What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?

Last updated on May 21st, 2023 at 07:51 pm

10 minutes read.


Numerous scientific studies have reported turmeric as one the most powerful herb on the planet pointing out curcumin being its main active ingredient as what’s responsible for its healing effect. Turmeric is mostly found in curry one of the Indian traditional dishes.

Curcumin is what makes turmeric a functional food, meaning one that has a positive effect on human health beyond basic nutrition.

Scientists have succeeded in extracting curcumin from turmeric, so in some places, you may find curcumin separate in the form of powder and whole turmeric in the form of powder too.

Historically, turmeric has been used particularly in Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine to remedy some health issues such as pain, swelling, indigestion, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, and to improve eyesight. Etc 

In this article, you will learn all about turmeric and curcumin’s benefits to improve and straighten your overall health. Feel free to skip ahead.

In this article:

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which grows in India, Southeast Asia some parts of African countries. It is a member of the ginger family, also called the Zingiberaceae family.

The dried root of the Curcuma longa plant is ground into a distinctive yellow powder. The ever-yellowish color of turmeric gave it the nickname “golden spice.”

The taste of turmeric is described as being earthy, bitter, and somewhat musky and with a bit of a peppery kick.

Nutrition Facts

One tablespoon (about nine grams) of ground turmeric contains approximately:

29 calories

6 grams carbohydrates

1 gram protein

0.3-gram fat

2 grams fiber

1.86-milligram manganese (26 percent DV)

5 milligrams iron (16 percent DV)

0.01 milligram of vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)

196 milligrams potassium (5 percent DV)

19 milligrams magnesium (3 percent DV)

Health Benefits of Turmeric

What are the Functions of Turmeric on your Health?

There are several chemical compounds found in this herb, known as curcuminoids, which are types of polyphenols.

The most active substance is curcumin, which is known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer properties, among other positive effects.

Here are some of the uses and health benefits of turmeric and curcumin:

  1. May Slow or Prevent Blood Clots

In both lab and animal studies, the use of turmeric has been shown to help reduce instances of platelet aggregation and potentially reduce the risk of blood clots forming.

Some evidence suggests that curcumin may be a preferable treatment method for people prone to vascular thrombosis who require anti-arthritic therapy.

2. Fights Inflammation

The most powerful aspect of curcumin found in turmeric is its ability to control inflammation.

The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.

Several animal studies have investigated the relationship between curcumin and Alzheimer’s disease.

In rats study, it seems that curcumin “reverses existing amyloid pathology and associated neurotoxicity,” which is the key feature of the progression of neurological disease related to chronic inflammation.

This study shows turmeric-curcumin may remedy Alzheimer’s symptoms.

3. Helps Treat Arthritis Symptoms

Because curcumin is known for its strong anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing characteristics, a study was conducted on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients to compare the health benefits of curcumin in turmeric with the arthritis drug diclofenac sodium (an NSAID).

The study split these volunteers into three groups: curcumin treatment alone, diclofenac sodium alone, and a combination of the two. The results of the trial were eye-opening:

The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall scores and these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group.

More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate to any adverse effects.

A review of available randomized, controlled trials confirmed that, of the eight studies available fitting the criteria, provide scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of turmeric extract (about 1000 mg/day of curcumin) in the treatment of arthritis

4. May Help Treat or Prevent Certain Cancers

Of all the various topics scientists have tackled in regard to turmeric-curcumin and disease reversal, cancer (of various types, including prostate cancer) is one of the most thoroughly researched topics.

These studies found that turmeric-curcumin may prevent prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other forms of cancer if you abstain or reduce exposure to cancer-causing factors

In the words of global authorities like Cancer Research United Kingdom:

A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that turmeric-curcumin does have anticancer effects.

It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, and skin cancer cells.

The July 2017 animal study by researchers at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute found that turmeric-curcumin may even be able to break through chemo-resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)- an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.

