Ingredients

The Truth Behind Turmeric's Health Claims

June 23, 2017

Does turmeric emit a health aura so strong that it's needless to expound upon the specifics? “Everybody knows about the nutritional benefits of turmeric and how its bioavailability increases when you eat it with black pepper, right?” writes Sharon Flynn in the headnote for fermented turmeric in her cookbook Ferment For Good. (...Everybody?, I whisper to myself, bowing my head in shame.)

But when turmeric is in the hands of Instagram-famous lifestyle bloggers, and on the menu of every plant-forward café, suddenly a symbol of a certain kind of prosperity—with its roots in traditional medicine either ignored, obscured, or muddied—well, it can certainly seem that way. Turmeric? Healthy? Why of course!

But what are the health benefits of turmeric—anecdotal or data-driven, passed down between generations or assessed in a science lab?

Photo by Julia Gartland

An Extremely Abridged History, plus a Few Considerations

For thousands of years, turmeric has been used in cooking (600 BCE, according to The New Food Lover’s Companion) and in medicine (in The Spice Companion, Lior Lev Sercarz writes that turmeric ointment was prescribed as far back as 250 BCE in the Sushruta Samhita, an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery, to mitigate the effects of poison), as a remedy for pain, fatigue, liver problems, wounds, and inflammatory diseases like arthritis, among other ailments.

But turmeric as healer is not “ancient” practice to be skimmed over in history books. In a January article in the New York Times, Tejal Rao describes how, in her Kenyan-Indian family, there was “turmeric for a standard runny nose, the dizzy rush of a fever, the ache of moving away from my best friend. Turmeric for a breakout, a particularly tender, slow-to-heal bruise, the anxieties that kept me awake.”

Rao opens her piece by distinguishing herself from turmeric-toon health bloggers: “I want to tell you that I don’t really believe in the magical properties of turmeric,” she says, “that I was radicalized when I was only a child.” Don't consider Rao among the recently indoctrinated. And while there’s “plenty of research to support turmeric’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties," she concludes that it's “neither a miracle drug nor a supernatural phenomenon. It’s a pungent, gently bitter tropical plant, related to ginger, with bulky, bright orange roots that have been used for centuries in kitchens across Asia, including India, where it is known as haldi.”

To call turmeric "new" or "trendy" is to ignore its long history—and its nuance. Just because turmeric-chai concentrate appeared in my local grocery store in the past week does not mean turmeric (or chai) did not exist before. “The current breathless reverence of the turmeric trend ignores a simple, but important, banality,” Tara O’Brady explains in the Guardian: “We’ve been doing this for generations, above and beyond fashion and not linked to some ephemeral mysticism. This so-called discovery is a framing that excludes the persevering vitality of the culture, one that is the thriving chronicle of its past and still relevant to its present.”

There was turmeric for a standard runny nose, the dizzy rush of a fever, the ache of moving away from my best friend. Turmeric for a breakout, a particularly tender, slow-to-heal bruise, the anxieties that kept me awake.
Tejal Rao

But even acknowledging turmeric’s roots in Ayurvedic practice, and East Asian medicine, too, neglects to recognize the diversity of Indian cuisine. As Food52 staff writer Mayukh Sen argued in his February article, to plaster haldi doodh (the Hindi name for turmeric milk) onto a grand Indian identity is to ignore large groups of Indians who have never encountered that beverage, or who use turmeric as "a cohort and companion to other spices and flavors" rather than as the miraculous medicine Western media advertises it to be.

The Healthy Stuff

Now back to the health claims that have, in large part, contributed to the commercialization and commodification of turmeric: How many of these are anecdotal, and how many are scientifically proven? Which isn't to say that scientific studies, which are expensive to conduct and imperfect in their conclusions, should be the only metric by which we judge “healthfulness.” It is merely to interrogate assertions that are as large in scope as to proclaim that turmeric prevents cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

To read the nitty-gritty details, jump to the end of the article. But the take-home point, as explained by the University of Maryland Medical Center, is that many of the studies have taken place in vitro and in animals—meaning that the effects might not be the same in humans.

Most of turmeric's health benefits are attributed to curcumin, a member of the curcuminoid group responsible for turmeric’s vibrant orange color (the one you can never seem to get rid of). Curcumin’s been hailed as an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities, with a potential to prevent diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses.

