In a word: maybe.
It depends on you.
In one way, you can think about menopause being 2 types, with 2 sets of symptoms. If you have one set of symptoms, turmeric can be helpful. If you have the other, it probably won’t hurt, unless you take it regularly.
To answer whether turmeric will be useful for you, we need to know
1) What are the qualities of turmeric?
2) Will those qualities reduce the qualities that are showing up out-of-balance during your menopause?
So first, a little about turmeric. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an amazing plant, with very broad benefits. It is generally safe even when taken in fairly large quantities. Typically its action happens in the digestive tract, which is one major reason why it can be said to be of secondary support to balancing hormones. More on that in a bit.
Remember, the descriptors below of a substance, like “Qualities” and “Actions”, is Ayurveda’s way of languaging what pharmaceutical allopathy might term as “active ingredients”, “pharmacological actions”, “therapeutic effect”, “metabolic pathways”, etc.
Here’s what you need to know to use Turmeric Ayurvedically:
Qualities of turmeric: dry, light
Tastes: bitter, pungent, astringent
Its virya or effect on metabolism is heating (and drying)
After the plant is digested, the effect remains to pungent
Action on the doshas: reduces PK, increases PV in excess
Dhatu: plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, reproductive (ie., all tissues)
Channels of affinity: digestive, blood/circulatory, respiratory, female reproductive
We also know its herbal actions include: increasing agni, digesting undigested foodstuff (ama), binding, reducing fevers, parasites, splitting, healing the eye, improving skin quality & skin diseases, blood purifying, reducing swelling/tumors and uniting fractures.
Now, second part: Will those qualities reduce the qualities out-of-balance during menopause?
You have to consider what qualities are at the root imbalance causing whatever symptoms are coming up for you during menopause.
Now, remember what I said about being able to kindof-sortof-generalize that there are 2 types of menopause? Well, whichever you are experiencing, you’re not getting anywhere without anchoring Vata dosha. So keep that in mind, do that as the foundation alongside making adjustments for one of the 2 types
Note: there are other ways to split this, but the reason I’m choosing to explain the principle by splitting into 2 types is because in Ayurveda there are 2 types of treatment, and they are an easy first step for all readers to understand and start to use intuitively.
Brmhana type – needing replenishment, slowing down, and grounding
If the years before your menopause have been depleting, and you’ve exhausted your hormone resources, the following symptoms may be exaggerated:
- Signs of dryness
- Dry skin
- Vagina dryness
- Joint pain or cracking
- Signs of lightness
- Sleeping difficulties
- Spaciness & loss of concentration
- Repetitive relentless thinking
- Feeling unsupported, lonely or isolated
- Emotions anxiety, worry, fear
- Hot flushes/flashes
In this situation, turmeric provides limited benefit and is even regressive because it will contribute even drier & light qualities to these symptoms which are already demonstrating a long-standing excess of dry & light. It’s heating and drying effect can contribute to further depletion of tissues that are calling out for nourishment.
Langhana type – needing reducing of tissues, lightening, removing excess
In the second scenario, in the years before your menopause there has been a buildup of excess. The excess could be rakta (blood), fat, and fluid retention. You may experience more:
- Excess heavy or fatty qualities:
- Slow metabolism & thyroid
- Weight gain, particularly belly fat
- Emotions of needing to feel loved & appreciated
- High BP
- High cholesterol
- Excess hot & liquid
- Heavy bleeding
- Hyperacidity or loose motions
- Night sweats & hot flushes
In this situation, the dry & light qualities of turmeric can be a useful addition to other herbal support, particularly if you keep an eye on making sure the heating aspect of turmeric doesn’t contribute to the symptoms that are more driven by a combination of heat & liquid – like heavy bleeding, hyperacidity and night sweats. Remember too that turmeric has an affinity to cleansing the blood and liver specifically, and anytime we can support the liver clear with dry & light qualities, it’s going to enhance the capacity of the liver to filter & break down the excess hormones flooding the system.