Turmeric is also called yellow ginger, Curcuma longa, turmeric, E100
(this is how its main polyphenols are denoted on product labels –
curcuminoids). Almost everyone has heard of the wonderful health benefits of turmeric,
but lately skeptical
voices questioning its benefits. What really is this
a fragrant bitter Indian spice? Let’s figure it out in this article.
The beneficial properties of turmeric
Composition and calorie content
Ground turmeric contains (in 100 g): .
Calories 312 Kcal
RR 1,35 Potassium, K 2080 Vitamin
C 0,7 Phosphorus,
P 299 Vitamin
B2 0,15 Magnesium, Mg 208 Vitamin
B6 0,107 Calcium, Ca 168 Vitamin
B1 0,058 Iron,
100 grams of the product contains approximately 80% of the daily requirement.
potassium, 50% of the daily need for magnesium, 30% – phosphorus, about 17%
calcium, a lot of iron.
However, given the fact that no one uses such volumes of turmeric
and even for medicinal folk remedies, no more than 3-5 grams are taken
turmeric per day, restore mineral deficiencies with turmeric
does not work. And most of the medicinal properties of turmeric are associated with
not with a vitamin and mineral complex, but with curcumin (diferuloylmethane)
– natural polyphenol contained in the plant rhizome.
Curcumin is a crystalline compound of bright
orange-yellow color, which is often used
as a food coloring. Let’s dissolve curcumin in alkalis and
in very acidic solvents.
Besides curcumin, Curcuma longa has other ingredients included
group of curcuminoids: demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin.
Although curcumin is still the most abundant of this group
(75-77% of total weight), some researchers believe that
potential therapeutic effect due to synergistic action
all curcuminoids. The total mass of all substances in this group is
about 5% by weight of the original product.
Sesquiterpenes are found among other components of turmeric.
(as part of essential oil) ..9 kinds of terpecurcumin ., more
a dozen glycosides. .
The last half century in laboratories around the world (mainly
on cellular material and on experimental animals) studies were carried out
those medicinal properties of turmeric that people have for centuries
used in folk medicine. This is how therapeutic
the effects of turmeric on diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, disease
Alzheimer’s, some forms of cancer.
However, this therapeutic potential, identified in laboratory
conditions, it is not always possible to use it in the treatment of patients.
The reason is the low bioavailability of curcumin (the main
component of the spice) and in a weakly expressed healing effect of low
doses. Moreover, in some experiments it was revealed
potentially hazardous or harmful properties.
Today’s views on potential medicinal properties
turmeric is represented by two practically opposed points
- 1 According to the first, turmeric is a promising product for obtaining
drugs for cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative
disorders, liver diseases, some types of cancer.
- 2 According to the second, the medicinal properties of turmeric and its specific
the polyphenol curcumin is highly overrated. So if u can
talk about some therapeutic effect, then very insignificant.
To understand the health benefits of turmeric, consider
both points of view are more detailed.
Optimistic version: turmeric is a promising base for drugs
Numerous pharmacological properties have been attributed to curcumin:
antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory. It is believed
that this compound is able to interact with a variety of
molecular targets involved in inflammation. Clinical
Trials Show Curcumin May Have Potential As
therapeutic agent for diseases such as inflammatory
bowel disease, pancreatitis,
arthritis and chronic anterior uveitis
(inflammation of the choroid), as well as some
types of cancer.
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory activity of compounds
group of curcuminoids has been confirmed experimentally. Exist
scientific papers showing the potential ability of curcumin
activate the protective function of macrophages that destroy
foreign microorganisms and toxic particles. Thanks to these
properties, turmeric can be used, for example, as
adjunctive therapy for ulcerative colitis,
which is characterized by dysfunction of the immune system.
In a laboratory study by the University of California research team
it has been shown that one of the curcumins (bisdemethoxycurcumin) can
manifest itself as an immunomodulator that stimulates monocytic
phagocytosis of beta-amyloid, the accumulation of which is believed to be the cause
Alzheimer’s disease. .