Photo by Julia Gartland

"a cautionary tale"

But in January, a flurry of articles debunking the health benefits of turmeric turned the tides.

“Forget what you’ve heard: Turmeric seems to have zero medicinal properties,” cried Quartz India. “Everybody Needs To Stop With This Turmeric Molecule,” admonished Forbes. “Turmeric May Be Tasty, But It’s Not a Cure-All,” warned Smithsonian.com.

Throw all your turmeric out the window! The previous assertions of “an ever-growing mountain of evidence [showing] that boldly colored turmeric with its earthy, bitter-gingery taste may offer a plethora of potential health benefits,” as a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer put it, seemed to crash-burn (at least in regards to Mount Evidence).

But these articles, while attention-grabbing (and mud-slinging), may have have buried much of the nuance of the paper on which they all drew, The Essential Medicinal Chemistry of Curcumin, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry early this year.

All we know right now is that curcumin itself is not the panacea that people think it is.
Michael Walters

The article, which was the most comprehensive review of the effects of curcumin to date, concludes that the chemical “is an unstable, reactive, nonbioavailable compound and, therefore, a highly improbable lead” for potential pharmaceuticals. While curcumin has been proposed to treat disorders ranging from erectile dysfunction to baldness to cancer to Alzheimer’s disease, “it’s never yielded a proven treatment,” according to a Nature summary of the review article. Despite thousands of research papers, over 120 clinical trials, and more than $150 million of NIH funding in the last two decades, “there’s no evidence [that curcumin] has any specific therapeutic benefits.”

So why has research persisted? It’s because curcumin belongs to a group of deceptive molecules aptly known as PAINS (pan-assay interference compounds) that contribute to misleading screening results by suggesting that specific chemical activity is occurring even when none exists. “Much effort and funding has been wasted on curcumin research,” Gunda Georg, the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, told Nature—and yet her team still fields a steady stream of manuscripts on the topic.

A final twist

Part of the problem, Georg explained to Nature, is that researchers have difficulty narrowing in on the specific chemicals in turmeric that have health properties. Extracts from turmeric contain dozens of compounds in addition to curcumin, which is itself a shorthand name for a group of three closely-related molecules. “In some cases,” Nature reports, “researchers may observe promising biological effects but ascribe activity to the wrong molecule.” (Curcumin is also not easily absorbed by the body, though piperine, found in black pepper, has been shown to increase its bioavailability, which is why you’ll find recommendations, like Flynn’s, for consuming black pepper and turmeric together.)

So while Michael Walters, the co-author of the review that launched a fleet of turmeric skepticism, calls curcumin “a cautionary tale,” he’s not writing off research completely. Rather than focus solely on curcumin, which makes up 3 to 5% of turmeric, new studies should look at turmeric more holistically, he says, as an ingredient or a meal component.

While the January review makes the utility of curcumin supplements alone doubtful, it does not necessarily negate the health benefits of turmeric as a complete structure, when all of its molecules are working together, often in the presence of other foods.

Nor does it detract from the fact that turmeric has been administered in families—to heal burn wounds and soothe anxious brains—for thousands of years, and long before "modern" medicine existed.


a few of the claims and the evidence

  • Cancer: According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the results of research on turmeric’s anti-cancer properties are “still very preliminary.” The website for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explains that in rats exposed to cancer-causing substances, those treated with turmeric were protected from colon, stomach, and skin cancers. In the lab, turmeric also prevents the replication of tumor cells when applied directly. Neither of these findings can be applied to the human body.
  • Alzheimer’s: Preclinical research suggests that curcumin may benefit the brain (in three case reports, turmeric supplements were associated with improvements in irritability, agitation, and anxiety), but a review conducted by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and the Cognitive Vitality Program found clinical evidence to be weak, and no trials have tested for dementia prevention.
  • Indigestion/Dyspepsia: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that turmeric reduced the symptoms of bloating and gas in those suffering from indigestion. Heart disease: While an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and kept LDL from building up in blood vessels in animal studies, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that a dosage of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, did not improve cholesterol levels.
  • Bacterial and Viral Infections: Turmeric may kill bacteria and viruses, as suggested by test tube and animal studies, but researchers don’t know whether that would be the same in the human body.
  • Inflammation: The University of Michigan refers to curcuminoids, a group of compounds present in turmeric, as having anti-inflammatory properities that may be beneficial in treating Chron’s disease, uveitis (inflammation of the iris), and arthritis.

