Almost all scientific studies investigate the potential of turmeric to fight and treat diseases in adults.
Yet, Ayurveda- a traditional Indian medicinal system recommends turmeric for all ages.
So today we are going over a few modes by which this spice could help protect your children.
Children are more prone to infections and disorders since their immune system has not sufficiently been exposed and developed.
Also, their physical needs in terms of nutrition are different from ours since they are growing.
Most of their organs are still in a developmental stage such as bones, brains, etc and this phase demands proper nutrition and protection.
Turmeric is a revered herb and culinary spice in Asia. Lately, there have been a lot of advances in the area of medical research pertaining to this herb.
Turmeric contains a class of compounds called curcuminoids. They are strong antioxidants and also give the rhizome its characteristic yellow color.
Curcumin is principal curcuminoid that righteously performs its duty as a bioactive ingredient of turmeric.
Turmeric contains a number of molecules other than curcumin which have medicinally valuable properties.
Table of Contents
- 6 Benefits Of Turmeric For Children
- 15 Kid Health Issues Turmeric Can Help
- 1. Turmeric fights Fever & Flu
- 2. It is a natural painkiller
- 3. It can speed up the healing of bone fractures
- 4. Turmeric can heal burns and wounds
- 5. It is good for oral health
- 6. Turmeric is beneficial for skin disorders
- 7. It remedies digestive disorders
- 8. It can reduce symptoms of allergies
- 9. It has anti-asthma properties
- 10. It can help in juvenile arthritis
- 11. It can help in the treatment of Juvenile diabetes
- 12. Turmeric is therapeutic in Cystic fibrosis
- 13. It can aid in Pneumonia
- 14. It terminates malaria-related infection
- 15. It has anti-cancer properties
- How to give your kids turmeric?
6 Benefits Of Turmeric For Children
Here are a few health benefits linked with turmeric which could positively build your child’s health.
1. It is an anti-inflammatory agent
There is a lot of talk going on about turmeric’s anti-inflammatory property.
So what exactly is inflammation?
In case of an infection, your body produces special cells and chemicals to fight it. But sometimes this reaction goes out of hand and that is when it is called inflammation. It is generally characterised by redness, swelling and increased temperature.
Curcumin inhibits the activity of COX enzymes which are key players in the inflammation process.
One of the most important targets that curcumin regulates is nuclear factor-kappa B.
This bundle of proteins acts like a switch which turns inflammation on or off.
Curcumin also activates genes that produce anti-inflammatory chemicals. Curcumin free fractions of turmeric also exert anti-inflammatory property.
As an anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric could be useful in controlling pain, fever or mostly any disease that is marked by the presence of inflammation.
What does this mean?
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory property could help your child in case of fever or pain from wounds and bruises.
2. It is a strong antioxidant
Antioxidants are compounds which prevent oxidation by other molecules and this activity prevents spread of diseases and tissue damage.
Turmeric is as good as or even better than natural antioxidants like vitamin E and C.
A few ways by which it displays its antioxidant activity are:
- It increases the production of antioxidant enzymes
- It reduces what is called oxidative stress which is an imbalance between prooxidants and antioxidants
- It collects and eliminates reactive species that contribute to tissue damage due to oxidation.
These properties of turmeric are useful in treating diseases which are characterized by oxidative damage.
Antioxidant properties are not limited to curcuminoids but also extend to turmeric oil. Antioxidants lower incidence of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
They are beneficial for eye health and protect the body from the immune system and cognitive disorders.
This is a great alternative for those kids who miss on antioxidants as they are fussy when it comes to eating veggies and fruits.
What does this mean?
Turmeric can offer your child a healthy dose of antioxidants. To know more about turmeric’s antioxidant nature check this Why turmeric is a great antioxidant?
3. It is a natural anti-microbial agent
Time and again turmeric has been tested for its potential to fight microorganisms.
Turmeric is also effective against drug-resistant bacteria and parasites which could be a cause of the child’s tummy ache.
This property of turmeric is exploited as a cure for digestive disorders, cold and wound healing.
What does this mean?
Turmeric can keep a check on infections as effectively as antibiotics.
4. It strengthens immunity
The best health benefit that turmeric can offer you is a balanced, strong immune system.
Turmeric extract’s immune enhancing activity is said to be beneficial for cancer patients who have compromised immunity.
However, at high doses, it controls immune responses, prevents migration of immune cells, and lowers production of pro-inflammatory chemicals and all other proteins that could initiate the inflammatory response.
This is how turmeric treats and guards against autoimmune diseases.
What does this mean?
Curcumin can strengthen your child’s immune system.
5. It has wound healing properties
As parents, your heart might skip a beat when your kids trip or land up bruising themselves but that is the way they grow up right!
Since you can’t avoid the wounds, why not find an easier way to heal them.
