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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Turmeric Usage

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Effect of Turmeric on Asthma

Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory in both acute and chronic asthma conditions, and it is believed to work in a variety of biological pathways to reduce inflammation. In some models studied,...

Read more about Asthma and Turmeric.

Effect of Turmeric on Low Back Pain and Sciatica

As noted above, turmeric has been used to treat arthritis (sometimes the cause of low back pain and/or sciatica) in Ayurveda for centuries. Also, through research it has been found that turmeric...

Read more about Low Back Pain and Sciatica and Turmeric.

What Is Turmeric Used for Today?

Turmeric's antioxidant abilities make it a good food preservative, provided that the food is already yellow in color, and it is widely used for this purpose.

Turmeric has been proposed as a treatment for dyspepsia . Dyspepsia is a catchall term that includes a variety of digestive problems, such as stomach discomfort, gas, bloating, belching, appetite loss, and nausea. Although many serious medical conditions can cause digestive distress, the term dyspepsia is most often used when no identifiable medical cause can be detected.

In Europe, dyspepsia is commonly attributed to inadequate bile flow from the gallbladder. While this has not been proven, turmeric does appear to stimulate the gallbladder. 1 More importantly, one double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggests that turmeric does reduce dyspepsia symptoms. 2 Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggests that, when taken along with standard medications, curcumin can help maintain remission in people with ulcerative colitis . 3 Other proposed uses of turmeric or curcumin have little supporting evidence. Based on test tube and animal studies , and on human trials too preliminary to provide any meaningful evidence, 4 curcumin and turmeric are frequently described as anti-inflammatory drugs and recommended for the treatment of such conditions as osteoarthritis and menstrual pain . Some advocates go so far as to state that curcumin is superior to standard medications in the ibuprofen family, because, at standard doses, it does not appear to harm the stomach. 5 However, until turmeric is actually proven to meaningfully reduce pain and inflammation, such a comparison is rather premature. Not only that, high doses of curcumin might in fact increase the risk of ulcers . 6 Contrary to some reports, turmeric does not appear to be effective for treatingulcers. 7 Animal and test tube studies suggest (but definitely do not prove) that turmeric might help prevent cancer . 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Weak evidence hints that curcumin might help prevent the heart and kidney injury potentially caused by the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin . 15 Some researchers have reported evidence that curcumin or turmeric might generally help protect the liver from damage. 16 17 18 However, other researchers have failed to find any liver protective effects, and there are even some indications that turmeric extracts can damage the liver when taken in high doses or for an extended period. 19 On the basis of even weaker evidence, curcumin or turmeric have also been recommended for preventing Alzheimer's disease , cataracts , chronic anterior uveitis (an inflammation of the iris of the eye), fungal infections, multiple sclerosis , and treating high cholesterol . 20 One preliminary study failed to find curcumin helpful for lichen planus, a disease of the skin and mucous membranes. 21 A 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 36 seniors failed to find that consumption of curcumin (at a dose of up to 4 g daily) led to improvements in cholesterol profile . 22