How do you use turmeric in your everyday life? Does it soothe your stomach, add flavor to your food, dye your clothes? Tell us in the comments below.

65 Comments

Clatterbuck April 16, 2018
About 10 years ago I was having extreme menstrual pain due to fibroids. I was taking way too much Motrin and it still wasn't alleviating the pain. I did some research on alternative pain relievers and stumbled on some studies about turmeric so I started taking turmeric capsules and it did a much better job at killing the pain. After a little more research I developed my own protocol for menstrual pain. I would take turmeric capsules through out the day, probably around 3 or 4. I also started drinking green tea in the morning. I hate the taste of green tea, but it really helped the turmeric kick out my pain. In the afternoon I stopped drinking green tea (because of the cafaine) and started snacking on pistachios. I know it sounds crazy but I stumbled on an Iranian study that showed that women who eat pistachio nuts had much less menstrual pain. In the evening I would drink pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice is a powerful anti inflammatory which helped the pain and also makes me a little sleepy. Using these products enabled me to stay away from Motrin and it's like until I finally entered menopause last year. I hope this helps someone else with painful periods.
 
Naomi August 9, 2017
https://www.facebook.com/groups/turmericusergroupuk/
 
Lady O. July 2, 2017
I appreciate the comments by Kimberly Horner, Liz Wallis and others. Under the supervision of my integrative MD, I have substituted tumeric (Thorne , Meriva SR, soy-freeversion) for the max doseage Rx painkiller I was on following a debilitating, life-changing accident. I no longer need any Rx pain meds. My husband now takes sames and the arthritis in his hands is gone. <br />I am also a member of the FaceBook Tumeric User Group (thank you Liz and admins). Both my dogs get the Golden Paste - 1 'prophylactically', and the older dog, a schnauzer, for his sarcoids and epilus. The epilus that was growing rapidly and moving his teeth is now the size of a pinhead- and no longer worrisome. 2 of his 3 sarcoids have apparently 'absorbed'/there was no sloughing off - and the 3rd has greatly lessened in size and is no longer irritated by his collar. <br />Regarding the blood thinning properties of tumeric - yes, they are of consequence. Speak with your MD, but generally apeaking, use the same dictate that applies to warfarin, aspirin etc- discontinue for 3 days before any surgical procedure (including IPL facials!)<br />I'm a believer -- and so relieved to be off a painkiller, a kin of dreaded VIOXX<br />Good luck to all
 
Annette R. June 26, 2017
A year ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. After years of going to see the doctor, I finally got some answers. The pain I feel seems to never go away-hurting in my lower back, legs, neck, even sometimes radiates to the very tip of my toes,I couldn't move my right arm with out getting a lot of pain. I was 32 years old and I didn't know if I want to see how I feel at 40 because the pain was very intense. I was taking Lyrica, it helps but I still have to be careful not to over do things. I was trying to have a child-don't know if I'll be able to do it! i searched for alternative treatment online and In November, 2016 I started on Health Herbal Clinic fibromyalgia disease natural herbal remedy, my fibromyalgia symptoms including Severe fatigue , Insomnia, nausea and vomiting, deteriorated over the first 6 weeks of the Fibromalgia herbal formula usage, i am now 34 with no trace of Fibromyalgia, visit the clinic website www . healthherbalclinic . net or email info @ healthherbalclinic . net The Fibro herbal formula helped me in a way i just didn’t imagine, this is a breakthrough for all fibromyalgia disease patients.
 
Cheri W. June 26, 2017
There is a clinic website for this information. However, I can't find this clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. I did find a clinic with this name in Jaipur India. The Google map on the health herbal clinic website places a marker for the clinic on the corner of Albertina Sisulu Rd and Von Weilligh St in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. A google earth search for the address from their website, 551 Malvern, health clinic Rd, Johannesburg, comes up nil. There is a lovely photo of the "clinic" on the website that appears to be in a lovely country setting. What is this, a scam. Their website is set up as "we contact you, after you supply us with your name, email and cell phone number." And also with a health clinic live chat. There is no list of products to buy or costs associated but a very long list of curable diseases and conditions that they can provide appropriate herbal teas for, and a long list of Testimonials that claim the teas provided cured them of cancers, Parkinson's, snoring, fibromyalgia, decreased libido and the like. This places your comments in the area of "things that make you go Hmmmmmm!"
 
