Antiviral Turmeric for Colds, Flu and Boosting Your Immune System
The golden spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) is best known medicinally for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant actions.
Turmeric powder has antiviral properties as well though and can be beneficial for colds and flu.
With the novel coronavirus pandemic, some people have asked could this herbal remedy also help boost your immunity? As well as easing symptoms of viral respiratory infections, such as persistent coughing and a painful sore throat.
First it’s important to recommend everyone follow the advice of the CDC to avoid infection with the new virus. Contact local health authorities should you experience potential symptoms, such as a fever or ongoing coughs.
It’s too early for any medical research to have been conducted on turmeric, and its active compounds like curcumin, regarding the the new coronavirus.
There are, however, many studies related to turmeric powder and extracts on the common cold and influenza viruses. As well as scientific research showing its potential to boost your immune system to fight back against all viral infections.
Curcumin Immune System Booster
Curcumin is a potent orange compound found in turmeric root. Proven medically as a natural anti-inflammatory, recent scientific studies have also shown it to be a strong immunomodulatory agent.
Research shows curcumin from turmeric modulates the activation of both B and T cells, macrophages, natural killer cells and other aspects of your immune system.
Scientists also noted in the Journal of Clinical Immunology that “curcumin can down regulate the expression of various pro-inflammatory cytokines”.
Medical experts studying the novel coronavirus outbreak have noted that one of the most damaging aspects of severe infection is a “cytokine storm”. This is where the body’s immunity overreacts to the virus, causing extensive damage at the cellular level.
Importantly, anyone suffering from the new coronavirus must contact medical authorities and should discuss using any natural treatments that might interfere with medications.
Turmeric Is Not an ACE Inhibitor
There is currently some controversy as to whether ACE inhibitors, popular drugs for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, could increase severity risk for people diagnosed with the new coronavirus. Medical advice is to continue taking medications and consult your doctor.
Leo Garland MD has written excellent work on coronavirus protection and states: “There is misinformation circulating… that attributes a high death rate… to ARBs and ACE inhibitors… based on no evidence or data. A recent study… found no association between the use of ACE inhibitors or ARBs and severity…”
This research also showed “curcumin does not have ACE inhibitory effects”. However, it has been noted in other trials that it may have a synergistic effect with hypertensive medicines. Discussed turmeric use with your physician if currently taking one of these drugs.
Turmeric for Respiratory Virus Protection
Turmeric tea and golden paste are popular home remedies for warding off respiratory viruses, like the various strains responsible for the common cold and seasonal flu.
Compounds in turmeric like curcuminosides have been demonstrated to boost your immune system to help prevent rhinovirus and influenza infection.
The herb’s anti-inflammatory properties also aid in recovery from cold, flu and other viral respiratory infections.
How Curcumin Protects Against Influenza Virus
This study showed various curcuminosides had “strong inhibitory effects on the neuraminidases from 2 influenza strains H1N1 and H9N2”.
Further research showed diferuloylmethane (curcumin) “had a direct effect on viral particle infectivity for the H1N1 influenza virus” and additionally “reduced the yield of virus by over 90%”.
Another scientific trial found curcumin inhibited the original SARS-COV-1 virus, which is considered structurally similar to the new SARS-CoV-2, though research here is limited.
Importantly, no published studies have been done specifically on the 2019-nCoV virus. The effect curcumin might have on this particular coronavirus is currently unknown.
Turmeric Tea and Golden Milk for Cold and Flu Recovery
With all of its potential benefits, turmeric powder, like this high strength organic version I use, has become a popular cold remedy, immunity booster, inflammation fighter and general health tonic.
Two of the best ways to enjoy it are in turmeric tea and blended into a golden milk.
To make turmeric tea, simply mix a teaspoon of powdered turmeric with hot water. Adding black pepper with its piperine compound will increase absorption.
Antiviral ginger and honey are also recommended for coughs, sore throats and other symptoms of influenza and the common cold. There is a step by step recipe for making ginger turmeric tea here.
Golden milk is turmeric paste mixed into a milk of your choice, though I’d strongly recommend avoiding mucus forming dairy milk if you have a cold or especially the flu.
Rich coconut milk is a much healthier base for golden milk. Black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and grated ginger are all highly beneficial additions.
For a convenient and extremely potent golden milk, try a scoop of Organifi Gold reviewed here, with maximum strength turmeric, ginger, black pepper and cinnamon.
It tastes great and has other immune boosting superfoods, like turkey tail and reishi mushrooms, plus lemon balm extract to help you sleep.
Curcumin and Piperine Supplements
Turmeric tea and golden milk are great immunity boosting drinks to aid in recovery from viral infections and ease the severity of cold and flu symptoms.
For building up general immunity, as well as the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of turmeric, combination 95% curcumin and piperine supplements, like this popular bestseller, are inexpensive and highly effective.
Your body’s natural immunity is more important than ever at this time and turmeric has a long and well researched history of supporting a healthy immune response.
Curcumin Suppression of Cytokine Storm
I wanted to finish off this investigation into the antiviral properties of turmeric with what could be a very important benefit, given the current coronavirus pandemic.
This 2015 study found that “curcumin blocks cytokine release, most importantly the key pro-inflammatory cytokines”.
The vast majority of coronavirus patients recover but experts say in severe cases this viral disease instigates a cytokine storm. This is described as a massive and highly damaging overproduction by the body’s immune system of cytokines.
The scientists added: “suppression of cytokine release by curcumin correlates with clinical improvement… where cytokine storm plays a significant role in mortality”.
I hope this potential benefit, and how it could relate to severe 2019-nCoV virus infection cases, will be studied and investigated further.
In the meantime, once again please follow the advice of the CDC and other medical authorities and seek professional healthcare if you suspect you have contracted the new coronavirus.
I am not a doctor and cannot and would not give medical advice. I’ll just say that I personally will certainly be upping my intake of turmeric and curcumin to boost my immunity in 2021.