Complementary Medicine - Cam
Parts Used & Where Grown
The vast majority of turmeric comes from India. Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in many curries, giving them color and flavor. The root and rhizome (underground stem) are used medicinally.
What Are Star Ratings?
Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric was prescribed for treatment of many conditions, including poor vision, rheumatic pains, and coughs , and to increase milk production. Native peoples of the Pacific sprinkled the dust on their shoulders during ceremonial dances and used it for numerous medical problems ranging from constipation to skin diseases. Turmeric was used for numerous intestinal infections and ailments in Southeast Asia.
How It Works
How It Works
The active constituent is known as curcumin. It has been shown to have a wide range of therapeutic actions. First, it protects against free radical damage because it is a strong antioxidant .30 , 31 Second, it reduces inflammation by lowering histamine levels and possibly by increasing production of natural cortisone by the adrenal glands.32 Third, it protects the liver from a number of toxic compounds.33 Fourth, it has been shown to reduce platelets from clumping together, which in turn improves circulation and may help protect against atherosclerosis .34 There are also test-tube and animal studies showing a cancer-preventing action of curcumin. In one of these studies, curcumin effectively inhibited metastasis (uncontrolled spread) of melanoma (skin cancer) cells.35 This may be due to its antioxidant activity in the body. Curcumin inhibits HIV in test tubes, though human trials are needed to determine if it has any usefulness for treating humans with this condition.36
A preliminary trial in people with rheumatoid arthritis found curcumin to be somewhat useful for reducing inflammation and symptoms such as pain and stiffness.37 A separate double-blind trial found that curcumin was superior to placebo or phenylbutazone (an NSAID) for alleviating post-surgical inflammation.38
While a double-blind trial has found turmeric helpful for people with indigestion ,39 results in people with stomach or intestinal ulcers have not shown it to be superior to a placebo and have demonstrated it to be less effective than antacids.40 , 41
Preliminary research indicates a possible benefit of oral curcumin supplementation (375 mg of turmeric extract with 95% curcuminoids three times daily for 12 weeks) for chronic anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris and middle coat of the eyeball).42
How to Use It
Turmeric extracts standardized at 90 to 95% curcumin can be taken in the amount of 250 to 500 mg three times per day.43 Tincture, 0.5–1.5 ml three times per day, is sometimes recommended.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.
Interactions with Medicines
As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
Used in the recommended amounts, turmeric is generally safe. It has been used in large quantities as a condiment with no adverse reactions. Some herbal books recommend not taking high amounts of turmeric during pregnancy as it may cause uterine contractions and people with gallstones or obstruction of bile passages should consult their healthcare practitioner before using turmeric.44 , 45
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3. Sontakke S, Thawani V, Pimpalkhute S, et al. Open, randomized, controlled clinical trial of Boswellia serrata extract as compared to valdecoxib in osteoarthritis of knee. Indian J Pharmacol 2007;39:27–9.
4. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, et al. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol 1991;33:91–5.
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6. Thamlikitkul V, Bunyapraphatsara N, Dechatiwongse T, et al. Randomized double blind study of Curcuma domestica Val for dyspepsia. J Med Assoc Thai 1989;72:613–20.
7. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, et al. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol 1991;33:91–5.
8. Deodhar SD, Sethi R, Srimal RC. Preliminary studies on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferuloyl methane). Ind J Med Res 1980;71:632–4.
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10. Chopra A, Lavin P, Patwardhan B, Chitre D. Randomized double blind trial of an Ayurvedic plant derived formulation for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. J Rheumatol 2000;27:1365–72.
11. Srivastava R, Dikshit M, Srimal RC, Dhawan BN. Anti-thrombotic action of curcumin. Throm Res 1985;404:413–7.
12. Srivastava KC, Bordia A, Verma SK. Curcumin, a major component of food spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) inhibits aggregation and alters eicosanoid metabolism in human blood platelets. Prost Leuk Essen Fat Acids. 1995;52:223–7.
13. Pulliero G, Montin S, et al. Ex vivo study of the inhibitory effects of Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) anthocyanosides on human platelet aggregation. Fitoterapia 1989;60:69–75.