Lawrence L. June 24, 2017
People in India eat a lot of turmeric. Are people in India particularly healthy?
 
Kimberley H. June 24, 2017
It seems fairly evident to me as a physician that the people of India are doing their best to manage their collective health without much money, since their population of 1.3 billion, which I just googled to verify, mostly lives in poverty. Very sad to see. But trying to compare that to our discussion here is the proverbial "apples and oranges." I concede they are not particularly healthy, but typically for different reasons than we are, right? Other than taking on our bad habits of consuming junk food, they for the most part have what I call "the diseases of not enough" while we have "the diseases of too much". Even there, though, I suspect traditional herbs do help protect the population somewhat, typically as a routine part of the diet. I think this is true in many poorer countries. Medicine is a complex subject. Not easily simplified.
 
Lawrence L. June 25, 2017
OK then just look at middle and upper class people in India. They eat a lot of turmeric too.
 
Kimberley H. June 25, 2017
Yes, that could be an interesting study.
 
Nico June 23, 2017
For more unbiased information please look into Natural News.com<br />http://www.naturalnews.com/SearchResults.asp?query=tumeric&pr=NN
 
Cheri W. June 23, 2017
you directed me to a site that is entirely biased for the use of turmeric/tumeric. so what is your point beside being self serving? I feel the important thing is that each individual make educated decisions about their own health. To do this we need truly unbiased sources that cover all the bases. The answers for you and how you use turmeric may not fit the person next to you. Yes there are healthful reasons to use most all supplements, herbs, spices, tree barks, plants for the betterment of humankind but some can kill or hurt us if taken in the wrong form or potency. nuff said!!
 
Barbara S. June 23, 2017
I put organic tumeric in my tea and in smoothies. I haven't taken ibuprofen in months. I run up stairs. I used to hate climbing stairs because of the arthritis in my knees. My knees rarely hurt now. I will not give up my tumeric.
 
Cheri W. June 23, 2017
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I am not saying anyone should give up there turmeric. If a person takes certain powerful blood thinning medications they must take caution to be aware of the potential for excess anti-coagulation. Usually those meds are prescriptive only and if handled properly by the office you receive them from and you communicate to them the supplements and foods you eat regularly, adjustments can then be made to the prescriptive amounts and decrease any danger. You state you haven't taken ibuprofen in months, great, good for you. Not every one has the same effect. And some people MUST take warfarin regularly to prevent blood clots and if the numbers aren't regulated and dosing adjusted periodically they can run the risk of brain bleed, etc. Taking warfarin entails dietary awareness. Turmeric increases thinning of the blood, Vitamin K decreases thinning, many things effect levels, alcohol intake, protein intake, illness, diarrhea and vomiting. Just pointing out much more to be aware of when using supplements. By the way, I love your icon....
 
Tee June 23, 2017
How much do you add to your smoothy? How much to a cup of tea?
 
Barbara S. June 23, 2017
I put about 1/2 tsp in my tea, along with some organic ginger and a pinch of pepper. I mix all that with a little almond milk then add it to my tea. I put about a tsp in my smoothie along with ginger and cinnamon.
 
Cheri W. June 23, 2017
This article is informative and seems balanced, however I see no mention about using turmeric in any form while taking a blood thinner. Curcumin has anticoagulation abilities and if one is also taking warfarin, heparin, lovanox, ibuprofen, aspirin, Plavix, voltarin, Plavix or naproxen there is a greater risk of increased anticoagulation which can lead to increased bleeding and bruising. This should be evaluated by lab work to determine the persons INR levels, level of blood thinning, and adjusting the medications toward the goal of not over thinning the the blood. No one wants a bleed to occur in the brain, gut, lungs, etc.
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
Great point. This is why it is very important to see a qualified practitioner who is trained to treat you thoroughly and individually. Note that patients on very powerful anticoagulants like Plavix and warfarin are typically warned not to take supplements. Even garlic, ginkgo, fish oils, and many other commonly used supplements can thin the blood, even some foods affect it.
 