5. May Help Manage Diabetes

In 2009, Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a lab study out of Auburn University that explored the potential of curcuminoids (turmeric) to lower blood glucose levels.

The study discovered that curcumin in turmeric is literally 400 times more potent than metformin (a common diabetes drug) in activating the enzyme AMPK (Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase).

One compound produced by fermentation of turmeric-curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, activated AMPK up to 100,000 times more than metformin in certain cells.

AMPK activation is considered by researchers to be a “therapeutic target” for type 2 diabetes, meaning that figuring out how to activate this enzyme has major potential for developing more effective treatments for reducing insulin resistance and reversing diabetes.

One of the most common complications of diabetes is damage to nerves known as diabetic neuropathy, which takes several forms and can cause serious symptoms throughout the body from muscle weakness to blindness.

A study conducted on rats found that supplementing with turmeric-curcumin significantly reduced diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (typically localized to feet, legs, arms, and hands). Diabetic neuropathy can also lead to kidney failure.

A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials confirmed that, in animals, turmeric-curcumin protects the kidneys of diabetic subjects from the damage of diabetic nephropathy.

Therefore, to use turmeric to lower high blood sugar you need to ground fresh turmeric and soak it in water, allowing it to stay for four to seven days for proper fermentation to take place before you start drinking the juice that comes out of it.

After two weeks of administering, you check your blood sugar level to monitor the efficacy. You should also be adding it in moderation to your cuisine as a spice.  

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6. May Regulate Cholesterol

A 2017 meta-analysis concluded that turmeric-curcumin may protect patients at risk of cardiovascular disease by improving serum lipid levels. Curcumin may be used as a well-tolerated dietary additive to conventional drugs.

In fact, one study published by Drugs in R&D found that curcumin was comparable to atorvastatin (an anti-cholesterol drug) in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol in humans.

7. Boosts Skin Health

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have proven effective in treating multiple skin conditions, according to a 2021 systematic review.

This spice can help increase the “glow and luster” of the skin, speed up wound healing, and calm the pores to decrease acne and acne scarring.

It also controls psoriasis flares. It may also help heal pruritus, oral lichen planus, facial redness, as well as types of skin cancers. For this purpose, turmeric-curcumin powder can be used.

One uncontrolled pilot study involving 814 participants even suggests that turmeric paste could clear up 97 percent of scabies (skin itching) cases within three to 15 days.

Try this turmeric face mask for glowing skin. Just keep in mind that this herb can stain your clothes.

To make sure you react well to it, first, do a patch test by applying a dime-sized amount to your forearm. Then, wait 24–48 hours to check for any reaction before applying turmeric to your face.

8. Combats Obesity

A study published in the journal Biofactors showed that curcumin may help reduce the proliferation (growth) of fat cells based on lab results.

The researchers found that the anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin were effective at suppressing the inflammatory processes of obesity, therefore helping reduce obesity and its “adverse health effects.”

9. Supports Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

An in-depth analysis of all the studies evaluating curcumin’s ability to manage ulcerative colitis found that one very well-designed trial tested curcumin plus mesalazine (the typical NSAID prescribed for this condition) against placebo and mesalazine.

Patients taking only a placebo and mesalazine were over four times more likely to experience a relapse or flare-up of ulcerative colitis during the six months of the study.

This suggests that curcumin benefits may include helping maintain remission of this chronic disease.

One small pilot study investigated curcumin supplementation for patients with ulcerative colitis and patients with Crohn’s disease.

Although the sample size was very small, all of the ulcerative colitis patients and four out of five Crohn’s patients had marked improvements over two months, however, additional research is needed.

It shows promise for irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory bowel disease symptoms.

10. Works as a Natural Pain Reliever

One of the more widely accepted properties of turmeric-curcumin in scientific communities is its ability to manage pain.

