbs are primarily used in Chinese Medicine - that is, in formulas, never a this is good for “x” and this is good for “x” so we will just take a bunch of both of these like how herbs tend to be used in the west. The western approach can lead to many problems or just really lackluster results which is likely why you read so many mixed reports from individual herbal uses.
Thankyou Chad. I had seen Dr.Oz on YouTube ( or maybe television) talk about turmeric’s health benefits, saying you can eat as much of it as you want. The dietary aspect of staying healthy certainly seems like a minefield, with so much to avoid eating.