Missell C. June 23, 2017
I take a blood thinners and my cardiologist said it was ok for me to use turmeric, but to watch for signs of extra thining such as nose bleeds and excess bruising. Turmeric is about the only thing that helps when I have severe knee pain. We all need to be vigilant about what we take, no matter if prescribed by a doctor or not. Also, dig deep into side effects, not just the "few" they put out on the surface.
 
Liz W. June 23, 2017
Turmeric (preferably in the form of golden paste rather than a curcumin supplement) can often be combined with warfarin. This requires more frequent monitoring and the assistance of one's doctor and/or INR nurse. Many people can find an appropriate balance between golden paste and warfarin. The other anticoagulants can't be monitored with a simple finger stick and quick clotting test, since their mechanism takes place at a different point in the coagulation cascade. Over-the-counter NSAIDs are seldom a problem (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc).
 
Nico June 23, 2017
Tumeric works. The media that is anti it's health properties are all corrupt and unreliable. Ask yourself "WHY is it in so many recipes?" It works and science data is unreliable because of the people who fund these "tests". One day science will catch up to what many eastern cultures have already known for THOUSANDS of years. Until then hand me that golden milk or sugar free latte.
 
Laolao June 23, 2017
I managed to make a subcutaneous cyst disappear from behind my ear alternatin fresh turmeric slices, epson salt and a homeopathic remedy that I forgot which one. I used each on a plaster then aided draining of the cyst using acne patches. It was clean and effective as the cyst completely vanished to no return.
 
Rob June 23, 2017
people who have put their faith in an orange person or an orange spice are highly resistant to giving up that faith even in the light of scientific evidence that contradicts their belief. That being said, I use turmeric in my cooking and I am glad to say I have never fallen for that other orange thing.
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
Thankfully in this case there is much scientific evidence supporting the use of turmeric. Even drug studies initially use in-vitro and animal studies. And it is important to note that dosing and bioavailability in human studies can affect the outcome of a study. If you took your prescription antibiotic at say 1/4 the required dose and say once a day instead of the required twice a day dose, would it "work"??? These things must be taken into consideration when designing a study of an herbal medicine. Plus, the quality of herbal supplements vary considerably. Some supplements on the market do not even contain the herb listed on the label! You can't blame the herb for that. And for the record, I have a both a B.S. and an M.S. in the biological sciences. I was accepted into conventional medical school many years ago. I do not "concede" science to others one bit. You must forgive me, but when I was about seven years old, in the early 1970's, my mother was given hormone replacement therapy for no valid reason. Within 6 months she had breast cancer, for which the treatment was a radical mastectomy. Horrible. She was fine for 23 years and then had what is called a long-term relapse of the same breast cancer. Combining natural and conventional therapies, she lived a remarkable 8 fairly vital years with metastatic cancer. But she did die at 79 of the original cancer. I wanted to be a physician from a very young age, about 5. I saw early on with my very own eyes the consequences of "science". My mother should NEVER have been given that HRT, nor should other women without a damn proper reason. I learned the hard way to question standard thought. I have the moderation to do so without throwing it all out the door. If you believe conventional medicine holds all the answers, take a closer look. The system is a disaster. You would be wiser to question and possibly broaden what you consider to be science.
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
However, I definitely agree with you about the orange guy.
 
petalpusher June 23, 2017
It really has an impact on your life when you are a first hand witness to poor medical advice and treatment. Especially your parents. You question EVERY THING, through your life afterward. Each person is unique and should pay attention to how they feel. Eat lots of different herbs and spices in the foods you prepare and don't worry about supplements. <br />I agree the system is a disaster. Each one of us is responsible for our well being and pray when you need to see a doctor, you find one who will listen and really see you.
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
I very much appreciate your kind words. It was very difficult to see, a hard lesson I never forgot. I feel very grateful to have pursued my career in medicine with a knowledge and understanding to extract the best of both conventional and complementary medicine, each of which have their strengths. And when I was in practice, I always listened to much more than talked at my patients. You just can't get to the bottom of most chronic conditions with a 15 minute visit where the doctor does most of the talking. You are so right that we are in the end responsible for our own health. I just always wanted to make sure I did my best to inform my patients, provide practical solutions, and reconnect them with a basic trust of their own capacity for healing. An uphill battle right now but one I am proud to have been a part of. Thanks again very much for your prayers. Further evidence for some that I am "unscientific", but I believe in those, too! 😌
 
Elizabeth V. June 23, 2017
Just got this. Hee hee: orange guy. Not him!! 😆
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
😊
 
Nora T. June 24, 2017
Sigh...it didn't take long for some folks to turn a nutrition article into a puerile, baseless political statement to malign both the current President and those who support him. What was the point of that, hon? When you hijack a topic with slurs, you lose any credibility in anything you might otherwise have to say. Bias is ignorance.
 
