—Take 1-2 capsules twice daily.
—May help with inflammation, joint health and skin health.
The following is taken from Prescriber’s Letter, an objective international newsletter where I serve as an editorial advisor.
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.
Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, and fatigue.
It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, recovery after surgery, and cancers. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer's disease, swelling in the middle layer of the eye (anterior uveitis), diabetes, water retention, worms, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tuberculosis, urinary bladder inflammation, and kidney problems.
Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.
Turmeric is also used as an enema for people with inflammatory bowel disease.
In food and manufacturing, the essential oil of turmeric is used in perfumes, and its resin is used as a flavor and color component in foods.
Don't confuse turmeric with Javanese turmeric root (Curcuma zedoaria).
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.
Possibly Effective for:
High cholesterol. Research suggests that taking turmeric extract by mouth twice daily for 3 months reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides in overweight people with high cholesterol.
Osteoarthritis. Some research shows that taking turmeric extracts, alone or in combination with other herbal ingredients, can reduce pain and improve function in people with osteoarthritis. In some research, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for reducing osteoarthritis pain. However, it does not seem to work as well as diclofenac for improving pain and function in people with osteoarthritis.
Research suggests that taking turmeric by mouth three times daily for 8 weeks reduces itching in people with long-term kidney disease. Also, early research suggests that taking a specific combination product (C3 Complex, Sami Labs LTD) containing curcumin plus black pepper or long pepper daily for 4 weeks reduces itching severity and improves quality of life in people with chronic itching caused by mustard gas.
Tikoo, K., Meena, R. L., Kabra, D. G., and Gaikwad, A. B. Change in post-translational modifications of histone H3, heat-shock protein-27 and MAP kinase p38 expression by curcumin in streptozotocin-induced type I diabetic nephropathy. Br.J Pharmacol 2008;153(6):1225-1231. View abstract.
Tirkey, N., Kaur, G., Vij, G., and Chopra, K. Curcumin, a diferuloylmethane, attenuates cyclosporine-induced renal dysfunction and oxidative stress in rat kidneys. BMC.Pharmacol 2005;5:15. View abstract.
Ukil, A., Maity, S., Karmakar, S., Datta, N., Vedasiromoni, J. R., and Das, P. K. Curcumin, the major component of food flavour turmeric, reduces mucosal injury in trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-induced colitis. Br.J Pharmacol 2003;139(2):209-218. View abstract.
Usharani, P., Mateen, A. A., Naidu, M. U., Raju, Y. S., and Chandra, N. Effect of NCB-02, atorvastatin and placebo on endothelial function, oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, 8-week study. Drugs R.D. 2008;9(4):243-250. View abstract.
Van Dau N, Ngoc Ham N, Huy Khac D, and et al. The effects of a traditional drug, tumeric (Curcuma longa), and placebo on the healing of duodenal ulcer. Phytomed 1998;5(1):29-34.
Vareed, S. K., Kakarala, M., Ruffin, M. T., Crowell, J. A., Normolle, D. P., Djuric, Z., and Brenner, D. E. Pharmacokinetics of curcumin conjugate metabolites in healthy human subjects. Cancer Epidemiol.Biomarkers Prev. 2008;17(6):1411-1417. View abstract.
Varghese, K., Molnar, P., Das, M., Bhargava, N., Lambert, S., Kindy, M. S., and Hickman, J. J. A new target for amyloid beta toxicity validated by standard and high-throughput electrophysiology. PLoS.One. 2010;5(1):e8643. View abstract.
Verma S, Salamone E, and Goldin B. Curcumin and genistein, plant natural products, show synergistic inhibitory effects on the growth of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells induced by estrogenic pesticides. Biochem.Biophys.Res Commun. 4-28-1997;233(3):692-696. View abstract.
Vitaglione, P., Barone, Lumaga R., Ferracane, R., Radetsky, I., Mennella, I., Schettino, R., Koder, S., Shimoni, E., and Fogliano, V. Curcumin bioavailability from enriched bread: the effect of microencapsulated ingredients. J Agric.Food Chem 4-4-2012;60(13):3357-3366. View abstract.
Vizzutti, F., Provenzano, A., Galastri, S., Milani, S., Delogu, W., Novo, E., Caligiuri, A., Zamara, E., Arena, U., Laffi, G., Parola, M., Pinzani, M., and Marra, F. Curcumin limits the fibrogenic evolution of experimental steatohepatitis. Lab Invest 2010;90(1):104-115. View abstract.
Voznesens'ka, T. I., Bryzhina, T. M., Sukhina, V. S., Makohon, N. V., and Aleksieieva, I. M. [Effect of NF-kappaB activation inhibitor curcumin on the oogenesis and follicular cell death in immune ovarian failure in mice]. Fiziol.Zh. 2010;56(4):96-101. View abstract.
Waghmare, P. F., Chaudhari, A. U., Karhadkar, V. M., and Jamkhande, A. S. Comparative evaluation of turmeric and chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash in prevention of plaque formation and gingivitis: a clinical and microbiological study. J Contemp.Dent Pract. 2011;12(4):221-224. View abstract.
Wan, X. H., Li, Y. W., and Luo, X. P. [Curcumin attenuated the lipid peroxidation and apoptotic liver injury in copper-overloaded rats]. Zhonghua Er.Ke.Za Zhi. 2007;45(8):604-608. View abstract.
Wang, B. M., Zhai, C. Y., Fang, W. L., Chen, X., Jiang, K., and Wang, Y. M. [The inhibitory effect of curcumin on the proliferation of HT-29 colonic cancer cell induced by deoxycholic acid]. Zhonghua Nei Ke.Za Zhi. 2009;48(9):760-763. View the abstract.
Wang, L. Y., Zhang, M., Zhang, C. F., and Wang, Z. T. Alkaloid and sesquiterpenes from the root tuber of Curcuma longa. Yao Xue.Xue.Bao. 2008;43(7):724-727. View abstract.
Wang, Y., Lu, Z., Wu, H., and Lv, F. Study on the antibiotic activity of microcapsule curcumin against foodborne pathogens. Int.J Food Microbiol. 11-30-2009;136(1):71-74. View the abstract.
No supplement or vitamin as been approved or evaluated by the FDA.