There is also speculation that curcumin increases hormone levels,
which, in turn, provokes the creation of new nerve cells,
and this creates the preconditions for the fight against degenerative processes
in the brain.
But the therapeutic effect of curcumin is not limited to this,
and in the future it can be used to treat a number of other
diseases of various organs:
- Heart and blood vessels. With a beneficial effect
curcumin on the function of cells of the inner surface of blood
vessels (endothelium) are associated with several therapeutic
effects, including pressure reduction, normalization of clotting
blood (destruction of the endothelium leads to a deterioration in clotting
blood) and lowering cholesterol levels in patients with diabetes
2nd type. Specifically, the standardized curcuminoid formulation
(NCB-02) in restoring endothelial function has shown itself as follows
as good as atorvastatin (a statin drug
3rd generation). .
In one clinical trial, the use of curcumin at a dose of 4 g /
day, led to a significant decrease in the risk of myocardial infarction
after coronary artery bypass grafting. .
- Antineoplastic effect. On a rodent model
curcumin prevents colon cancer. This happens for
by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and expression
and also due to the activation of a certain kind of enzymes. .
But, in addition to this, a number of studies also describe the effect of
curcumin to various genes and proteins, which prevents the development of
tumors in the 2nd and 3rd stages (stimulation and progression)
- Liver. Curcumin enhances the activity of many antioxidant
enzymes, which by reducing lipid peroxidation,
ultimately may reduce liver damage. .
But it is also able to increase the activity of detoxifying
enzymes in the liver, protecting the organ from carcinogenesis. .
- Joints. Curcumin Supplements Today
tested as a pain reliever
joints. In a randomized pilot study to evaluate
efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active
rheumatoid arthritis, it turned out that in the curcumin group there was
the highest percentage improvement in overall activity indicators,
as well as soreness and swelling of the joints. Moreover, these indicators
were significantly better than in patients treated with diclofenac
sodium, and curcumin treatment itself has been found to be safe and
did not have any side effects. .
- Respiratory system. First evidentiary
the suggestion that curcumin works against lung injury,
appeared back in 1996. .
Since then, several studies conducted on animals at once,
demonstrated that curcumin acts against pulmonary
fibrosis, mainly by decreasing inflammatory mediators.
. Several studies
on cellular material and on experimental mice, it was confirmed that
curcumin also has potent anti-asthma activity. .
The ability of curcumin to reduce synthesis and improve oxide excretion
nitrogen can prevent bronchial inflammation in asthma patients.
Skeptical version: is turmeric useless?
In 2017, the work was published ., in which the authors, having studied
existing clinical studies have questioned practically
all of the above medicinal effects of turmeric. According to scientists,
activity detected “in vitro” and in animal experiments
curcumin has led to over 120 clinical trials of curcuminoids.
But not a single double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial
curcumin has not been fully successful. The authors explain this
the fact that this compound manifests itself as unstable, reactive,
This is not to say that the researchers did not receive any positive
results. For example, in 2019, in an experiment evaluating
the effect of curcumin on blood pressure, more than
700 people. The results showed that with long-term use
(at least 12 weeks) there was a slight decrease in the “upper”
(systolic) pressure. But in general, the limitation of the therapeutic
curcumin’s usefulness really turned out to be a problem and prompted
researchers begin their search for effective combinations of curcumin with
other substances to increase systemic bioavailability.
This is how a rather widespread study became known, in which
the bioavailability of the piperine alkaloid combination (present
in different types of pepper) and curcumin. . Experiments were carried out
both with animals and with the participation of healthy human volunteers.
- In rats, administration of curcumin at a dose of 2 g / kg resulted in moderate
serum concentration within 4 hours. Simultaneous
the introduction of piperine at a dose of 20 mg / kg increased the concentration of curcumin
in serum for a short period (1-2 hours after taking the drug),
and the bioavailability of the compound increased by 154%.
- In humans, after receiving curcumin at a dose of 2 g / kg, its level is
in serum was either undetectable or very low. And here
after the addition of piperine, the bioavailability of the compound increased
by 2 thousand percent.
