We all at some point of time encountered burns. Fire is the most common cause of burns. People working in the kitchen are very prone to burns while cooking etc. There are certain industries where danger of burns is more than others, e.g working metal refining, moulding industry.
Burns are extremely painful as they damage the body’s tissues. They may be caused by excessive heat, fire, electricity, certain harmful chemicals, sunlight, and radiations. Burns are classified into three types depending upon the degree of severity.
First degree burns damage only the outer layer of the skin. Second-degree burns affect the outer layer as well as the layer beneath the skin. The third degree burns damage the deepest layer underneath the affected skin.
Burns may further lead to swelling, blistering, scarring and in severe cases, they may lead to death. It is very important to seek immediate treatment if the burns are extreme. Certain painkillers and antibiotic creams are available that can provide relief from pain and treat the wound and scars caused by burns.
However, these may sometimes cause allergic reactions or side effects or may take longer duration to cure the affected areas. Turmeric is a natural ingredient and is known for its therapeutic properties in healing burns. This has been proved by various research studies promising the use of turmeric as a potential agent for treating burns.
If you already know about Turmeric, please jump to the relevant section using the Table of Contents below, else please read on.
Table of Contents
- What is turmeric?
- 5 Awesome Benefits of Turmeric For Healing Burns
- Dosage of Turmeric For Healing Burns
- How to apply turmeric topically for wound healing?
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a traditional Indian spice used as a herbal medicine for the past many centuries.Its various therapeutic properties make it an effective agent for the treatment of a variety of ailments. The golden yellow color of the spice comes from its active ingredient called curcumin.
The beneficial properties of turmeric have found to treat burns. Burns cause severe pain and disability, and the use of turmeric can play an important role in its therapy.
5 Awesome Benefits of Turmeric For Healing Burns
Turmeric has various pharmacological properties that can help in treating burns.
1. It has anti-inflammatory property
A severe burn leads to the release of several inflammatory mediators which cause inflammation and pain in the burnt area. Curcumin found in turmeric is most commonly known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Research studies show that curcumin can interact with molecules that are responsible for causing inflammation. A study reported that curcumin reduces levels of various inflammatory enzymes and inhibits the production of cytokines.
Curcumin has shown effectiveness in treating various inflammatory conditions like ulcers, arthritis, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel diseases and much more.
Studies also report that curcumin has mechanisms that reduce the body’s natural response to wounds in the form of inflammation and oxidation, hence inhibiting further progression of the wound. Its topical application can cure skin wounds efficiently.
Another fascinating study published in Molecular nutrition and food research in 2013, reported that apart from curcumin, turmeric contains various other components like turmerin, turmerone, elemene etc. exhibit biological properties like anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric oil was found to increase the bioavailability of curcumin. The study indicates that turmeric as a whole is highly beneficial in treating various medical conditions.
What does this mean?
Turmeric has been known for decades for its anti-inflammatory properties to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions. Its anti-inflammatory properties are not only due to its active ingredient, curcumin but also various other components. This property of turmeric can prevent inflammation in burns and wounds.
2. It has antiseptic and antimicrobial activity
Patients suffering from burns are susceptible to acquiring infections very easily thus treating the burn wound with an agent who has both antiseptic and anti-microbial properties is of utmost importance.
It is a boon that turmeric possesses both these properties enabling us to use it for patients who are at severe risk of developing burn wound sepsis.
Anti-microbial activity implies that a compound can act against various microbes like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Antiseptic is any compound that prevents the growth of microorganisms. Thus, both terms are interchangeable, and Turmeric has natural antiseptic and anti-microbial properties.
In a recent study published in the Indian Journal of Biological Macromolecules, a nanocomposite of curcumin was coated on a cotton cloth to determine its wound healing properties. The results showed that curcumin acted against the bacterial species present in the wounds, preventing infection.
The study concluded that curcumin could be used effectively for wound dressing as it increased the drying time of the wound and absorbed the moisture in it. It has low toxicity and lesser side effects as compared to other drugs.
Another study published in BioMed Research International reported that the rhizome extract of turmeric acts against various microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Curcumin was found to exhibit anti-microbial activity and ability to increase the effectiveness of other antimicrobial agents. Curcumin shows potential as an anti-viral drug and as an anti-fungal agent.
This anti-microbial property of turmeric can be used to prevent the further progression or development of infections in burn wounds, thus enhancing the wound healing process.
What does this mean?
The anti-microbial and antiseptic property of turmeric can play an important role in wound healing associated with burns. Turmeric can prevent the growth of various microorganism that can thrive on wounds and cause infections and sepsis if not taken appropriate care of.
3. It has wound healing property
Burns cause severe pain and wounds which are difficult to manage. Although various opioids, non-steroidal drugs, and antidepressants are used for therapy, they result in various side effects.
According to an observational study conducted by Cheppudira et al. in 2013, curcumin which an active ingredient found in turmeric has immense potential as a drug to treat both pain and wounds associated with burns. Studies have suggested that its use is safe for controlling the pain for a longer duration and quick wound healing.
Studies report that topical application of curcumin has found to be an effective method for healing the burn wounds. A study published in the Journal of Molecular Histology in 2013 reported the effectivity of curcumin as a topical agent in burn wound healing in an animal model.
At the end of the study, wound tissues of the rats were examined. Various examinations revealed that wounds treated with curcumin healed faster. Expression of a cell proliferating antigen in the skin tissues indicated the accelerated rate of wound healing as a result of curcumin application.
Another interesting study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology in 2015, showed that curcumin counteracts drug induced delay in wound healing and speeds up healing of wounds.
What does this mean?
