Turmeric: The Golden Spice

Turmeric, the golden spice or the miracle drug, is arguably the most powerful spice with health benefits for everyone. Discover its amazing properties, here.

Turmeric has long been recognized for its therapeutic properties; it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine for centuries. It has recently received interest from both the medical and scientific world and from culinary enthusiasts.

Turmeric vs curcumin

It is imperative to distinguish between whole food turmeric and curcumin. Curcumin is the bioactive chemical within turmeric that contributes to all its beneficial effects. Whole food turmeric has small amounts of curcumin. Thus, it is important to check the percentage of curcumin in the turmeric preparation you decide to use.

Natural anti-inflammatory effects

Curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at a molecular level, targeting multiple steps in the inflammation pathway. There have been several studies in which its potency has been compared favourably to anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs, but without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Antioxidant properties

Oxidative damage is one of the contributing factors behind ageing and a range of diseases. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body due to its chemical structure. Curcumin also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Health benefits of curcumin

  • Arthritis: Studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is, in some cases, more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms: There have been numerous studies with positive findings to show that curcumin can alleviate some symptoms of IBS.
  • Exercise-induced inflammation: Curcumin helps in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and performance in active people.
  • Heart disease: Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease, perhaps the key benefits of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Studies have shown curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease. But further studies are needed.
  • Cancer: Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Multiple studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumours in test animals. Whether high-dose curcumin can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be tested properly. Maybe curcumin will be used along with conventional cancer treatment one day. It’s too early to say for sure, but it looks promising and this is being intensively studied as we speak.

In addition, a relatively low dose of the curcumin can provide health benefits for people that do not have diagnosed health conditions. Most of these benefits can be attributed to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Curcumin with or without bioperine?

Ingesting curcumin on its own does not lead to  health benefits, due to its poor bioavailability, which appears to be primarily due to poor absorption, rapid metabolism, and rapid elimination.

Bioperine is the major active component of black pepper and, when combined in a complex with curcumin, it has been shown to increase bioavailability by 2,000 percent.

Curcumin is considered safe to consume for most people in doses ranging from 500 milligrams to 12,000 milligrams per day.

What are the possible adverse effects of curcumin?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Nausea: The same agents in turmeric that support digestive health can cause irritation when taken in large amounts.
  • Blood thinning effects: People who take blood-thinning drugs like warfarin or rivobaxban should avoid large doses of turmeric.

Is it safe in pregnancy?             

It is currently unclear whether curcumin supplements are safe for pregnant women. But, because of its blood-thinning effects alone, pregnant women should avoid taking turmeric supplements. Adding small amounts of turmeric as a spice to food shouldn’t be a problem.


People with diabetes should also avoid consuming turmeric, as it can lower blood glucose levels. It may also interact with some medication, such as blood thinners or diabetes drugs.

Tahir Mahmood

Nutritional health & wellbeing Pharmacist

At ISOVitality NutriCeuticals

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get
• FREE Competitions
• FREE Digital Magazines
• HOME and FAMILY News
And much more…

You have Successfully Subscribed!