Such a manifold increase in bioavailability with the popularization
formed the opinion that it is enough to eat turmeric and pepper to
get the expected therapeutic effect.
However, in this study, to increase bioavailability
used the alkaloid piperine, rather than plant
Components. The alkoloid itself is indeed found in many
varieties of pepper crops. But in a long pepper, its content is not
exceeds 2%, and in white and black peppers – 9%.
Therefore, at least mixing turmeric with black pepper is probably really
increases the bioavailability of curcumin, with such a “home” combination
in food, talk about an increase in bioavailability by thousands of percent
not entirely correct. Accordingly, one should expect a pronounced therapeutic
the effect of adding spice to food is also not necessary, despite
to the full healing potential of curcumin.
Given the emerging contradictions, the future of turmeric in the official
medicine remains uncertain. While some practitioners
Doctors already today declare turmeric as a therapeutically significant part
In particular, oncologist Ivan Karasev on his Instagram page
not just praised the organic spice for its anti-inflammatory
properties, the ability to stimulate the death of cancer cells and enhance
the effectiveness of chemotherapy, but also described in detail how to drink turmeric,
to get maximum protection against cancer.
According to the doctor, the optimal daily dose of turmeric is 5 grams.
(about 1 tsp.). But for better assimilation it is better to mix it
butter and black pepper. And for the preparation of 250 ml of useful
and an invigorating drink, in addition to warm water, you need to mix
turmeric (1 tsp) in a blender, chopped ginger root
(about 1 cm long), half a lemon,
honey (1 tsp) and black pepper (on the tip of a knife). If the taste shows
too sour, spicy, bitter, etc., then the proportion of the ingredients
can be slightly changed to suit your taste.
Since the information from the post was reprinted by major media with a multi-million dollar
audience, this point of view in the mass consciousness acquired the status
“Doctors’ recommendations” and is often broadcast as in fact
proven. Although in evidence-based medicine, the effectiveness of the spice
(and not active components isolated from it) still remains
In folk medicine
Golden turmeric has been used in folk medicine for centuries to
improving the functioning of the digestive system. This application is based on
on the potential capabilities of biologically active components
turmeric to activate the secretion of the glands of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as bile formation,
which ultimately improves metabolism and digestion.
In home treatment, turmeric is used for chronic cholecystitis,
since, in addition to the ability to activate education and excretion
bile, the spice is capable of exhibiting anti-inflammatory effects.
In high doses, turmeric acts as a laxative and diuretic
Antioxidant potential allows turmeric to be used in folk
medicine for the treatment of the liver. It is believed that contained in rhizomes
substances protect this organ from the effects of long-term use
drugs, the effects of fatty foods and alcohol. Combined with turmeric
all of these foods do less harm. Therefore, the presence of dishes
with spice during feasts in folk medicine is welcome.
But other pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, caused by a decrease in liver function,
become the basis for the inclusion of turmeric in the diet.
Old recipes included a recommendation to eat 3,5 grams
plant root to eliminate “liver blockage”. But the same dose
combined with anise
(3,5 g), mixed with white wine, could, according to ancient healers,
improve vision. For the same purpose, the eyes were sprinkled with rubbed
turmeric powder and buried the condensed sap of the plant in them.
They increase the amount of turmeric in food and for the prevention of atherosclerosis.
Regular addition of seasoning in this case should reduce
cholesterol content, inhibit the formation of deposits in blood vessels
and generally improve well-being.
Topically, turmeric is used as a pain reliever. For example,
to get rid of a toothache, the root is fried and chewed,
while it is still hot. And the warm grated spice is applied
on wounds and ulcers, not only to eliminate pain, but also
to stop bleeding and faster healing.
Turmeric is considered an effective antibiotic in traditional medicine.
Mixed in a ratio of 1 tbsp. l. powder per 100 g of honey, turmeric
helps to heal wounds and recover faster from dislocations.
