Turmeric, a root plant similar to ginger, has been used in cooking and for medicinal use for thousands of years. A 2017 review in the Journal of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine has shown that turmeric benefits are vast, due to its medicinal properties.
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Compounds called curcuminoids, and particularly curcumin, are responsible for this. Curcumin has been proven to be anti-inflammatory; can help prevent liver damage; is an antioxidant, antiseptic, antimutagenic and antimicrobial; and helps stimulate the immune system.
Adding a turmeric supplement and spice to your diet can be a favorable action towards improving health. There are a variety of ways turmeric and curcumin can be added to your diet, with the recommended dosage depending on your age and health concerns. According to the National Center for Complementary and lntegrative Health, studies have found curcumin beneficial in controlling knee pain and reducing skin irritation.
The amount of turmeric you should take will depend on your reason for taking it. The National Library of Medicine's Toxicology Data Network reports that doses of up to 8000mg per day can be taken with no expected adverse effects.
Read more: Benefits of Turmeric Powder
What is Turmeric Used For?
There are several types of turmeric supplements available. These include fresh, powdered dried root, standardized powder, turmeric drops and tincture forms. According to a review in Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, the reported consumption of turmeric for people in Asian countries is 200-1,000mg per day, with no reported side effects. The same review recommends taking 8 to 60g of the root three times per day for treating pain from arthritis, and 1.3 to 3g for indigestion.
An August 2016 meta analysis in the Journal of Medicinal Food shows that in the case of osteoarthritis, a dose of 1,000mg curcumin per day seems to be effective. In the case of dyslipidemia, a 2014 study published in Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology showed that serum LDL cholesterol levels were significantly reduced. The National Library of Medicine's Toxicology Data Network reports that doses of up to 8,000mg per day can be taken with no expected adverse effects.
As for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and pruritus, a 2016 review in Phytotherapy Research showed that both oral and topical application of turmeric benefits skin health. In fact, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the Journal of Nephrology on 100 patients with itchy skin showed that the group using turmeric saw benefits that the placebo group did not. A turmeric supplement of 500mg three times per day was recommended.
Read more: The Risks and Benefits of Taking Turmeric
Are There Any Side Effects?
Turmeric is an effective supplement that is considered safe and non-toxic. In the studies above, only a very small number of participants complained of stomach upset. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that high or long-term use may cause gastrointestinal issues. If this occurs, discontinue use and be sure to speak to a physician.
According to MEDSAFE, turmeric is contraindicated with medicines that are antiplatelets, anticoagulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It is also important to note that curcumin ingestion on its own is not very bioavailable, which means it is not readily absorbed and is quickly eliminated. However, a 2017 review in Foods has shown that taking a compound found in black pepper called piperine increases curcumin bioavailability by 2000 percent. Look for complexes containing piperine when choosing a turmeric supplement.
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- Herbal Medicine: Biological and Clinical Aspects: "Chapter 13 Turmeric, the Golden Spice"
- National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health: "Turmeric"
- Nutrition Journal: "Efficacy and safety of turmeric and curcumin in lowering blood lipid levels in patients with cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials"
- Phytotherapy Research: "Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence."
- Journal of Nephrology: "Effects of turmeric on uremic pruritus in end stage renal disease patients: a double-blind randomized clinical trial."
- Medsafe: "Beware turmeric/curcumin containing products can interact with warfarin"
- Foods: "Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health"
- Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine:"Curcumin: An age-old anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic agent"
- National Library of Medicine: Toxicology Data Network:"Curcumin"
- Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology:"Low-density lipoprotein is a potential target for curcumin: novel mechanistic insights"