Turmeric kills the microbes to which the wound is exposed and hastens the formation of scab and tissue formation.
Curcumin activates a protein known as transforming growth factor which accelerates the formation of blood vessels and supports the repair of wounds.
Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Band-aid have launched a turmeric variant of this plaster since turmeric is used in India for healing wounds and cuts.
What does this mean?
If your kid gets a cut or bruise, apply turmeric paste for quick relief and rapid wound healing.
6. It is good for brain health and memory
This indicates that turmeric is capable of influencing cognitive abilities.
Turmeric has a synergistic effect with DHA on brain functioning and is also proven to boost DHA levels in the brain. DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic acid – it is an omega-3 fatty acid derived mainly from fish oil.
DHA supplementation is proven to improve memory and cognitive performance in children.
What does this mean?
Turmeric can naturally enhance memory and cognition in children.
15 Kid Health Issues Turmeric Can Help
Having learned about the various medicinal properties we will now check out common ailments that children suffer from and how turmeric can help with them.
1. Turmeric fights Fever & Flu
Every kid develops a cold and fever once in a while and the first line of treatment we resort to is paracetamol- a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Fever marks the presence of inflammation. As mentioned earlier, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent and this property can help control fever.
The influenza virus is what causes the flu that affects the respiratory system.
Germacrone, a compound obtained from turmeric oil is proven to inhibit the development of influenza infection and is said to have the potential to be developed into a therapeutic agent for treating influenza infection.
2. It is a natural painkiller
Research proves that curcumin can help in management and treatment of pain caused by incisions and thus can be used as a preventative therapy in postoperative pain.
If it can deal with the pain of this magnitude, it definitely can help with pain and body aches that your child might suffer from.
The purpose behind presenting the above-mentioned research studies is to prove that turmeric is as good as common painkillers but does not cause any side effects observed by long term consumption of painkillers.
Find more information right here: How Turmeric Helps in Various Kinds of Pains
3. It can speed up the healing of bone fractures
I remember back in school, every kid now and then would land up with a plaster and we would all express our concern by writing ‘Get well soon’ messages on the plasters.
Our teachers would chide us for this attitude and would advise the kid with a fracture to take Golden milk.
Turmeric indeed has bone-protective properties.
Controlled immune responses are vital for the healing of the bone and turmeric is an ace at influencing immune responses favourably.
Topical application of turmeric or even ingestion can help speed up the healing process. (Read Can Turmeric Help In Healing Bone Fractures?)
4. Turmeric can heal burns and wounds
After golden milk, applying turmeric locally to wounds and burns is the second most common household remedy in India.
Turmeric and neem extracts have been incorporated in commercial plasters designed for covering and coating surgical wounds.
Curcumin’s analgesic and wound healing effect make it a great remedy for severe burn pain and wound.
Phosphorylase kinase is an enzyme produced immediately in response to injury and mediates inflammation Curcumin gel targets this enzyme and inhibits its activity in a way that aids in rapid healing of burns.
Read more on Turmeric benefits for burns
5. It is good for oral health
As a child we all have heard this one statement from our parents, ‘Don’t eat chocolates. It will spoil your teeth.’ Curcumin mouthwash is found to be beneficial for children.
And as you make your child follow this rule, here are a few ways turmeric could help in maintaining oral health:
- Massaging aching teeth with ground roasted turmeric reduces pain and swelling.
- If suffering from inflamed or bleeding gums, rub the teeth and gums twice daily with a paste made from 1 tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp mustard oil.
- Turmeric mouthwash made by mixing 10mg curcumin in 100ml distilled water is good for keeping the mouth free from plaque and germs.
More details available here: Why Turmeric is Fantastic for Oral Health and Hygiene
6. Turmeric is beneficial for skin disorders
Turmeric paste as a face mask has been used in India since ages for aesthetic purposes.
A mixture of neem and turmeric paste is an age-old remedy for scabies. Its anti-inflammatory activity and potential to destroy species that cause oxidative stress imparts skin protective properties to it.
Curcumin increases the level of detoxifying enzymes which is another way by which it helps in maintaining healthy skin.
Turmeric oil has potent anti-fungal activity which helps in protecting the skin from common infections.
For DIY remedies regarding skin problems read: How to Use Turmeric for Skin Problems?
7. It remedies digestive disorders
Turmeric finds its use in digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. Following biological properties associated with this herb help in treating gastrointestinal disorders:
- It controls inflammation.
- It prevents oxidative damage.
- It protects the liver whose enzymes play a key role in digestion.
- It increases production of bile which aids in digestion.
Studies prove that demethoxycurcumin, a curcuminoid present in turmeric reduces inflammation in gastric lining.
In a study evaluating the effect of turmeric on indigestion, 87% of the patients receiving turmeric responded to the treatment and improved significantly.
