Curcumae longa, commonly known as turmeric, is one of the oldest natural supplements that are still in use today, alongside others like ginger and garlic. Here you will read about the benefits of Turmeric. Turmeric is mostly used as a condiment and adds color to food, and the yellow-colored plant offers many health benefits that date back thousands of years.
This article looks at the health benefits of turmeric, recommended modes of use, and potential side effects. Read on to learn more.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric’s medicinal properties are primarily derived from its main active component, curcumin, which also gives the spice its yellow color. Curcumin is a renowned antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory properties, making the turmeric plant the most effective dietary supplementation in the world. The plant has shown promise in treating or managing the symptoms of the following conditions:
Curcumin’s potency in treating inflammatory conditions and its pain-relieving properties has made it a strong candidate for use in treating arthritis and gout symptoms.
In a 2013 study, the compound was found to be an effective treatment of osteoarthritis. Research on whether it can also be used in managing rheumatoid arthritis is also underway, with many scientists expecting positive results.
2. Heart Disease
Several past studies showed that curcumin boosts the endothelium’s health and strength — the thin internal membranes in the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells regulate vascular functions (primarily contraction and relaxation), facilitate immune functions, and keep the platelets (colorless components of blood) together.
Lower endothelial function is one of the key causes of heart disease. The use of curcumin can help reduce the likelihood of developing the condition.
Cancer is an inflammatory disease that can cause by undue swelling of certain body cells and tissues. Curcumin regulates various tissues and cells’ growth factors and modulates the signaling pathways that cancer cells take advantage of. These actions help stop or significantly inhibit long-term inflammation, which may house cancer cells and stop their proliferation through the signaling pathways.
Since there’s no approved cure for cancer, the National Cancer Institute has recognized curcumin supplements as effective anti-carcinogens due to their anti-inflammatory properties. This means a person can reduce the chances of getting cancer by consuming optimal curcumin dosages regularly.
A number of past clinical trials suggest that curcumin can effectively prevent and possibly treat diabetes. It can also treat related conditions like diabetic kidney disease, known as diabetic nephropathy, which affects type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
It does that by reducing glucose and sugar levels in the blood or associated with diabetic disorders.
However, most of the studies in this area were done on animals, and human test results are still scant. The effects of curcumin on rodents’ blood sugar levels can show to prevent and control diabetes.
Read More: Diabetes Health Guide
5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is becoming more prevalent and harder to treat. For this reason, many people are shifting from the increasingly ineffective but expensive pharmaceutical drugs to alternative medicines like turmeric. The disorder, as the name suggests, is occasioned by the chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tracts. Turmeric has also shown promise in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — a gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
According to one research, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties helped inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines’ proliferation, thus helping manage the disease.
However, the compound cannot be used by itself and is most effective when you use it as a complementary therapy, alongside antibiotics, probiotics, immunosuppressants, and corticosteroids.
Benefits of Turmeric and Ginger
Turmeric and ginger can do more than just adding flavor and color to curry powders. Both curcumin and gingerol, the main active ingredients in turmeric and ginger, have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Both can be of use to treat, control, and manage various health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and IBD.
In particular, Ginger contains considerable immune-boosting properties and can prevent the development of a number of respiratory pathogens. It’s inherent anti-viral qualities also help reduce the severity of several viruses, most notably the Influenza A virus. Gingerol also boosts turmeric and leads to higher inflammation and pain reductions when used to treat chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.
While the two compounds are the best for consumption in the form of supplements, you can also incorporate them into your diet in their natural forms. For instance, you can mix and mash them in salad dressings, vegetable sauces, casseroles, or stir-fries.
Is it Safe to Take Turmeric Every Day?
As much as turmeric and turmeric-derived supplements are good for you, they can cause harm when you take them in excess. The most common side effects of curcumin are rashes, headaches, and diarrhea. Research on other effects, primarily long term health problems, is still ongoing and currently inconclusive.
Unless you ‘overdose’ on curcumin supplements, it is very unlikely that you can surpass the recommended daily dosage in the long term. This is because an average Indian diet (which typically contains the highest average turmeric levels globally) only has about 2000-2500 mg of turmeric per day. Out of these, only around 60-100 mg is curcumin.
The WHO recommends a daily maximum curcumin intake of 1.4 mg per pound. Therefore, the amount of curcumin you can get in an average turmeric-heavy meal is not enough to cause you problems, even if you take it daily.
However, if you’re using supplements, you need to be more cautious as commercial extracts contain significantly higher amounts of curcumin per mg of turmeric, and you can easily overdose. We strongly recommend seeking medical advice before incorporating curcumin into your daily routine.
How Long does it Take Turmeric to Work?
The use of turmeric as a therapeutic agent is still a new development in the modern medical field. The lack of enough research on the full range of its benefits, side effects, and overall safety makes it hard to know the right dosages and the efficacy. Also, how long it takes to see improvements depends on the condition you are looking to manage.
The recommended amount of turmeric needed to achieve its full range of benefits is between 400mg and 600mg for daily use. Experts recommend breaking down the daily dose into 3 small dosages and taking them with your meals for better results.
For more advanced needs, such as treating osteoarthritis, 1000 mg of turmeric, taken daily in two 500 mg doses, is recommended. The average amount of time it takes to experience optimal results under this dose is 6-8 weeks. It depends on your condition’s severity.
According to most preliminary findings, relative relief against short-term pain and inflammation is achievable within 4-6 weeks of using a single 500 mg dose of turmeric extract. If you’re looking for a quick anti-inflammatory solution, you may want to try OTC medications like ibuprofen instead of relying solely on curcumin products.
Can Turmeric be Applied Topically?
The short answer is yes. Turmeric can be directly applied to the skin, whether as a mask or in the form of cream, salve, or lotion. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components bring out the skin’s natural glow and luster. This is especially present when used together with antiseptic compounds like honey.
Also, CBD warming botanical salve infused with turmeric can be applied topically. The cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant and turmeric work together to increase the effects needed. CBD may be used for pain, inflammation, anxiety, and more.
Who Should not Take Turmeric?
While you can consider turmeric to be a generally safe compound, it can be harmful in certain situations. Curcumin’s antioxidant effects can increase the liver’s time to break down medications. These can include medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, and most antacids, consequently reducing their efficacy.
Pregnant women, too, should avoid using turmeric. This is because curcumin elements may stimulate the uterus or trigger a menstrual period, both of which can lead to miscarriage. However, you can consider the compound to be safe to use in food as the amounts of curcumin in an average meal are too low to be dangerous, as seen earlier.
Finally, people with diabetes should also seek advice from their health care providers before using turmeric.
Read More: How Much CBD Should I Take?
Learn More about Turmeric
Is turmeric good or bad for health?
Turmeric is very beneficial to your health when taken in the right dosages. We have seen this in various studies. However, it can be harmful if used in excessive quantities, with certain medications, or during pregnancy.
What is turmeric curcumin good for?
Curcumin, the main turmeric component, contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it a good treatment for several conditions. It can help reduce chronic pain among people with osteoarthritis, prevent cancer and diabetes, and even make your skin glow.
What time of day should you take turmeric?
You can take curcumin when you wish as long as you don’t exceed the recommended daily dosage.
What is the best way to consume turmeric?
The best and safest way to consume turmeric is by combining it with food. Due to its low bioavailability, you might need to add some black pepper to your turmeric dishes to boost absorption. You may also apply turmeric topically.