The brightly colored Turmeric root–popular in most curry dishes–is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs in the world.
The use of this herb has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries to support the digestion, joint health, the immune system and anything inflammation-related.
But will sprinkling a little powder on your dishes really help you?
Most likely not.
Turmeric Benefits & Research
Currently there are over 12,500 peer-reviewed articles published about turmeric benefits, specifically its main therapeutic compound curcumin — a powerful anti-inflammatory. In addition, the journal Oncogene published a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.
How does this work?
Curcumin battles inflammation and other disorders at the molecular level; there is a certain molecule (NF- κ B) that passes into a cell’s nuclei, where it can “switch on” the genes related to inflammation in a number of serious diseases, but studies have found that curcumin is able to prevent the transfer of that molecule.
Why is controlling inflammation so important
Besides helping with joint pain, injuries, and diseases like arthritis, scientists believe that inflammation is involved in nearly every chronic disease — including cancer. Lab studies have shown that curcumin not only has the power to kill the cancer cells, but prevent them from spreading.
There are also studies showing that when ingested regularly, turmeric/curcumin may also be beneficial for:
- Slowing or preventing blood clots
- Lowering cholesterol
- Improving liver function & detoxification
- Brain health, including reducing depression symptoms
- Treating inflammatory bowel diseases
- Joint pain relief
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Reduced joint swelling
- Greater range of motion
- Lowered risk of diabetes
How to take Turmeric:
Ready to hop on the turmeric bandwagon?
There’s one important factor: natural curcumin has very poor bioavailability – which means that you could use turmeric all day and not absorb any of it or get any of the benefits.
Here’s where black pepper comes in.
Adding black pepper to turmeric increases the bioavailability of the curcumin by 2,000%! Bottom line – for therapeutic benefits, don’t take turmeric without black pepper.
Studies and ancient Ayurvedic traditions also recommend taking turmeric with a fat (like coconut oil) to increase absorption.
It should also be noted that turmeric powder only contains about 3% curcumin, so if you’re looking for maximum benefits, you may want to opt for a supplement or essential oil.
But what makes a good turmeric supplement?
Besides containing black pepper (or its main compound – piperine), there are few more things to look for:
- Does not use unnecessary fillers and other additives
- Comes from a trustworthy manufacturer — research for company reviews, processes and policies or talk to a certified nutritionist, herbalist or healthcare practitioner for recommendations.
- Is derived from turmeric containing at least 95% curcuminoids–this characteristic ensures that you’re getting the optimal amount of curcumin in your system.
- Is organic/non-gmo
For therapeutic purposes, dosage is usually 400 to 600 mg of turmeric extract 3x/day or as directed on the product label or by a health professional. The dried spice is not effective for treating specific conditions but is good for general health.
Turmeric Essential Oil
If taking the essential oil, you’ll want to make sure that it’s an oil that is meant for consumption (not all are) and you’ll want to take a very small amount, usually no more than a drop a day; essential oils are extremely concentrated. It may be a good idea to consult a licensed aromatherapist or practitioner when ingesting essential oils.
An ancient Ayurvedic elixir, golden milk may not be as strong as turmeric in supplement form, but it is a soothing and delicious way to incorporate a bit more than you would in a standard cuisine. Learn more about Golden Milk and get a recipe here.
Drug Interactions & Side Effects of Turmeric
As with taking any new supplement, you should consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner for possible drug interactions. Some side effects (usually from abnormally high doses over 1,000 mg) include:
- Blood thinning – most doctors do not recommend taking turmeric with other blood thinners.
- Headache and nausea
- Digestive problems
- Rash – this is extremely rare and usually only over 8,000 mg.
- Lead exposure — certain brands of turmeric powders may be high in lead, a heavy metal that can have adverse effects to your nervous system.
- Uterine contractions
Turmeric + CBD
As CBD also has numerous studies showing the powerful effect on inflammation and diseases like cancer, combining it with turmeric provides a synergistic and powerful formula. To ensure maximum quality and effectiveness, our Inflammation Support CBD formula uses organic essential oils of turmeric, black pepper and ginger along with 600 mg of CBD oil, available in THC-free or Full Plant formulas. Find out how the power of Turmeric + CBD can work for you.