Kimberley H. June 24, 2017
I actually did not bring it up. Just wanted to assure Rob, whom I am assuming you are also calling 'hon', that I got his point about not falling for lies. Last time I checked, I was allowed to have a political opinion. And if you don't choose to believe what I am saying about health because you feel I am biased or ignorant, please feel free to ignore me, it is your loss.
 
petalpusher June 24, 2017
Bazinga!
 
Kimberley H. June 24, 2017
😎
 
Larry L. June 25, 2017
Keep your commie scum snowflake bullshit out if this, Rob!
 
Lindsay-Jean H. June 26, 2017
Hi Larry Long, Food52 is a welcoming, inclusive community, and we value differences of opinion, but we do not tolerate name-calling or offensive language that's directed at another user. Please refrain from doing so in the future or your comments will be removed.
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
Though I cannot treat or recommend specific therapies without formally seeing an individual patient, I can say my favorite herbal brands which I consider to be honest, reliable, and of higher quality are Gaia Herbs, Oregon's Wild Harvest, and Thorne Research. Dosing should be as directed on the label as strengths vary between companies. And it depends which condition you are treating or if you are simply using it for prevention. Because of these variables, I recommend seeing an actual naturopathic physician. Not just a naturopath. To be called a naturopathic physician, we must attend a four-year naturopathic medical program and pass national board exams. Here in Oregon, we are licensed to diagnose and treat disease and to prescribe conventional drugs if necessary. Therefore, we are trained to be the perfect bridge between so-called "alternative" and conventional medicine. A great resource to find a naturopathic physician near you is the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at www.naturopathic.org.
 
Basil A. June 23, 2017
Great article. Informative and I appreciate the effort to differentiate between the anecdotal and the scientific. Turmeric is used often in Persian cuisine and I love cooking with it. My Grandmother and Mother believed it was effective in aiding with arthritis and used it in many if not most dishes they cooked. On a lighter note, it's beautiful if you use it on scrabbled eggs. It turns into a gorgeous crimson color while adding a nice hint of flavor.
 
fb June 23, 2017
Any suggestion as to what brand and the dosage?
 
txchick57 June 23, 2017
Life Extension. Curcumin with Ginger and Turmerones. Comes in a suspension of a bit of oil which helps greatly with the absorbtion.
 
Liz W. June 23, 2017
Rather than a drug-like supplement, use turmeric in the traditional way--whole turmeric with a healthy oil and freshly ground black pepper. The most effective method is to cook turmeric in water, and then add the oil and black pepper (i.e. golden paste). Check out the Turmeric User Group on Facebook for the recipe (it originated with that group, in fact), and science-based advice on the use of turmeric.
 
Tara M. June 23, 2017
I've been taking turmeric with coconut oil and black pepper for some time now. I used to have to take several strong painkillers( including opiates) and anti-inflammatories and suffered severe side effects with them. I no longer need to take any painkillers and I seldom have pain to any extent.- the proof is in the pudding. There are several good support groups - Turmeric User group, Turmeric User Group UK and Turmeric Support Group.
 
