What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of conditions.  The active part of turmeric is curcumin, which is an antioxidant that appears to have anti-inflammatory properties.  It is used as an anti-inflammatory herbal remedy in lieu or addition to conventional over the counter pain medications.

Where is turmeric found?

It is mainly grown in India and is used as a main ingredient in curry.  It also is used to flavor give the yellow color to butter, cheese, mustard and curry powders.

What are the benefits of turmeric?

Curcumin is a very powerful antioxidant that helps fight free-radicals, and it lowers the level of certain enzymes that cause inflammation.  Therefore, it may improve symptoms of osteoarthritis.  Turmeric has also been shown to be effective for relieving the symptoms of dyspepsia (indigestion).  Some evidence suggests it may improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and aid in prevention and slowing of cancer.  Additionally, it may have antithrombotic effects and stop platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.


Are there interactions with food, herbs or other supplements and turmeric?

Bromelain may enhance curcumin absorption.  Since it has anti-thrombotic/anti-platelet effects, it should be discontinued at least 2 weeks before any type of surgical procedure.  It may also lower blood sugar levels and should be monitored when taking other diabetes medications to prevent hypoglycemia.


Are there side effects of turmeric?

It is mostly well tolerated but may have some gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and diarrhea.




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