Turmeric – Can the Asian spice relieve pain after surgery?

Turmeric, a popular South Asian spice, recently piqued the interest of a group of researchers from Bangkok. They found that patients who underwent keyhole surgery and then consumed turmeric reported a reduction in post-operative pain.

By Natacha Phoolcharoen

Laparoscopic or “keyhole” surgery is performed through one or several small cuts in the abdomen, and has become the standard method for most gynecological surgeries. The minimally invasive technique offers several benefits over conventional procedures, such as less severe scarring and bleeding, as well as a shorter stay in the hospital. Nevertheless, patients frequently experience discomfort and pain afterwards. This is believed to be primarily the result of trapped residual carbon dioxide gas used during surgery to inflate the abdomen.

A group of Thai researchers from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok recently conducted a study to find out if curcuminoid – a chemical compound that naturally occurs in the spice turmeric – had any influence on the pain perception of patients who underwent keyhole surgery.

Postoperative pain
“Gas pain” is a common complaint after surgery © HearttoHeart0225/Getty Images

Turmeric is a key ingredient in many curries (giving them their iconic yellow hue) but has also been used as a medicinal herb in Asia for centuries. Previous studies have suggested the spice induces pain-relieving effects, however, until now there have been no reports regarding its influence on post-operative discomfort.

“Lots of patients in Thailand told us they use [turmeric], so we were interested in doing the study”, explains Dr. Pongkasem Worasethsin, a laparoscopic surgery specialist.

Over a timespan of three days after keyhole surgery, the researchers administered one tablet of curcuminoid extract to patients in a test group four times daily. They observed that the group receiving the compound reported less pain than the control group after 24 and 72 hours.

The promising results of the study led Dr. Worasethsin and colleagues to conclude that curcuminoid extract could be an effective and safe supplement to reduce pain after laparoscopy. However, more studies are now needed to exclude placebo effects and to consider prescription painkiller data.

Read the original article here:

Natacha Phoolcharoen, Shina Oranratanaphan, Chai Ariyasriwatana, Pongkasem Worasethsin: Efficacy of curcuminoids for reducing postoperative pain after laparoscopic gynecologic surgery: a pilot randomized trial, 30.05.2019.

The Editors

Articles signed by the editors were written in a collective effort.

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