Alexander F. June 23, 2017
Thanks! Can you recommend a dosage? I have the same problem, but I noticed swallowing coconut oil with tumeric sends me to the bathroom. Maybe I have the amounts wrong.
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
As a licensed naturopathic physician in Oregon currently on sabbatical but in practice for over 17 years, I am always surprised by both the trendiness of the "latest supplement" and also by the swiftness and complete dismissal from the medical establishment of the benefits of herbal medicine. I have four comments. Firstly, I most definitely believe in turmeric as beneficial, primarily due to its anti-inflammatory effects. If one bothers to take the time to extensively study the causes of cancer, one quickly and readily finds a very strong link in several cancers to inflammation of that tissue. "Itis" means inflammation. For example, chronic gastritis is a risk factor for stomach cancer. Chronic colitis, as in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and please note this is the correct spelling of this condition, not as the author spelled it, is a risk factor for colon cancer. Esophagitis is a risk factor for esophageal cancer. And on and on. Not true for every cancer, as breast and prostate cancer are more induced by hormones, but even in these primarily hormone-dependent cancers, inflammation still increases the risk. This is why anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin are often found to be protective against various cancers in many studies. Inflammation has also been linked to cardiovascular disease and dementia. Therefore, diets, herbal medicines, and lifestyle practices which reduce inflammation do in fact have very significant potential not only to reduce pain as one might expect but also to reduce the risk of long-term diseases when used properly. Secondly, turmeric is also better absorbed when consumed with fat, which could explain how the traditional use in cooking is quite beneficial and could lead to better outcomes in studies. Thirdly, no herb is a miracle if your diet is lousy, you don't exercise, or if you consistently abuse your body. There is no silver bullet. Sorry, people, but this is reality. Lastly, don't be easily manipulated by two sets of people. Be wary of those selling the latest herbal miracle. You must study herbs, insist on high quality supplements, and use them properly, with respect, and in the context of a healthy lifestyle. The other people to be very very wary of are those who have a massive financial stake in throwing out very promising inexpensive natural therapies just to keep you sick so they can profit off your illnesses with their expensive and often quite dangerous drugs. When someone dismisses an herbal medicine with a record of centuries of safe and effective use, that should be a massive red flag to you that it threatens someone's financial hold on you. If you could cure and/or prevent many diseases without drugs, whose profits drop??? Be careful out there, both ways.
 
petalpusher June 23, 2017
Cheers Kimberly.
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
Thank you.
 
Elayne June 23, 2017
Nicely commented Kimberley!
 
Kimberley H. June 23, 2017
Thanks
 
s June 23, 2017
Read this, please--anecdotal stories are not scientific evidence.<br /><br />https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/turmeric-tasty-in-curry-questionable-as-medicine/<br /><br />and this one--<br /><br />http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/turmeric-may-taste-good-its-not-cure-all-180961786/
 
txchick57 June 23, 2017
you read them and give us a book report
 
Liz W. June 23, 2017
A more nuanced and objective article than many which have appeared recently. Anyone who wants science-based data on the use of turmeric, along with information on medication interactions and effective ways of using turmeric, should check out the Facebook group, Turmeric User Group. It was the original of the now many turmeric-related groups, begun in 2012 with almost 250,000 members worldwide now. The founder and several of the admins are veterinarians, and the other admins have years of experience in the effective use of turmeric with both people and animals.
 
cde June 23, 2017
I've been dx with fibromyalgia and take Turmeric on a regular basis with very satisfactory results. In addition, my CRP (c reactive protein marker for inflammation) is now extremely low. Connection? I believe so.<br />Last month I had a lower wisdom tooth pulled. There was no swelling and I healed quite fast.<br />I've had the best results with curcuma longa + black pepper in one pill daily.<br />Obviously, I'm a believer!
 
petalpusher June 23, 2017
Its so tedious to see an ingredient with a deep history of use in other cultures, become 'new' when it crosses the radar of wasp marketing. I'm thankful my wasp mother had an open mind and raised us to respect all cultures and their food traditions. My favorite new hummus concoction includes turmeric and sauerkraut. I was out of lemons and needed a sour salty bite to it. <br /> Only bodies can be healthy. Conditions, activities like a sex life or sense of humor. Stop using the word healthy to describe objects. <br />Make sure your spices come from a responsible, reliable source.
 
Gail June 23, 2017
Hi. Would you share your hummus recipe please?
 
petalpusher June 23, 2017
Drain the liquid from 2 regular size cans of chickpeas , reserving about a half a can. In your food processor bowl put the chickpeas, 3-4 crushed cloves of garlic, 2-3 tablespoons of stirred tahini, 1/2 - 1 cup of lightly drained sauerkraut ( I used the refrigerated brand, as it was available in the frig at that time) 1 heaping tsp. of turmeric, several grinds of black pepper and a swirl of olive oil. Process until creamy, adding more chickpea liquid if necessary. Even more delicious the next day chilled. Scoop into tiny multicolored sweet pepper halves sprinkled with a little cayenne salt and enjoy crunchy, creamy goodness.
 
Gail June 23, 2017
Thanks so much. It sounds delicious. I'm taking it to my next girlfriends evening out.