Turmeric is used as a spice in curry powders and mustard. It is being investigated in clinical trials for the treatment and prevention of cancers, particularly of the gastrointestinal tract, and for treatment of colitis and Alzheimer and Huntington diseases.
According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Due to all these factors, turmeric is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems.
What is the recommended dosage?
Powdered turmeric root has traditionally been used as a stimulant and carminative at dosages of 0.5 to 3 g/day. Dosages of 3 to 6 g/day have been investigated to protect against ulcers. Daily oral doses of curcumin 3.6 g have been typically used in clinical trials, but dosages of curcumin up to 8 g/day have been used. Higher doses are associated with adverse GI effects
How does it work?
Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin. Curcumin and other chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling (inflammation). Because of this, turmeric might be beneficial for treating conditions that involve inflammation.
· Stomach ulcers. Some research suggests that taking turmeric three times daily for 8 weeks does not improve stomach ulcers. Also, taking powdered turmeric four times daily for 6 weeks seems to be less effective than taking a conventional antacid.
· Alzheimer's disease. Early research shows that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for 6 months does benefit people with Alzheimer's disease.
· Eye inflammation (anterior uveitis). Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, might improve symptoms of long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye.
· Colorectal cancer. Early research suggests that taking a specific turmeric product containing turmeric extract and Javanese turmeric extract (P54FP, Phytopharm plc., Godmanchester, United Kingdom) might stabilize some measures of colon cancer. There is also early evidence that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for 30 days can reduce the number of precancerous glands in the colon of people at high risk of cancer.
· By pass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft surgery). Early research suggests that taking curcuminoids, which are chemicals found in turmeric, starting 3 days before surgery and continuing for 5 days after surgery can lower the risk of a heart attack following bypass surgery.
· Skin wounds related to cancer. Early research suggests that applying a turmeric ointment might help to relieve odor and itching caused by wounds associated with different types of cancer.
· A type of inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn's disease. Some evidence suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for one month can reduce bowel movements, diarrhea, and stomach pain in people with Crohn's disease.
· Depression. Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, twice daily for 6 weeks is as effective as the antidepressant medication fluoxetine in people with depression.
· Diabetes. Early research suggests that taking turmeric extract twice daily for 9 months can reduce the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes.
· Stomach upset (dyspepsia). Some research shows that taking turmeric by mouth four times daily for 7 days might help improve an upset stomach.
· Gum disease (gingivitis). Early research suggests that using a turmeric mouthwash is as effective as a drug-therapy mouthwash for reducing gum disease and bacteria levels in the mouth of people with gingivitis.
· Stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection. Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 4 weeks is less effective than conventional treatment for eliminating certain bacteria (H. pylori) that can cause stomach ulcers.
· Boosts Immunity : Curcumin has a huge therapeutic value and boosting immunity is one of the most important properties of curcumin.
· Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research suggests that taking a turmeric extract (Cynara Turmeric, Lchtwer Pharma) daily for 8 weeks reduces the occurrence of IBS in people with IBS who are otherwise healthy.
· Joint pain. Research shows that taking a specific combination product (Instaflex Joint Support, Direct Digital, Charlotte, NC) containing turmeric and other ingredients three times daily for 8 weeks reduces the severity of joint pain. But it does not appear to help joint stiffness or improve joint function.
· Skin rash (Lichen planus). Taking a certain product (Curcumin C3 Complex, Sabinsa Corp) containing chemicals found in turmeric three times daily for 12 days can reduce skin irritation caused by lichen planus.
· Prostate cancer. Research suggests that taking a formula containing broccoli powder, turmeric powder, pomegranate whole fruit powder, and green tea extract three times daily for 6 months prevents an increase in prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in men with prostate cancer. PSA levels are measured to monitor how well prostate cancer treatment is working. However, it's not yet known if this formula reduces the risk of prostate cancer progression or recurrence.
· Inflammation in the mouth and/or esophagus from radiation treatment. Early research suggests that swishing a turmeric solution in the mouth six times daily for 6 weeks reduces the risk of inflammation in the mouth and/or esophagus caused by radiation treatment in people with head and neck cancer.
· Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research suggests that curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, might reduce some RA symptoms, including morning stiffness, walking time, and joint swelling. Other research shows that taking a turmeric product (BCM-95, Arjuna Natural Extracts, India) twice daily reduces RA symptoms more than conventional medication.
· Recover from surgery. Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for up to one week after surgery can reduce pain, fatigue, and the need for pain medications.
· An inflammatory disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Early research suggests that taking turmeric by mouth three times daily for 3 months can reduce blood pressure and improve kidney function in people with kidney inflammation (lupus nephritis) caused by systemic lupus erythematosus.
· Tuberculosis. Early research suggests that taking a product containing turmeric and Tinospora cordifolia can reduce bacteria levels, improve wound healing, and reduce liver toxicity caused by antituberculosis therapy in people with tuberculosis who are receiving anti tuberculosis therapy.
"5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C, this antioxidant breakthrough may help boost your immunity, maintain normal cholesterol levels, and put the brakes on aging," says Dr. Joseph Mercola about curcumin in turmeric.
Contraindications : Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.