14. Liu J. Effect of Paeonia obovata 801 on metabolism of thromboxane B2 and arachidonic acid and on platelet aggregation in patients with coronary heart disease and cerebral thrombosis. Chin Med J 1983;63:477–81 [in Chinese].
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19. Satoskar RR, Shah SJ, Shenoy SG. Evaluation of antiinflammatory property of curcumin (diferuloyl methane) in patients with postoperative inflammation. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1986;24:651–4.
20. Ghatak N, Basu N. Sodium curcuminate as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Indian J Exp Biol 1972;10:235–6.
21. Chandra D, Gupta SS. Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity of volatile oil of curcuma longa (Haldi). Indian J Med Res 1972;60:138–42.
22. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, et al. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol 1991;33:91–5.
23. Norred CL, Zamudio S, Palmer SK. Use of complementary and alternative medicines by surgical patients. AANA J 2000;68:13–8.
24. Murphy JM. Preoperative considerations with herbal medicines. AORN J 1999;69:173–5, 177–8, 180–3.
25. Robb-Nicholson C. By the way, doctor. My surgeon advised me to stop taking gingko biloba before my hip surgery. Can you explain why? Are there any other herbs I should avoid? Harv Womens Health Watch 2000;7:8.
26. Arora RB, Basu N, Kapoor V, Jain AP. Anti-inflammatory studies on Curcuma longa (turmeric). Indian J Med Res 1971;59:1289–95.
27. Satoskar RR, Shah SJ, Shenoy SG. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory property of curcumin (diferuloyl methane) in patients with postoperative inflammation. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1986;24:651–4.
28. Holt PR, Katz S, Kirshoff R. Curcumin therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: a pilot study. Dig Dis Sci 2005;50:2191–3.
29. Hanai H, Iida T, Takeuchi K, et al. Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006;4:1502–6.
30. Sreejayan N, Rao MNA. Free radical scavenging activity of curcuminoids. Arzneimittelforschung 1996;46:169–71.
31. Ramirez-Boscá A, Soler A, Gutierrez MAC, et al. Antioxidant curcuma extracts decrease the blood lipid peroxide levels of human subjects. Age 1995;18:167–9.
32. Arora RB, Basu N, Kapoor V, Jain AP. Anti-inflammatory studies on Curcuma longa (turmeric). Ind J Med Res 1971;59:1289–95.
33. Kiso Y, Suzuki Y, Watanbe N, et al. Antihepatotoxic principles of Curcuma longa rhizomes. Planta Med 1983;49:185–7.
34. Srivastava R, Dikshit M, Srimal RC, Dhawan BN. Anti-thrombotic effect of curcumin. Thromb Res 1985;40:413–7.
35. Menon LG, Kuttan R, Kuttan G. Anti-metastatic activity of curcumin and catechin. Cancer Lett 1999;141:159–65.
36. Barthelemy S, Vergnes L, Moynier M, et al. Curcumin and curcumin derivatives inhibit Tat-mediated transactivation of type 1 human immunodeficiency virus long terminal repeat. Res Virol 1998;149:43–52.
37. Deodhar SD, Sethi R, Srimal RC. Preliminary studies on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferuloyl methane). Ind J Med Res 1980;71:632–4.
38. Satoskar RR, Shah SJ, Shenoy SG. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory property of curcumin (diferuloyl methane) in patients with postoperative inflammation.Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1986;24:651–4.
39. Thamlikitkul V, Bunyapraphathara N, Dechatiwongse T, et al. Randomized double-blind study of Curcuma domestica Val for dyspepsia. J Med Assoc Thai 1989;72:613–20.
40. Van Dau N, Ngoc Ham N, Huy Khac D, et al. The effects of traditional drug, turmeric (Curcuma longa), and placebo on the healing of duodenal ulcer. Phytomedicine 1998;5:29–34.
41. Kositchaiwat C, Kositchaiwat S, Havanondha J. Curcuma longa Linn in the treatment of gastric ulcer comparison to liquid antacid: A controlled clinical trial. J Med Assoc Thai 1993;76:601–5.
42. Lal B, Kapoor AK, Asthana OP, et al. Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitis. Phytotherapy Res 1999;13:318–22.
43. Foster S. 101 Medicinal Herbs. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1998, 200–1.
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45. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, et al. American Herbal Products Association Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 39.
Last Review: 02-05-2013
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