What is turmeric?
Turmeric, sometimes called Indian
saffron or the golden spice, is a tall
plant that grows in Asia and Central
America.

The turmeric that we see on shelves and in spice
cabinets is made of the ground roots of the
plant. The bright yellow color of processed
turmeric has inspired many cultures to use it as a
dye. Ground turmeric is also a major ingredient
in curry powder. Capsules, teas, powders, and
extracts are some of the turmeric products
available commercially.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and
it has powerful biological properties. Ayurvedic
medicine, a traditional Indian system of
treatment, recommends turmeric for a variety of
health conditions. These include chronic pain and
inflammation. Western medicine has begun to
study turmeric as a pain reliever and healing
agent.

Keep reading to find out more about how
turmeric might benefit your health, as well as
some of its negative side effects.
Positive side effects of
turmeric

It's anti-inflammatory
The Arthritis Foundation cites several studies in
which turmeric has reduced inflammation.
This anti-inflammatory ability might reduce the
aggravation that people with arthritis feel in their
joints.

The foundation suggests taking capsules of 400
to 600 milligrams (mg) of turmeric up to three
times per day for inflammation relief.

It can relieve pain
Many people, including doctors, cite their own
anecdotal experience with turmeric as a pain
reliever. The spice is reputed to relieve arthritis
pain as well.

Studies seem to support turmeric for pain relief,
with one noting that it seemed to work as well
as ibuprofen (Advil) in people with arthritis in
their knees. Though dosing recommendations
seem to vary, those who participated in the study
took 800 mg of turmeric in capsule form each
day.

It improves liver function
Turmeric has been getting attention recently
because of its antioxidant abilities. The
antioxidant effect of turmeric appears to be so
powerful that it may stop your liver from being
damaged by toxins. This could be good news for
people who take strong drugs for diabetes or
other health conditions that might hurt their liver
with long-term use.

It may help reduce the risk of
cancer
Curcumin shows promise as a cancer treatment.
Studies suggest it has protective effects against
pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple
myeloma .

It can aid your digestion
Part of the reason that turmeric is in curry
powder is because it adds an element of
deliciousness to food. But turmeric can also play
an important role in digesting that food. Because
of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
properties, turmeric can contribute to healthy
digestion.

It's used in ayurvedic medicine as a digestive
healing agent. Now Western medicine has begun
to study how turmeric can help with gut
inflammation and gut permeability, two measures
of your digestive efficiency. Turmeric is even
being explored as a treatment for irritable bowel
syndrome.

Negative side effects of
turmeric
It can upset your stomach
The same agents in turmeric that support
digestive health can cause irritation when taken
in large amounts. Some participants in studies
looking at the use of turmeric for cancer
treatment had to drop out because their
digestion was so negatively affected. Turmeric
stimulates the stomach to produce more gastric
acid. While this helps some people's digestion, it
can really do a number on others.

It thins your blood
Turmeric's purifying properties may also make
you bleed more easily. It's not clear why this
happens. Other suggested benefits of turmeric,
such as lowered cholesterol and lowered blood
pressure, probably have something to do with the
way turmeric functions in your blood.

People who take blood-thinning drugs like
warfarin (Coumadin) should avoid consuming
large doses of turmeric.

It may stimulate contractions
You may have heard that eating foods seasoned
with curry can stimulate labor. Although there's
little clinical data to back up this claim, studies
suggest turmeric can ease symptoms of PMS. So
there may be something to the old wives' tale.

Because of its blood-thinning effects alone,
pregnant women should avoid taking turmeric
supplements. Adding small amounts of turmeric
as a spice to food shouldn't be a problem.

The takeaway
It appears that there are health benefits to
including turmeric in your diet. The golden spice
supports immune health, helps relieve pain, and
can aid in digestion, among other things. But
because of some of its side effects, turmeric
may not be worth taking for some people.

It's important to use caution when deciding
whether turmeric is something you need to try.
As with any alternative therapy, speak with your
doctor before you use turmeric to treat any health
condition that you have.

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supplement, then there is an excellent selection
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