Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin for Inflammatory Orbital Pseudotumor

Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin for Inflammatory Orbital Pseudotumor
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From conjunctivitis to uveitis to a low-grade form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, there is something in the spice turmeric with dramatic anti-inflammatory effects.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In 1989, ophthalmologists in India found that eyedrops made from the spice turmeric, known as haridra in India, seemed to work just as well as antibiotic eyedrops in the treatment of conjunctivitis, or pink eye. So, researchers decided to give turmeric a try against more serious inflammatory eye diseases—like uveitis, which blinds tens of thousands of Americans every year. Uveitis is often an autoimmune or infectious inflammation of the central structures in the eye. Steroids, to knock down people’s immune systems, are the standard treatment, but carry a slew of side effects.

So, researchers tried giving uveitis sufferers oral supplements of curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric—thought responsible, in part, for the spice’s anti-inflammatory effects. Eighteen patients given curcumin alone, and all 18 improved. Efficacy “comparable to corticosteroid therapy,” but without any side effects.

A larger, follow-up study was similarly encouraging. 106 patients, all of which had a uveitis relapse in the year before starting curcumin. But, in the year after? Only 19 did. Altogether, the 106 patients relapsed 275 times in the year before. So, multiple relapses—but in the year on curcumin, a total of just 36.

Well, if turmeric curcumin works for mild eye inflammation, and serious eye inflammation, what about really serious eye inflammation?

“Idiopathic inflammatory orbital pseudotumors.” Let’s break that down: idiopathic means doctors have no idea what causes it—from the Greek idios, as in idiot. Inflammatory—orbital, referring to the bony cavity that houses our eyeball, and pseudotumor, as in not really a tumor. But, a lot has changed since this was published in 2000. “Inflammatory orbital pseudotumour is now generally attributed to low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.” So, it does actually appear to be a form of cancer. Well, what can curcumin do about it?

They decided to look at the spice compounds, because the available treatments are so toxic—steroids, radiation, and chemotherapy. In fact, initially all the patients in the study were put on steroids, but had to stop them because they either didn’t work, or “had to be withdrawn [because of]…complications.” And, they didn’t want to use radiation, because they didn’t want to blind anyone. But, you’ve got to do something. All the patients had such swelling that they couldn’t move their eye as they normally would. If only there were some cheap, simple, safe solution.

Four out of the five patients who completed the study had a full response—defined as complete recovery, with no residual signs or symptoms. Actually, complete regression of the eye dislocation and swelling occurred in all five out of five patients, though one of the patients continued to suffer some residual effects.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In 1989, ophthalmologists in India found that eyedrops made from the spice turmeric, known as haridra in India, seemed to work just as well as antibiotic eyedrops in the treatment of conjunctivitis, or pink eye. So, researchers decided to give turmeric a try against more serious inflammatory eye diseases—like uveitis, which blinds tens of thousands of Americans every year. Uveitis is often an autoimmune or infectious inflammation of the central structures in the eye. Steroids, to knock down people’s immune systems, are the standard treatment, but carry a slew of side effects.

So, researchers tried giving uveitis sufferers oral supplements of curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric—thought responsible, in part, for the spice’s anti-inflammatory effects. Eighteen patients given curcumin alone, and all 18 improved. Efficacy “comparable to corticosteroid therapy,” but without any side effects.

A larger, follow-up study was similarly encouraging. 106 patients, all of which had a uveitis relapse in the year before starting curcumin. But, in the year after? Only 19 did. Altogether, the 106 patients relapsed 275 times in the year before. So, multiple relapses—but in the year on curcumin, a total of just 36.

Well, if turmeric curcumin works for mild eye inflammation, and serious eye inflammation, what about really serious eye inflammation?

“Idiopathic inflammatory orbital pseudotumors.” Let’s break that down: idiopathic means doctors have no idea what causes it—from the Greek idios, as in idiot. Inflammatory—orbital, referring to the bony cavity that houses our eyeball, and pseudotumor, as in not really a tumor. But, a lot has changed since this was published in 2000. “Inflammatory orbital pseudotumour is now generally attributed to low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.” So, it does actually appear to be a form of cancer. Well, what can curcumin do about it?

They decided to look at the spice compounds, because the available treatments are so toxic—steroids, radiation, and chemotherapy. In fact, initially all the patients in the study were put on steroids, but had to stop them because they either didn’t work, or “had to be withdrawn [because of]…complications.” And, they didn’t want to use radiation, because they didn’t want to blind anyone. But, you’ve got to do something. All the patients had such swelling that they couldn’t move their eye as they normally would. If only there were some cheap, simple, safe solution.

Four out of the five patients who completed the study had a full response—defined as complete recovery, with no residual signs or symptoms. Actually, complete regression of the eye dislocation and swelling occurred in all five out of five patients, though one of the patients continued to suffer some residual effects.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Korean Journal of Radiology 8(4), August 2007. Image has been modified.

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