A clinical trial was conducted to test the efficacy of turmeric in children suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. Out of 11 patients, 2 suffering from ulcerative colitis were in remission with turmeric treatment and those suffering from Crohn’s also experienced a decrease in score. All patients experienced improvement.
Want more details? Check: Turmeric for Healthy Stomach
8. It can reduce symptoms of allergies
Allergies can occur as a response to foreign bodies or also when the immune system fails to recognize certain proteins as a part of the body and treat them as pathogens.
The most basic reaction that occurs in the body is the activation of a type of immune cells called mast cells.
In response to allergy, they release a chemical called histamine which activates inflammation.
Interestingly curcumin inhibits the reaction.
In an animal allergy model, curcumin was found to control allergic responses on exposure to environmental allergens.
However, we would also like to mention that some individuals may be allergic to turmeric itself.
9. It has anti-asthma properties
Asthma is a respiratory condition characterized by blockage and narrowing down of the airway leading to difficulty in breathing.
In an animal study, intranasal administration of curcumin is found to reduce the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the airway, support muscle relaxation preventing narrowing of the airway and preventing blockage by accumulation of mucus.
10. It can help in juvenile arthritis
Arthritis can also occur in children. It characterized by stiffness in joints, swelling, and pain.
Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids demonstrate an anti-arthritic effect.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect are responsible for this effect.
Curcumin taken in combination with NSAIDs is proven to be more effective than NSAIDs alone in treating arthritis.
Turmeric is as effective as the painkiller ibuprofen in controlling arthritic pain.
Read more on Turmeric & Juvenile arthritis here
11. It can help in the treatment of Juvenile diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurring in children is known as juvenile diabetes where insulin production is less than what is required for survival.
A review study suggests that curcumin demonstrates anti-diabetic property by:
- Lowering blood sugar
- Improving liver function
- Increasing the production of insulin
- Increasing sensitivity to insulin
12. Turmeric is therapeutic in Cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the respiratory and digestive system.
It majorly affects the cells that secrete body fluids. Instead of thin secretions, these secretions land up being thick and clog the passageways especially the airway and lungs.
Like in most genetic diseases for every impaired function there is a normal gene which delivers normal function and a defective gene which gives rise to impaired function.
Research regarding this aspect is underway and it would be great news to many parents since cystic fibrosis is said to affect around 30,000 children in the US.
13. It can aid in Pneumonia
Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs which can be caused by infection, drugs or even autoimmune diseases.
Typical symptoms include cough, chest pain, fever and difficulty in breathing.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which suggest that it could help treat pneumonia.
In a study conducted with the purpose of evaluating the efficacy of curcumin in acute lung infections, animal was infected with bacteria that cause pneumonia.
They were treated with curcumin alone or in combination with an antibiotic.
Curcumin was found to effectively reduce inflammation and researchers concluded that curcumin in combination with antibiotics can help treat lung infections.
Malaria is said to affect millions of individuals worldwide.
Parasites of Plasmodium species cause this disease.
Curcumin is a proven parasiticidal agent which means that it can destroy these malaria-causing parasites.
15. It has anti-cancer properties
Turmeric and its pharmacological properties are widely researched upon with reference to cancer. It can prevent and treat cancer in multiple ways.
Curcumin can destroy cancer stem cells even before they develop into fully functioning cancerous mass!
In fact, it supports the anti-proliferative activity of certain chemotherapeutic drugs.
How to give your kids turmeric?
Turmeric in diet is the safest way to give your kids turmeric. Here are a few options:
- Add turmeric to curries or soups.
- Mix turmeric with yogurt and serve as a dip.
- Include turmeric in rice preparations to give the rice a vibrant yellow color.
- You can also add turmeric to smoothies, shakes and baked desserts as a coloring agent
Kids might be reluctant to consume turmeric paste due to its spicy flavour. You can mix it with honey or maple syrup to make it palatable.
Generally, the dose is 1/3rd of the adult dose but that also depends on the child’s weight and age. We would advise giving turmeric to children as a part of the diet.
If your child suffers from gall bladder issues or is taken blood glucose lowering drugs, please avoid turmeric supplements.
Turmeric supplements should be avoided 15 days prior to surgery. Inappropriate doses of turmeric might cause mild digestive problems.
If your child is allergic to turmeric, discontinue turmeric consumption immediately. It is best to consult your doctor before starting a child on turmeric supplements. Rather its best to not give turmeric supplements to children
Turmeric is a tried and tested formula for children as far as India is concerned.
Research also corroborates this fact. We believe that turmeric should be included in your child’s regular diet and you should not wait for a rainy day. It will definitely boost your child’s immunity.
If interested do go through other articles on our portal which could be relevant to your child’s health and do share your experience with us. Happy parenting!