Health Benefits Of Turmeric

What is turmeric?

Let's see what turmeric is exactly:

  • Turmeric is a plant
  • Its botanical name is Curcuma longa
  • Turmeric plant belongs to the ginger family
  • Fresh turmeric looks like ginger but is smaller in size
  • Other names for turmeric are turmeric root, Indian saffron, and haldi
  • Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia, and it is mainly grown in India
  • Underground stem(rhizome) of the plant is used for medicinal purposes and as a kitchen spice
  • The main component or active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin
  • Turmeric gets a bright yellow colour from curcumin
  • Turmeric root is boiled in water, then it is dried under the sun and finally the dried root is powdered
  • From ancient times, turmeric has been used in Ayurveda and in other traditional Indian medical systems
  • Eastern Asian medical systems such as Chinese medicines have been using turmeric for a long time
  • Turmeric is a common spice and the main component of curry powder
  • In India it is also used during religious ceremonies
  • Turmeric is available in different forms, such as powder, paste, oil, and extract
  • Nowadays turmeric is available as a dietary supplement for the treatment of many conditions, for example, arthritis, digestion disorder, respiratory infections, depression, and many more conditions1,2

What nutrition can we get from turmeric?

The active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is beneficial for the prevention of certain diseases, such as dementia, cancer, diabetes and many others. Turmeric is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and antioxidants. Its antioxidant properties help to reduce the risk of serious conditions such as cardiac issues, and diabetes.

Turmeric is an excellent source of:

  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Dietary fibre
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Potassium

The nutritional profile of 100 grams of turmeric is:3

total fibre22.7grams
total sugar3.21grams

Turmeric health benefits

Effectiveness of turmeric lies in curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making turmeric special in terms of its health benefits.

Turmeric's health benefits are as follows:4

  • Reduction in inflammation/swelling: Turmeric is very good for reducing inflammation in chronic conditions, where inflammation affects tissues in your body. It is very useful in ulcerative colitis to prolong remission
  • Improve memory: Turmeric has proved its effectiveness in dementia patients. It helps to improve their memory if it is taken regularly
  • Prevention in Alzheimer’s disease development: Brain inflammation is reduced because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin. Its antioxidant properties help to maintain neurocognition, which is the capacity to concentrate, think, remember, and reason
  • Osteoarthritis pain management: Turmeric extract effectively reduces osteoarthritis pain with its anti-inflammatory action
  • Fights free radicals: Antioxidant properties of turmeric protect your body from free radicals
  • Protection against heart disease: Curcumin improves the health of thin membranes which cover the inside of the heart and blood vessels, known as the endothelial membrane. This membrane plays a vital role in regulating blood pressure. As age progresses, the function of the membrane reduces. Curcumin helps to protect against this age-related loss of function
  • Reduction in cholesterol levels: Turmeric helps to lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Antidepressant activity: Turmeric has the ability to boost levels of a protein known as a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In depression, BDNF levels are reduced. Turmeric is also able to increase serotonin and dopamine levels. These chemicals are found in the brain.They are responsible for mood regulation and other functions
  • Anticancer property: Curcumin has anticancer properties. It can kill cancer cells and prevent the growth of cancer cells. It shows great effect in combination with chemotherapy
  • Treatment or prevention of diabetes: Turmeric is good for diabetic patients. It improves insulin sensitivity and thus helps to control blood sugar levels5
  • Treatment of glaucoma: Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that causes blindness if it is not treated on time. Curcumin can protect the optic nerve from damage6
  • Postmenopausal use: It is effective for hot flush reduction in postmenopausal women7
  • Skin conditions: Anti-inflammatory activity helps to keep skin healthy and prevents acne. Daily application of a cream containing turmeric in eczema patients helped to alleviate scaling, itching and thickening of the skin8
  • Turmeric for oral health: Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of curcumin help to reduce swelling of gums in the treatment of gingival inflammation. Turmeric mouthwash is effective in controlling plaque formation9
  • For ovarian disease: Curcumin is beneficial for ovary-related diseases because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties10

Side effects of turmeric in our body

Whatever we eat, whether it is food or medicine, has good and bad effects on our bodies. Depending upon how much we eat and how we eat, turmeric is no exception. Side effects of turmeric include:

  • Stomach upset: it may cause diarrhoea in some people
  • Constipation: it may cause hard stools in some people
  • Flatulence: gas formation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Yellow stools: because of curcumin which gives a yellow colour
  • Acid reflux
  • Abdominal pain in people with gallstones taking a turmeric supplement

People taking turmeric supplements who have had abnormal liver function tests can experience the following negative effects:

  • Hepatitis
  • Drug-induced liver injury
  • Cardiovascular side effects: sometimes it may cause heart rate disorder.
  • Bleeding disorder: turmeric taken with blood thinners may cause excess bleeding11

How to use turmeric in your diet

Turmeric is an important spice in the kitchen. It is normally used in powder form. Turmeric root is boiled in water, dried under the sun and then dried root is powdered. It is the main component of curry powder. The amount of turmeric in the supplement is much more than we use in food for cooking. Therefore, turmeric from food does not give as big a health benefit as supplements.

Some methods to incorporate turmeric into the diet:

  • Smoothies: you can add turmeric in smoothies along with other ingredients
  • Scrambled egg: mix turmeric with egg while making a scrambled egg
  • Golden milk: nowadays turmeric latte is very famous. Mix turmeric into hot milk
  • Rice: turmeric can be added to rice. It gives good colour and taste too
  • Soups: a variety of soups can be made and turmeric can be one of the ingredients
  • Curries: turmeric is added to curries. It gives a nice golden colour
  • Muffins: you can add turmeric to make them healthier
  • Roasted veggies: turmeric paste can be applied on vegetables before roasting

Turmeric is the main ingredient of curry sauce. You can also use fresh turmeric root. It can be stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container. It can be peeled and chopped to use in your cooking.4

How much is enough?

It is important to take the correct amount for its effect. If you take it in low amounts, it will not have any effects on your body and if you take it in excess then you may experience some side effects.

How much turmeric should we consume?

  • The amount of turmeric used in cooking is very low
  • When turmeric is taken as a  supplement, it is generally safe to take up to a maximum of 8 grams of turmeric per day
  • A more usual dose of turmeric is 400-600 mg three times daily. This amount is equal to 60 grams of fresh turmeric root or 15 grams of turmeric powder
  • For cancer trials 4 grams to 8 grams per day of curcumin is given
  • In order to have the effect of curcumin in our body, high doses are required
  • To enhance its absorption in our body, it is always recommended to take supplements along with nuts, seeds or oils4,11


It appears that turmeric is very beneficial for health. The golden spice supports immune health, relieves pain, and can aid digestion and many other things. Because of its side effects, it may not be suitable for some people. Turmeric root is boiled in water and dried under the sun. A powder is made from the dried root. It has been a very popular spice in the kitchen since ancient times. Turmeric has a warm and bitter taste and is frequently used to colour and flavour curry powder.

Nowadays, it is available in supplement or medicinal form for people to use on daily basis. It is very important to check for the sources from where you are buying it, as its quality is very important. It is always better to go with a reliable and doctor’s recommended brand. Anything and everything in excess is not good, so it is important to take supplements within the limit.

A word of caution people should remember that dietary supplements can not replace your regular medicines and regular dietary requirements. In fact, one teaspoon of this ”queen of all spices” is enough to keep pain, toxins and inflammation at bay.


  1. Turmeric [Internet]. NCCIH. [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from:
  3. Fooddata central [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from:
  5. May 2 E on, 2012. Turmeric could help in fight against diabetes [Internet]. Diabetes. [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from:
  6. Radomska-Leśniewska DM, Osiecka-Iwan A, Hyc A, Góźdź A, Dąbrowska AM, Skopiński P. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in eye diseases. Cent Eur J Immunol [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Nov 8];44(2):181–9. Available from:
  7. Tea and broccoli help ease menopause [Internet]. Cambridge University Hospitals. [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from:
  9. Nagpal M, Sood S. Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview. J Nat Sci Biol Med [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2022 Nov 8];4(1):3–7. Available from:
  10. Kamal DAM, Salamt N, Yusuf ANM, Kashim MIAM, Mokhtar MH. Potential health benefits of curcumin on female reproductive disorders: a review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2021 Sep 7 [cited 2022 Nov 8];13(9):3126. Available from:
  11. Advising patients using turmeric on its adverse effects [Internet]. SPS - Specialist Pharmacy Service. 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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