Breakthrough studies and reviews have found that turmeric-curcumin may be a beneficial natural painkiller for:

  • Wound healing and burn pain
  • Post-operative pain
  • Inflammation-induced arthritic pain
  • Neuropathic pain caused by constriction injury
  • Orofacial pain (pertaining to mouth, jaws, and face, most commonly related to dental issues)
  • The sciatic nerve pain from chronic constrictive injury
  • Arthritis/joint pain

11. Aids in Detoxification

Consumption of turmeric-curcumin is thought to help support the liver in efficiently detoxifying the body and fighting off some of the effects of dangerous carcinogens.

For example, it may help defend against the effects of environmental and dietary toxins known as xenobiotics.

This process operates in tandem with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents of turmeric, which together support various liver and immune functions.

12. Improves Joint Health

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials published in the Journal of Medicinal Food report that supplementing with turmeric can help alleviate symptoms of joint arthritis, such as joint tenderness, mobility, and discomfort.

In addition, multiple studies have found that curcumin supplementation can decrease exercise-induced joint discomfort. This is due in part to its inflammation modulation abilities.

14. Enhances Muscle Recovery

Research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition examined curcumin’s effect on post-exercise recovery.

Various curcumin-based interventions have improved self-perceived measures of pain and tenderness, reduced evidence of muscle damage, ameliorated inflammatory markers, increased markers of antioxidant capacity, diminished markers of oxidative stress, reduced markers of ages, and attenuated loss in mean power of single-leg sprints.

The authors did note that the “findings have not been consistently reported,” but more studies have revealed similar results.

For instance, curcumin and piperine supplementation was studied to see how it affected exercise-induced muscle damage.

Researchers concluded: “Curcumin and piperine supplementation before and after exercise can attenuate some, but not all, aspects of muscle damage.”

Piperine is an active ingredient found in black pepper

Another study published in the American Journal of Physiology involved mice running downhill and uphill and how curcumin supplementation affected performance and recovery.

It revealed that “curcumin can reduce inflammation and offset some of the performance deficits associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage.”

Related: How to make Turmeric Tea: Its Benefits for Immunity.

13. May Reduce Depression Symptoms

Turmeric may be able to help reduce depression symptoms due to the way that curcumin impacts neurotransmitter function through the brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

The journal Phytotherapy Research published the results of a study in 2014 involving 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Participants were either treated with turmeric curcumin, the drug fluoxetine, or a combination of the two. Curcumin was equally effective as fluoxetine in managing depression by the six-week mark.

A 2020 meta-analysis concluded that curcumin is generally well-tolerated by patients with depression, and if added to standard care, it might improve depression and anxiety symptoms. Two notable studies support this.

The first involved 56 individuals (male and female), and the second involved 108 male participants.

Both used a placebo but did not compare curcumin to any anti-depressant, and both studies found that curcumin effectively reduced depression symptoms more than a placebo.

How to Use Turmeric (Turmeric Recipes)

What is the best way to take turmeric?

This spice can be used in a variety of cuisine such as Indian, Chinese, Pakistani, and African dishes, of course, and nearly always is part of a curry powder mixture.

Turmeric tea

One of the turmeric recipes you may try is turmeric tea, sometimes referred to as liquid gold or golden milk.

Be sure not to subscribe to the conventional idea that the fat from coconut milk is unhealthy. In fact, that fat actually helps the body better absorb turmeric.

Turmeric Eggs and Curried Carrot Soup

Also, consuming turmeric eggs for breakfast and curried carrot soup is an excellent way to get more of this herb in your diet.

You can use coconut flakes, gluten-free flour, and turmeric to bread chicken or sprinkle in your ground meat as well.

You can peel and grind fresh turmeric and add it to any type of soup, sauce, or stew you want to prepare.

You can also combine fresh turmeric, garlic, and onions to prepare any beans recipe. If you combine these three herbs together to cook beans, it helps to reduce stomach gas normally experienced by some people when eating beans by 80 percent.

Turmeric Supplements

Do turmeric-curcumin supplements have the same benefits as the powdered type?

In some cases, yes.

