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Let’s Talk Turmeric

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September 24, 2012 in Health


Turmeric – the bright yellow, pungent spice used in curry is making headlines as an anti-inflammatory and possibly anti-viral. Coast to Coast AM listeners hear George Noory recommend it all the time. Celebrity Doctors Oz and Andrew Weil have promoted it. What does the research say?

In 2009, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, was found to be just as effective as ibuprofen at relieving osteoarthritic knee pain. (1) The dose given was 500mg in capsule form, four times per day.

In 2008, it was tested on pancreatic cancer patients, two of 21 patients tested had biological activity. One experienced disease stability, the other actually had tumor regression. (2) Patients were given 8 grams by mouth daily. Remember that one gram equals 1,000 milligrams.

In 2004 and 2006, turmeric showed symptom improvement for irritable bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. (3) Dosage in one study was 1 gram by mouth after breakfast and another after dinner.

The blood glucose levels of mice were lowered in a 2008 study. This could lead to research for diabetics. (4)

The University of Maryland recommends the following dosage for adults:

  • Cut root: 1.5 to 3 grams per day
  • Dried, powdered root: 1-3 grams per day
  • Standardized powder (curcumin): 400-600 millgrams three times per day
  • Fluid extract (1:): 30-90 drops per day
  • Tincture (1:2): 15-30 drops, four times per day

The only major side effect seen in any of this research is that turmeric acts as a blood thinner at high doses. This is of concern to those on prescription blood thinners such as warfarin or aspirin. It should be discontinued two weeks prior to surgery.

You need to also remember that you get what you pay for with supplements. You can’t assume that turmeric bought at a discount, or “Dollar” store would be anywhere as good the quality found in standardized extracts. It is generally recommended that you choose a supplement with 95% standardized curcumin extract. If you’re going to buy the spice in bulk, make sure it’s from a reputable source. It can be “cut” with dyed flour or other powdered substances.


(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19678780

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18628464

(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15673996, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17101300

(4) http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Curcumin-may-offer-diabetes-benefits-study


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6 responses to Let’s Talk Turmeric

  1. I have read (from several sources) it is good for asthma also.

  2. I’ve been using Turmeric on tennis elbow. It is very painful. I am actually off work right now because of it. I didn’t know how much to use. Thanks for the info..

  3. I love tumeric! But then again, I am greatly fond of curries to.

  4. In cooking add paprika to get it taste less like curry. In curry go to town!

  5. Thanks. I wonder if this is why I generally feel calm and relaxed after eating Indian food. I crave and eat it a few times a week. Tumeric root… thanks for the reminder. Just put it on my shopping list.

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