However, the same mixture for 1 tsp. per hour can be taken for colds
To enhance the healing properties of turmeric during the preparatory period
the washed root of the plant is boiled or scalded. It is believed
that after such extreme exposure curcumin begins
evenly distributed over the entire root, penetrating into all layers.
Also, raw materials can be dried in the sun. After a week of drying
the root is significantly reduced in size, but the concentration of curcumin
it will be higher.
In oriental medicine
Turmeric has traditionally been used in Asian countries as
a therapeutic agent to eliminate a number of pathologies due to its antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti-microbial and anti-cancer
properties. The spice has a reputation as a reliable healing, laxative,
anthelmintic, tonic. Rhizome as important
ingredient is part of such herbal preparations as
Jātyādi tailam, Nalpāmarādi tailam, Nārāyaṇa guḷa.
In the Indian medical system Ayurveda, turmeric is used very
widely, prescribing as simple to restore the strength of the weakened
patients, and for the treatment of such serious diseases as sugar
diabetes and anemia,
although a complete list of diseases and pathologies for which it is applied
spice, much more. It includes smallpox, anemia, anorexia,
gonorrhea, liver damage, various diseases of the organs of vision,
dizziness, skin diseases, edema,
all types of ulcers and wounds, boils,
sprains, hysterical states. According to Ayurveda, it helps
turmeric for scorpion and leech bites, as well as for scabies,
For preventive purposes, women in India are still lubricated
your body with turmeric paste, considering it an effective antiseptic.
In traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric is in demand as a pain reliever
and anti-inflammatory agent. In particular, it is used for
elimination of hemorrhoids
pain. Turmeric is also used with benefits for women. It is added
in food for prolonged menstrual irregularities.
The plant root extract is a part of the ancient medicinal
herbal drug Jiawei-Xiaoyaosan, which
used for dyspepsia, stress and mental disorders.
In scientific research
Bioavailability of curcumin is a cornerstone of controversy
between supporters of turmeric as a medicine and skeptics.
The latter believe that curcumin is extremely difficult to use in medicine.
due to its low bioavailability. Therefore, here we will review
studies that raise this very question.
The first study of the bioavailability of a substance took place
back in 1978. . Then, in experiments on rats, scientists introduced
animals curcumin at a dose of 1 g / kg, fixing according to the results of the experiment
low plasma curcumin levels.
More recent studies have shown that when administered orally
curcumin at a dose of 2000 mg / kg maximum serum concentration
experimental animals was 1,35 ± 0,23 μg / ml. But also with oral
introduction, as shown by Chinese scientists ., bioavailability of curcumin
is about 1% and therefore very high doses of curcumin are needed
(3600 to 12000 milligrams) to achieve any beneficial
In clinical studies, curcumin metabolites have been found
in plasma when patients took at least 3600 mg of curcumin
(more precisely, curcumin glucuronide and its sulfate forms). .
However, along with increasing the dose and, in some experiments
scientists managed to enhance the therapeutic effect by combining curcumin
with other substances and / or food products that increase
So it was found that if curcumin was administered to rats together
with piperine (which induces glucuronyl transferase enzymes),
the bioavailability of the substance increases by 154%.
When curcumin was administered to animals at a dose of 2 g / kg, moderate concentrations
serum levels were achieved within 4 hours. Simultaneous
the introduction of piperine at a dose of 20 mg / kg increased the concentration of curcumin
in serum for a short period (1-2 hours) after taking the drug.
In people participating in the experiment, after a dose of 2 g of curcumin
serum levels were either undetectable or very low.
But the simultaneous administration of piperine at a dose of 20 mg caused much
higher concentrations from 0,25 to 1 hour after taking the medication,
and the increase in bioavailability was 2000%. Research has shown
that in the dosages used, piperine increases the concentration
in serum, the degree of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin
in both rats and humans without side effects. .
