You might know turmeric best as a spice in South Asian or Persian cuisine. Frequently used in curry powders or as a coloring agent, ground turmeric root has an earthy taste, slightly mustardy smell and a distinctive bright yellow color. It also has a number of properties that are really beneficial for your health.
Turmeric has been long used in Eastern medicine as an anti-inflammatory. In fact the most-researched ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been demonstrated to have similar anti-inflammatory properties to hydrocortisone. Research has also suggested that turmeric could be effective in treating Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and even arthritis.
However, today I am going to be focusing on turmeric’s role as an antifungal agent. Recent research has begun to show that turmeric can be effective both against Candida albicans and the biofilms that it forms, so it could be a very useful addition to your anti-Candida program.
Turmeric And Candida
Commercial antifungals tend to be associated with a large number of side effects, so researchers have been isolating and testing herbal remedies to find an alternative. Usually this research tends to be done in Asian or South American universities. The reason? You can’t patent a naturally-occurring compound like Curcumin, so research funding in Western universities is hard to find.
A Brazilian research team looked at the effectiveness of Curcumin against 23 strains of fungi, including Candida albicans. They found that at a fairly low concentration, Curcumin was able to completely inhibit the growth of Candida albicans (as well as lots of other fungal strains).
They also tested Curcumin using human cells. According to the researchers, “Curcumin was able to inhibit the adhesion to BEC [human cheek cells] of all the Candida species studied, being more potent than the commercial antifungal fluconazole.” In other words, Curcumin was more effective than Diflucan at preventing Candida from attaching to human cells.
Another study looked at how ascorbic acid (one form of vitamin C) could affect the antifungal properties of Curcumin. Ascorbic acid on its own has no significant antifungal properties, but the researchers found that it made Curcumin more effective. Remarkably, the Curcumin was 5-10 times more effective against Candida albicans when it was used in the presence of ascorbic acid. Simply put, vitamin C supplements could make Curcumin even more effective against Candida.
When you use turmeric, you might want to consider taking some black pepper at the same time. There is evidence that black pepper increases the bioavailability of the active compounds in turmeric, and indeed they are often used together in herbal medicine.
Adding Turmeric To Your Diet
Curcumin supplements are much more concentrated than regular turmeric, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you won’t get any benefit from adding turmeric to your diet. If you enjoy curries or Middle Eastern cuisine, then including turmeric in your recipes is pretty easy. However, it can also be added to lots of meat dishes, used in marinades, and added to egg salads or scrambled eggs. Two good examples are this grilled chicken with bok choy recipe and these quinoa and rutabaga patties.
You can use turmeric to make a delicious anti-Candida drink too. This is a personal favorite of mine as it combines coconut milk with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. All 4 of these ingredients are proven antifungals. The healthy fats in the coconut milk also help you to absorb the turmeric, as it is not water-soluble.
½ can of coconut milk
½ tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. ground ginger (or finely chopped ginger)
½ tsp. cinnamon
Stevia to taste
1. Heat the coconut milk gently on the stove.
2. Add the spices and stevia, then stir well. If you use a blender you will usually get more flavor and a smoother consistency.
For more information on beating Candida, along with lots of delicious anti-Candida recipes, check out my Ultimate Candida Diet program and Candida Diet Recipe Book. You can find them both here. Good luck with your Candida treatment!