Turmeric when topically applied on burn wounds can help in reducing the pain associated with it. It has also been found effective in increasing the rate of wound healing thus promising quicker relief to patients suffering from painful burns that otherwise fail to heal for longer duration in the absence of appropriate treatment.
4. It possesses antioxidant property
Burns cause increased oxidative stress. When a burn is caused, there is increased the release of reactive oxygen species which are harmful and may lead to inflammation, infections, damage to the tissues and multiple organ failures. Thus it is important to give anti-oxidant therapy to patients suffering from burns.
A study published in the Journal of Trauma in 2001 reported that turmeric prevents oxidative damage in skin cells. The study showed that exposure of curcumin inhibits damage by oxidation of free radicals in human keratinocytes and fibroblasts concluding the potential of turmeric in healing wounds associated with burns.
Curcumin has found to possess anti-oxidative property can that help in increasing the rate of wound healing.
According to a study published in Molecular and cellular biochemistry in 2006, curcumin on topical application increases cellular proliferation and synthesis of collagen at the site of the wound thus leading to quick healing.
Results suggested that treatment with curcumin decreases the level of lipid peroxidation exhibiting its antioxidant properties.
Studies have shown evidence that curcumin in turmeric heals wounds like inflammation and oxidation.
What does this mean?
Burn wounds lead to the release of compounds that cause inflammation and oxidation at the affected area. Curcumin has found to reduce the oxidative stress and inhibit peroxidation of free radicals, preventing further skin cell damage at the affected area.
5. It has skin regenerative potential
Burn wounds take a long time to heal and the skin to regenerate. This can be overcome by consuming natural agents capable of inducing skin regeneration at a faster and a more effective rate than other non-steroidal drugs. One such natural agent is turmeric.
Curcumin shows skin regenerative property which can regenerate the skin that has been burnt. Clinical trials published in BioFactors in2013, have found that curcumin regenerates the skin in various skin diseases. This property can be helpful in healing burns and that too at a faster rate.
A study published in Advances in experimental medicine and biology evaluated the various benefits curcumin provides, and that can be helpful in curing skin diseases by regenerating the skin.
The study showed that curcumin was capable of reducing the wound-healing time and increasing both normal and impaired processes of wound healing. It concluded that curcumin could be used as a therapy for regenerating the skin in skin diseases. Curcumin was found to be non-toxic suggesting its safe use and few or no side effects.
What does this mean?
The skin affected by burns can be treated by consuming or topically applying turmeric. This is because of turmeric’s potent active ingredient, curcumin which has immense skin regenerative properties.
Dosage of Turmeric For Healing Burns
There is no such toxicity reported on consuming turmeric. Therefore, no specific dose of turmeric has been prescribed for burns. The consumption of dietary turmeric is considered safe, and its regular inclusion in diet can help in relieving pain and symptoms associated with burns.
However, it has been found that turmeric and curcumin are poorly absorbed in the body. (Read How to improve turmeric’s bioavailability?)
Consumption of turmeric must start with small doses such as ¼-1/2 tsp a day for a week and if no gastric side effects are seen an increase the intake gradually by ¼-1/2 tsp every week. The recommended dose is 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day).
Intake of turmeric must be strictly avoided on an empty stomach and avoid taking high doses when taking it along with other medications. A 3-4 hour gap must be maintained to avoid interaction of turmeric with the medications. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux? Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?)
There is no specific dose for turmeric consumption, and thus the ideal dose of turmeric differs from person to person; some require less while some require more. The dosage usually depends on what suits you and what dose your stomach can tolerate.
Turmeric Milk and Turmeric tea are delicious ways in which turmeric can be included in your diet on a regular basis. To identify good organic brands of turmeric, please check our recommendations on best organic turmeric brands.
If you are opting for turmeric supplements, it is best to consult a health practitioner before avoid any allergic reactions or adverse effects.
How to apply turmeric topically for wound healing?
You can apply turmeric powder for wound healing topically. Conduct a patch test prior. Take sufficient amount of turmeric powder and mix it with oil, preferably coconut or olive oil, and apply it to affected area.
Leave it on for 30 minutes at least and longer if possible. Cover the area with gauze if needed. Repeat 2-3 times a day.
For more details read Topical Turmeric for Inflammation
Although consumption of Dietary turmeric is very safe, a few precautions need to be considered when it comes to using turmeric supplements (Read Precautions with Turmeric Use Side effects of Turmeric):
- Avoid in pregnancy and lactation
- Avoid if suffering from gall bladder obstruction
- Avoid if suffering from a bleeding disorder
- Discontinue prior to surgery
Avoid taking turmeric on an empty stomach to avoid acid reflux symptoms. (Does turmeric cause acid reflux?)
If one is suffering from a bleeding disorder, small doses of turmeric in diet are safe but it is best to consult a doctor before taking turmeric or turmeric supplements in this case. (Read Is turmeric a blood thinner?)
A general precaution needed to be taken before incorporating turmeric in the diet is that turmeric may have drug interactions with stomach acid reducing medication, antidepressants, blood sugar reducing drugs etc.
Curcumin, active ingredient found in turmeric is known to interfere in drug metabolism. Hence it is advised not to take curcumin supplements concomitantly with any other medicine.
If suffering from cancer or on cancer therapy please consult a doctor before taking turmeric supplements.
Turmeric has been known for its medicinal properties since hundreds of years. Its therapeutic properties can play a major role in treating burns and symptoms associated with it.
It can play an important role in relieving pain, healing wounds and restoring the normal blemish free skin in burns. Turmeric has powerful compounds that can treat burns at a faster pace and replace drugs that cause side effects.
Furthermore, Turmeric being a natural compound is non-toxic and safe for use. Thus, the beneficial properties of turmeric make it a promising drug for treating burns and other skin related diseases in future.