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The Health Benefits of Turmeric

Updated on July 10, 2011

The health benefits of turmeric are experienced daily by millions of people around the globe often without realising it. If you have ever eaten a curry then you have probably benefited from its properties. Turmeric is a spice used in Asian, African and Middle Eastern cookery. It is a daily staple in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines. It's also used as a food preservative and colouring worldwide especially in mustard, pickles, cheeses and margarines.

Recently turmeric has hit the headlines because of claims that curcumin, which is the main active constituent of turmeric, could help prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Turmeric has long been known as a spice which has a lot of health benefits in addition to its culinary uses. It is well-known as an anti-inflammatory which can work as well as some pharmaceutical products but without the side-effects.

Turmeric is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, its close relatives include cardamom, ginger and galangal, all of which have distinctive medical qualities of their own. It is cultivated mainly in India.

Curcumin capsules

© Hilly Chism 2009
© Hilly Chism 2009

Here are some of its other powerful health benefits.

Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial spice and it can be used externally to help in the disinfecting of cuts or burns.  Many people suffering from acne inversa have found almost complete relief of their symptoms by drinking turmeric tea three times a day.

 In laboratory tests curcumin has been shown to assist in the prevention of prostate cancer, to prevent breast cancer from spreading into the lungs and to reduce certain types of melanoma.  There has also been research that suggests it may be helpful in reducing the risk of childhood leukaemia.  Curcumin has been defined by scientists in Japan as a broad spectrum anti cancer agent.

Turmeric is also very valuable for the way that it works on the digestive system and on the liver.  In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine it is used as a digestive bitter and a carminative.  Used in cooking it can help to improve digestion and can also help to reduce gas and bloating.  Turmeric is also a cholagogue which stimulates bile production in the liver and can help excrete bile through the gallbladder which aids the body's ability to digest fats.

Turmeric is recommended for people who have chronic digestive weakness or congestion.  It can be added to meals or taken as a tea or in a capsule 20 minutes before meals, especially meals that are high in fat or protein.  It can also be found in digestive bitters which combine turmeric with other herbs.  Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory to the mucus membrane which coats the throat stomach and intestines where it can help decrease inflammation and congestion.  Other related conditions which it is suggested turmeric may help are colitis, Crohn's disease, diarrhoea and the after affects of food poisoning.  It can also be used to relieve the itching and inflammation of haemorrhoids and fissures.

Turmeric root powder

© Hilly Chism 2009
© Hilly Chism 2009

In Chinese culture turmeric has long been used as a treatment for depression and its effect of speeding up the metabolism suggests that it could well be helpful in weight management.

Turmeric (or its stronger extract curcumin) in its primary use in health, as an anti-inflammatory helps with reducing pain and inflammation in a multitude of ailments and diseases including arthritis, muscle and ligament pains, pain after operations, headaches, migraines, period pains etc. It does this without the side-effects of pharmaceutical products such as aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Although not confirmed yet in human trials, laboratory animals given turmeric had reduced levels of blood sugar and cholesterol suggesting that turmeric may in the future be helpful in diabetes and heart disease.

If not eaten regularly in your national cuisine you can add turmeric to your diet by taking turmeric supplements or curcumin supplements in the form of capsules, turmeric can also be taken in the form of a tea but on its own it is not to everyone's taste. A small amount of black pepper or bromelain is said to increase the absorption of the active ingredient curcumin considerably.

Recommended doses for adults

Between one to three grams a day for powdered root.

300-800 mg two or three times a day for a curcumin supplements.

Turmeric is a true superfood and one that you should think about introducing to your diet for its health benefit.

If you are suffering from any acute or chronic illness please consult your doctor before taking herbal supplements of any kind.


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    • profile image

      Pamela C 5 years ago

      I have been putting a mixture of garlic powder and tumeric in my dogs food! No more scratching! Due to allergies! I am using for depression . I feel so energetic! It speeds up your metabolish automatically lost 10 pounds! I just had breast surgery and declined to be on tamazion for 5 yrs. Horrible side affects! My hair was falling out due to stree of my son losing his job of 12 yrs! Hair no longer falling out! Sun spots on arms fading away! More mental clarity! Its a miracle herb, wish I would have found it sooner! Its good for cholestrol too! Everyday I research and find out more about this wonder . Hope FDA does not catch on! It will no longer be so afordable! Theres nothing better or more potent than nature and that's what tumeric is!