  1. Rasyid A, Lelo A. The effect of curcumin and placebo on human gall-bladder function: an ultrasound study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 13(2):245-9.
  2. Thamlikitkul V, Bunyapraphatsara N, Dechatiwongse T, et al. Randomized double blind study of Curcuma domestica Val. for dyspepsia. J Med Assoc Thai. 1989;72:613-620.
  3. Hanai H, Iida T, Takeuchi K, Watanabe F, Maruyama Y, Andoh A, Tsujikawa T, Fujiyama Y, Mitsuyama K, Sata M, Yamada M, Iwaoka Y, Kanke K, Hiraishi H, Hirayama K, Arai H, Yoshii S, Uchijima M, Nagata T, Koide Y. Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 4(12):1502-6.
  4. Deodhar SD, Sethi R, Srimal RC. Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferuloyl methane). Indian J Med Res. 71():632-4.
  5. Srimal RC, Dhawan BN. Pharmacology of diferuloyl methane (curcumin), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. J Pharm Pharmacol. 25(6):447-52.
  6. Gupta B, Kulshrestha VK, Srivastava RK, Prasad DN. Mechanisms of curcumin induced gastric ulcer in rats. Indian J Med Res. 71():806-14.
  7. Van Dau N, Ngoc Ham N, Huy Khac D, et al. The effects of a traditional drug, turmeric (Curcuma longa), and placebo on the healing of duodenal ulcer. Phytomedicine. 1998;5:29-34.
  8. Afaq F, Adhami VM, Ahmad N, Mukhtar H. Botanical antioxidants for chemoprevention of photocarcinogenesis. Front Biosci. 7():d784-92.
  9. Arbiser JL, Klauber N, Rohan R, van Leeuwen R, Huang MT, Fisher C, Flynn E, Byers HR. Curcumin is an in vivo inhibitor of angiogenesis. Mol Med. 4(6):376-83.
  10. Cheng AL, Hsu CH, Lin JK, et al. Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemopreventive agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anticancer Res. 2001;21:2895-2900.
  11. Deshpande SS, Ingle AD, Maru GB. Chemopreventive efficacy of curcumin-free aqueous turmeric extract in 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced rat mammary tumorigenesis. Cancer Lett. 123(1):35-40.
  12. Dorai T, Gehani N, Katz A. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. II. Curcumin inhibits tyrosine kinase activity of epidermal growth factor receptor and depletes the protein. Mol Urol. 4(1):1-6.
  13. Ireson CR, Jones DJ, Orr S, Coughtrie MW, Boocock DJ, Williams ML, Farmer PB, Steward WP, Gescher AJ. Metabolism of the cancer chemopreventive agent curcumin in human and rat intestine. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 11(1):105-11.
  14. Krishnaswamy K, Goud VK, Sesikeran B, Mukundan MA, Krishna TP. Retardation of experimental tumorigenesis and reduction in DNA adducts by turmeric and curcumin. Nutr Cancer. 30(2):163-6.
  15. Venkatesan N. Curcumin attenuation of acute adriamycin myocardial toxicity in rats. Br J Pharmacol. 124(3):425-7.
  16. Chuang SE, Cheng AL, Lin JK, Kuo ML. Inhibition by curcumin of diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatic hyperplasia, inflammation, cellular gene products and cell-cycle-related proteins in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 38(11):991-5.
  17. Deshpande UR, Gadre SG, Raste AS, Pillai D, Bhide SV, Samuel AM. Protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 36(6):573-7.
  18. Song EK, Cho H, Kim JS, Kim NY, An NH, Kim JA, Lee SH, Kim YC. Diarylheptanoids with free radical scavenging and hepatoprotective activity in vitro from Curcuma longa. Planta Med. 67(9):876-7.
  19. Deshpande SS, Lalitha VS, Ingle AD, Raste AS, Gadre SG, Maru GB. Subchronic oral toxicity of turmeric and ethanolic turmeric extract in female mice and rats. Toxicol Lett. 95(3):183-93.
  20. Lal B, Kapoor AK, Asthana OP, Agrawal PK, Prasad R, Kumar P, Srimal RC. Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitis. Phytother Res. 13(4):318-22.
  21. Chainani-Wu N, Silverman S Jr, Reingold A, Bostrom A, Mc Culloch C, Lozada-Nur F, Weintraub J. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of curcuminoids in oral lichen planus. Phytomedicine. 14(7-8):437-46.
  22. Baum L, Cheung SK, Mok VC, Lam LC, Leung VP, Hui E, Ng CC, Chow M, Ho PC, Lam S, Woo J, Chiu HF, Goggins W, Zee B, Wong A, Mok H, Cheng WK, Fong C, Lee JS, Chan MH, Szeto SS, Lui VW, Tsoh J, Kwok TC, Chan IH, Lam CW. Curcumin effects on blood lipid profile in a 6-month human study. Pharmacol Res. 56(6):509-14.


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