In subsequent studies, it was found that the excretion of metabolites
curcumin depends not only on the combination of substances, but also on
the carrier used and the forms of administration. . When taken orally
75% of curcumin metabolites are found only in feces, but not
in the urine. With intraperitoneal administration – 73% of these metabolites are found
in feces and about 11% in urine. And given intravenously to mice, curcumin
in one form, accumulates in the liver, spleen, lungs and head
Encapsulation in liposomes, polymeric
nanoparticles, cyclodextrin encapsulation, lipid complexes or
synthesis of the polymer-curcumin complex. They all helped increase activity.
and the bioavailability of this compound in animal experiments.
For losing weight
Turmeric for weight loss is widely used, but not always justified.
The smell of spice and even its color increases the attractiveness of the dish.
and induce appetite. Actually, this is the main task
both this and any other spice. Therefore, food with turmeric for
lunch you can eat much more, and this does not contribute to weight loss.
On the other hand, however, adding turmeric to the diet can improve
digestion and metabolism, which will allow the body to use
eaten with greater benefit and efficiency.
At the same time, for a noticeable effect, large
dosages that can provoke a laxative effect. But
in recipes published on the Internet, in most cases, as
times large dosages are indicated.
For example, a popular slimming recipe in which 2 teaspoons
tablespoons of turmeric (which is about 10 grams of spice) are recommended to pour
a glass of hot milk
and, after the drink has cooled to a warm state, add to it
a spoonful of honey.
Since there is no objective experimental data on the results
the effect of such a turmeric drink on body weight and waist size,
you have to focus on the subjective impressions of people,
experienced it for themselves. And these impressions are very contradictory.
Therefore, we point out that even Indian naturopathic healers
(usually using turmeric fairly freely and extensively)
it is recommended to exceed a single dosage for any spice intake
in 7 grams.
In cooking, turmeric is considered as an auxiliary ingredient,
improves the taste, smell and appearance of the dish. Beautiful and varied
yellow-orange shades of seasoning make puddings more appetizing,
omelets, pasta and rice dishes, lamb, beef,
chicken, fish, as well as broths and soups. Moreover, to add flavor
and the color of this spice is not needed at all: a quarter of a teaspoon
for a 4-course serving. For example, when cooking pilaf, you will need
about a quarter teaspoon per kilogram of rice.
In the food industry, orange turmeric is used to color cheeses,
margarine. The technological process simplifies the fact that this spice
relatively easily soluble in fats. By the way, the fact that
water almost does not interact with turmeric, it helps to distinguish more
expensive ground saffron stigmas from a relatively inexpensive powder
turmeric: when dipping saffron powder in water, it is unlike
turmeric, tint it.
Without this experiment, it is more difficult to distinguish one ingredient from another.
since color saturation can also be achieved by adding
into powder of ground red pepper.
However, even without mixing turmeric, it can acquire an intense
color. For this, the rhizomes are dug out, washed, and in a purified form
dipped in boiling water for a short time, and only then dried
and polish. After this treatment, the roots become brighter, harder.
and shine in places of breakage.
The further culinary fate of rhizomes largely depends on the species
- Long turmeric (C. Longa) used in
the form of a powder for spices, including mixed with other spices.
For example, in the famous curry mixture, the proportion of turmeric can
- Aromatic turmeric (C. aromatica) more in demand
in confectionery shops.
- Turmeric zedoaria (C. zedoaria) applies
in the production of alcoholic beverages (liqueurs) and, as a rule,
not ground into powder, but cut into small pieces.
Turmeric is included in many Asian recipes, but one of the
the most beautiful, simple and healthy recipe for “golden
Turmeric milk is a medicinal drink that is nonetheless
can be drunk almost on a regular basis. To prepare it you will need
low-fat milk (200 ml), water (50 ml), 1 teaspoon each of turmeric,
honey and coconut (or flaxseed) oil.
- 1 Turmeric powder is boiled in boiling water for
5 minutes (from the moment of boiling).
- 2 Milk and butter are poured into the mixture, after which all this
heats up to 50-60 ° C.
- 3 After cooling to a warm state, it dissolves in the drink
The cosmetic benefit of turmeric for the face is that curcumin improves
blood circulation, activates the process of renewal and regeneration
skin, prevents the appearance of acne,
heals traces of acne and small wounds, activates synthesis
collagen, brightens the skin.