Although using turmeric frequently in your cooking is a great way to take advantage of the spice, turmeric only contains about 3 percent absorbable curcumin in the powdered form used in food.

Therefore, you may also consider taking it or curcumin in supplement form — some high-quality turmeric pills contain up to 95 percent curcuminoids.

There are a few things to consider when purchasing a good turmeric curcumin supplement. For one, try to find one containing black pepper to get the maximum absorbability, as turmeric and black pepper work hand in hand.

Second, consider a fermented turmeric pill, capsule, or tablet — the pre-digestion process of fermentation helps you absorb it more effectively.

Next, look for a turmeric supplement with other supporting ingredients, like ashwagandha, milk thistle, dandelion, and peppermint.

The ideal combination comprises turmeric tablets that are organic, fermented, and also contain black pepper fruit.

This type of turmeric tablet unlocks the full potential — since a compound in black pepper called piperine helps the spice’s nutrients become more bioavailable while the fermentation provides it in its optimal form.

Piperine/black pepper has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2,000%!

Finally, make sure that the product you get is made from organic turmeric if at all possible, with no GMOs(Genetically Modified Organisms). Note that turmeric dosage recommendations vary depending on a number of factors.

Related: What are the Health Benefits of Garlic?

Related: What are the Health Benefits of Ginger?

Related: What are the medicinal uses of White Onions?

How much Turmeric should you take?

Studies have found that curcumin is safe at doses of up to  6 grams per(powder, tablet, or peel) day taken by mouth for four to seven weeks.

However, some adverse effects, such as digestive issues, can sometimes occur when taking this amount.

Supplements containing curcumin are safe for humans at doses of 500 milligrams taken two times daily for several months.

Always read dosage directions since products vary, and if you have additional concerns about overdosing, speak with your dietician for advice.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) 

When is the best time of day to take these supplements?

Research varies, but it’s believed that taking antioxidant supplements at bedtime may be the most effective.

Is it good to take turmeric every day?

Most people can benefit from consuming turmeric daily, although it’s important to stick to recommended doses to avoid potential reactions (more on those below).

Turmeric Essential Oil

Turmeric is also available as an essential oil, which can be used alongside turmeric in food and supplement forms. You may try a CO2-extracted form of turmeric essential oil.

Quality is the key here, particularly if you’re going to use turmeric essential oil internally. Always dilute in water or other liquids. For example, you can put one drop in a smoothie in the morning.

Risks and Side Effects

What are the Negative effects of Turmeric?

While it’s generally very safe to consume, rarely turmeric has been shown to cause allergies, especially after skin exposure. Typically you may experience a mild, itchy rash when apply to the skin.

In addition, high doses of turmeric (usually in supplement form) have been observed to cause potential side effects, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Increased liver function tests
  • Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
  • Hypotension (lowered blood pressure)
  • Uterine contractions in pregnant women
  • Increased menstrual flow

If you experience these symptoms, stop using turmeric supplements and speak with your doctor before beginning to supplement again.


The best way to enjoy all the health benefits of Turmeric without experiencing any negative side effects is to opt for fresh turmeric. Frequently use them in moderation to cook all kinds of food.  When combine with black pepper, garlic, and onions in cooking it provides additional health benefits.

However, whether we’re talking about turmeric fresh, powder, extract, or pills, this is one of the most powerful herbs in the world among others.

It has a long history of use, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine, for managing pain, inflammation, and more.

It can help prevent blood clots and treat type-2 diabetics, combat joint pain, regulate cholesterol, and much more.

Try using turmeric in recipes daily and/or purchasing it in supplement form to take advantage of the benefits.

Make sure to use only a high-quality curcumin supplement made from organic turmeric, coupled with black pepper and preferably prepared by fermentation, to help with absorption.

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The content provided in Living Good Blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal doctor. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Living Good Blog takes no responsibility for possible health consequences of any person(s) reading or following the information in this educational content. Viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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