    • profile image

      Edit 5 years ago

      I'm a cancer fighter and a big advocate for alternative treatments. I started to take turmeric powder after my very aggressive cancer treatment to make sure I never have to go through that again. After a few weeks a realized that my chronic back and hip pain was gone so as my tendinitis and also the pain all over my joint (from the radiation) started to ease. Today after 3 years I'm still eating a spoon full of turmeric powder with a pinch of freshly grounded black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. It tasted awful when I started, but now it become part of my daily routine. The benefit of the powder is amazing. I never have a headache, didn't have a cold/flue since I got off the morphine and started to eat turmeric.

      I share this to encourage everyone to try it.

      For your health.

    • profile image

      patty 5 years ago

      tried 1tsp of turmeric with honey and hot water,about 1 hour ago and my pain (rhumatoid arthritis)has calmed down a lot,THANX

    • profile image

      Donna 6 years ago

      I PUT 1/4 TSP IN my coffee twice a day for scalp psoriasis.

      Amazing difference.

    • profile image

      sursagar 6 years ago

      eat it raw put astick of turmeric in water for 24 hours and eat in the morning wash your mouth with milk it will benefit your mouth & stomach as well

    • profile image

      Karen 6 years ago

      Oh I am sorry, I meant to say what "dose" would you recommend, thanks again!

    • profile image

      Karen 6 years ago

      Hi, I have just bought this supplement for myself as I have crest sydrome, but I am finding that it is very helpful for colitis sufferers, which includes my boyfriend, and my brother. What does would you recommend to treat this? Any info is much appreciated! Thank you.

    • profile image

      nelverdida 6 years ago

      thanks for sharing this info. . . it is indeed helpful and very informative. please know that i'd been taking turmeric for more than three years. my suffering from arthritis has ended and my high cholesterol problem was solved. it is for me a miracle plant considering the costly maintenance i had had, before i embrace turmeric as part of my diet.

    • Hilly Chism profile image

      Hilly Chism 6 years ago from Holland

      Hi Trudi, It's better to take the active ingredient of Turmeric which is called Curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis. The dosage will vary with the strength of the extract but with normal strength 400 mg three times a day is average.

    • profile image

      Trudy 6 years ago

      I was just recently been given tumeric root by an uncle as I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and have opted not to take many of the medications due to their side effects. One question though is how much of this root do I eat and how many times a day. Thanks!

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 7 years ago from London

      A great hub, and very informative. I'd just read an article about how turmeric can possibly help with the cells in stomach cancer that won't be shifted by chemo, and did a search on hubpages. I'm glad I found your hub, I will definitely be adding turmeric to my diet!

    • profile image

      Jim Green 8 years ago

      Good info, Curcumin is a great anti-inflammatory, I use it if I over-exercise.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 8 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Great info - I like it with cumin on fried rice.... you shared info I did not know - thanks

    • f@biani profile image

      f@biani 8 years ago

      Turmeric is a truly beautiful spice...i grew up in South Africa and it is commonly used there. I spend most of my time in Italy now, but get my Turmeric shipped to me as I can't without it.

      Lovely hub, Hilly. Thumbs up.

    • easy1 profile image

      easy1 8 years ago from Ireland

      That is a truly informative hub.

    • profile image

      Deb 8 years ago

      I started to use turmeric and noticed that the pain I had in my gallbladder was gone!!!! Finally something that works! Thank you turmeric!

    • profile image

      Nikky Chetty 8 years ago

      Amazed that tumeric can cure u! WOW! :-)

    • Inese profile image

      Inese 8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      What a considence, today I bought curcimina (turmeric) for the very first time. ....and couple of hours later I stumbled upon your info. Thank you a lot about this great info.

    • bala99 profile image

      Bala Subrahmanyam Vishnubhotla 8 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

      Turmeric has been a part of Indian cuisine for ages. It has been classified as a divine herb in ayurveda. The information you have provided is very extensive and well researched. Good work! Thank you.

    • Molly T profile image

      Molly T 8 years ago from São Vicente, Brasil

      Great information. I'm looking forward to more posts.

    • RVDaniels profile image

      RVDaniels 8 years ago from Athens, GA

      Thanks for the new info (new to me) and a good hub.