This ingredient (often referred to as Turmeric on stickers)
widely used by manufacturers of skin care cosmetics. As
examples can be called:
- Kiehl’s Energizing Radiance mask that tightens pores
and renews the stratum corneum,
- fortified mask Hello Fab First Aid Beauty in the form of jelly,
which cools and soothes the skin, evens out wrinkles,
- alpha hydroxy acid mask Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating
Mask by Kora Organics that evens out tissue texture and removes
In home cosmetology, in the manufacture of masks to relieve
applying spice powder and to enhance the effect, turmeric is usually
mixed with honey, milk, egg
yolk and other ingredients.
Sometimes women tend to use turmeric to address some
problems in which the spice is unlikely to be able to help. For example, on
forums sometimes you can read that turmeric eliminates cellulite
and increases the size of the breast, which is not true.
However, some of the specific problems of turmeric do
able to solve. Thus, a randomized double-blind study
has shown that turmeric essential oil slows down hair growth and can
lighten the skin in the armpits. .
In this experiment, for several weeks, women were applied to the skin
in the area of the armpit, 1% was applied in the composition of the lotion and
5% turmeric essential oil. From 5-11 weeks of testing, oil
slowed hair growth by an average of 13% when using .%
lotion and, on average, 16% when using .%
lotion. At the same time, both concentrations of oil are equally effective
brightened the skin for 3 weeks and the lightening effect was maintained
2 more weeks after cessation of skin exposure.
We have collected the most important points about the benefits and possible dangers of turmeric
in this illustration and we will be very grateful if you share
a picture on social networks, with a link to our page:
Turmeric is marketed in two forms: as a whole root
and powder form. Therefore, below we will formulate the selection rules for
both forms of spice.
The main rule for choosing ground spices is sealed packaging.
In the markets, turmeric is sold from open containers that do not isolate
it from the action of the environment (light, oxygen, etc.), therefore
such a spice loses its taste, smell, and useful properties. But
and when buying in stores, you should pay attention to the expiration date
and refuse expired goods. Even in an airtight bag
the powder should remain crumbly and not roll into lumps.
Overall, turmeric retains its beneficial properties better than ground turmeric.
The root can have different shades depending on the growing conditions
(growth) and varieties, therefore, when choosing a bright color, usually
do not orient themselves and pay more attention to the density of the pulp.
The root should be elastic and “sonorous” when breaking.
In addition to its density, the freshness of turmeric can be determined by its smell. If a
break the root or pick it off a little, then fresh turmeric
the smell will appear pronounced and bright.
To preserve the aroma, prevent moisture accumulation and formation
lumps, as well as prevent the destructive effects of ultraviolet radiation,
it is better to store turmeric in a hermetically sealed opaque glass
jar or in a dry, dark place at room temperature.
Already in the Middle Ages in Europe, turmeric was widely used as
dye in the manufacture of leather, woven, wood and metal
products. But her European history began with a substitution that was
fixed in the name of the spice. Medieval Arab merchants bringing
from India a variety of spices, often replaced by cheaper
turmeric expensive saffron. And for reliability they called yellow powder
Indian saffron. As a result, turmeric also stuck with Arabic
Latinized name of saffron.
At first, turmeric was not very popular among the nobility. In the greater
degree, it was in demand among the middle strata of society, who
with its help, they tried to imitate dishes prepared using
expensive saffron. But by about the XVI-XVII centuries, turmeric was “tasted”
and began to be introduced into recipes as a spice with an independent set of advantages.
The appearance of another name for
spice, which comes from the Latin phrase “terra merita”
– turmeric. This phrase is translated as “dignity of the earth”, which says
about the gradually formed consumer respect for turmeric.
Today, over 40 species of this plant are known, but the economic
only three of them matter. But as for the medicinal properties
turmeric, only future clinical trials will give a full idea
about the therapeutic potential of the spice and will form a deeper
understanding the mechanisms of the impact of its components on the body.