As more and more studies explore the health benefits of turmeric, we have to wonder, is there anything this root can’t do? According to new research out of India, turmeric could be an effective treatment for a relatively common skin disease known as lichen planus, which affects the face, mouth, hands, feet, and genitals with a rash and sometimes-painful lesions from an unknown cause.
The National Institutes of Health says lichen planus may be related to an immune or allergic reaction, but its true cause is unknown. It affects mostly middle-aged adults and can produce embarrassing symptoms. The new study, published in the National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery, suggests a simple turmeric ointment could provide relief to sufferers.
Researchers with King George’s University analyzed chronic lichen planus in 10 patients for three months. All 10 had the rash and sores in and around their mouths.
For three months, the study participants applied a turmeric ointment to the sores twice daily. Throughout the three month period, their progress was tracked for pain and rash appearance.
After the three month period, nine out of the ten patients were “clinically healed”. The tenth had “marked clinical improvement.”
Their symptoms began improving after only one week on the ointment, with nine of the participants reporting “mild” improvement in that single week. Though pain was a problem for nine out of ten in the first week, none of the participants had pain, redness, or ulcerations after the three month treatment.
As GreenMedInfo reports, the ointment was fairly straightforward:
“To make the extract, the researchers ground the root parts in a mill and soaked in 10 parts alcohol to one part powder for 48 hours. The mix was evaporated using a rotary evaporator and then refrigerated.”
You may have never heard of lichen planus, but the healing effects of turmeric reach far beyond this condition. Studies have linked it to everything from cancer prevention and treatment to the regulation of blood sugar. One 2013 study even found it to be more effective at treating depression than the popular medication Prozac.
The anti-depressant effects were comparable to those of prescription solutions, but the turmeric delivered benefits without side effects, something prescription drugs have yet to perfect.