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Updated on June 9, 2022
What Is Turmeric? Health Benefits, Recommended Dosage, & Side Effects
Turmeric is an herbaceous plant of the ginger family that dates back nearly 4,000 years to ancient India.
Its bright yellow color, fragrant and delicious flavor, and well-tested therapeutic properties have made it a popular spice in Chinese, African, and Jamaican cooking and medicinal practices for thousands of years (1).
Today, turmeric is most often used for cooking, but as modern medicine has discovered its potent medicinal properties, it’s made a re-entry into the health and wellness scene. Numerous studies over the past few decades have shown multiple medicinal benefits of consuming this spice, and scientists are continually impressed with the potent pharmacological benefits found in turmeric.
In this article, you will learn the four main medicinal benefits of turmeric, the four key things you should look for in a turmeric supplement, and how to know if a turmeric supplement is right for you.
The Medicinal Benefits of Turmeric
1. Antioxidant properties: Turmeric contains high amounts of tannins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, all of which are antioxidants.
These antioxidants help protect your body by neutralizing free radicals—uncharged molecules that can wreak havoc on your body’s cells. Curcumin, another antioxidant found in turmeric, also increases your body’s production of antioxidants, meaning that turmeric is not only itself a powerful force in eliminating existing free radicals, but it also helps to create a defense mechanism against future free radicals (4).
2. Anti-inflammatory properties: One of the best-studied and most well-known properties of turmeric is its effect on inflammation in the body. Research shows these anti-inflammatory properties to be useful in the therapeutic treatment of many inflammatory diseases, including IBS, arthritis, and pancreatitis (5).
3. Anti-microbial properties: In numerous studies, turmeric has exhibited antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects against a variety of microorganisms, including foodborne pathogens and Candida fungi (6, 7).
4. Anti-cancer properties: Turmeric has been used as both a preventative and therapeutic measure for cancer patients. Additionally, both topical and oral application of turmeric have been shown to reduce the amount of cancer cell growth in those diagnosed with specific cancers—including breast, stomach and skin cancers (8).
Because of these medicinal properties, numerous scientific studies have been done on the effects of this ancient, golden spice. To date, turmeric has successfully been used to prevent and treat a variety of ailments, including:
- Asthma and allergies (9, 10)
- IBS and other digestive issues (11, 12)
- Ulcers (13)
- Psoriasis (14)
- Alzheimer’s Disease (15)
- Diabetes (16)
- Acute Coronary Syndrome (17)
- Lupus (18)
- Arthritis (19)
- Depression (20, 21)
- Pain management after surgery (22)
As you can see, turmeric is a potent natural remedy, and the medical community is fascinated with its medicinal benefits. The best way to reap these therapeutic properties is through supplementation.
What to Look for in Medicinal Turmeric
Unfortunately, not all turmeric supplements are created equal and you should carefully scrutinize any turmeric supplement before ingesting it.
Reading the labels and reading online reviews of the product are the best ways to make sure you’re ingesting high-quality turmeric.
Here are four important things to look for when you purchase medicinal turmeric:
1. Good bioavailability: Despite its amazing properties, turmeric does not have high bioavailability, meaning that our bodies struggle to consume enough of it before it’s passed through the digestive system. To increase bioavailability, black pepper or ginger is often added to turmeric supplements to increase the absorption rate. Check labels for notes on the bioavailability of the product.
2. Black Pepper: Does pepper activate turmeric? You bet it does! Black pepper is an essential ingredient to any turmeric supplement as it aids in the absorption and metabolization of curcumin (the main antioxidant in turmeric) in the body. Black pepper has been shown to increase the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%, which is why we’ve included it in our NativePath Daily Turmeric supplement.
3. Curcuminoids: Curcuminoids are the active and most bio-available elements in curcumin, and while turmeric naturally contains these compounds, it’s essential that the company making your turmeric supplements has increased the dosage of curcuminoids so that they can go to work in your body right away. If not, your body won’t be able to absorb the curcumin as adequately, and most of the curcumin will not be used or absorbed.
4. No added fillers: Make sure the supplement doesn’t contain any unnecessary fillers, including dairy, soy, or gluten. You want your turmeric to be as clean as possible.
At NativePath, you can rest assured these are the standards we adhere to in all of our supplements, including our favorite turmeric supplement, NativePath Daily Activated Turmeric.
Our community has seen amazing results with consistent turmeric supplementation, and some customers have even been able to stop their regular ibuprofen usage as a result of the potent anti-inflammatory nature of our product…
“I feel the difference in my joints when I am consistent in taking turmeric. It also helps with inflammation.” —Carol A.
“My sciatica is easing up just in time for vacation.” —Sandra
“Has exactly what I needed and in the correct measurement! Has helped immeasurably with my pain. If I miss a day, my body knows it.” —Tali H.
How Much Turmeric Is Safe to Consume?
Curcuminoids have the GRAS stamp of approval from the FDA, meaning that they are “Generally Recognized As Safe”.
When it comes to how much turmeric you should be taking, it depends on the level of inflammation you’re experiencing…
Based on a variety of turmeric studies, the recommended (and safe) dosage for this golden spice is between 500 and 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day (23). Although studies have also found that dosages between 4,000 and 12,000 mg per day is safe and tolerable, too (2). (Although it’s very rare where one would need that much.)
In one double-blind trial, 40 people with mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis of the knee were randomly assigned to receive either 1,500 mg of curcuminoids with 5 mg of black pepper extract (i.e. piperine) or a placebo for six weeks. As expected, the group supplementing with curcuminoids saw a significant improvement in pain, physical function, and even oxidative stress (24).
To make turmeric supplementation a breeze, I recommend taking one to two capsules of NativePath’s Activated Turmeric. Just one capsule contains 600 mg of organic turmeric powder, 50 mg of turmeric extract powder, and 5 mg of black pepper extract for an added boost in bioavailability.
Wondering How Many Capsules of Activated Tumeric You Should Take?
One capsule of Activated Turmeric is great for general health and maintenance. Whereas two capsules is better for people dealing with acute inflammation or ongoing chronic health challenges.
Using Turmeric in Cooking
If pills or supplements aren’t your thing, you might be wondering how to incorporate turmeric into your diet. One of the easiest ways to consume more turmeric is to incorporate half of a teaspoon into your daily smoothie or stir it into a cup of soup or tea. You can also try making a spice blend that’s easy to reach for and sprinkle on your dishes as you’re cooking.
Here are some recipe ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Golden Milk With a Scoop of Collagen
- Anti-Inflammatory Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
- Savory Chicken-Kale Meatballs
- Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Turmeric
- Curry Coconut Spicy Baked Chicken Wings
Again, supplementation is the best way to receive the full benefits of turmeric, as that’s the most potent way to consume adequate amounts of this incredible spice. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider adding it to your cooking regimen, as it’s as delicious as it is medicinal!
Are There Any Negative Side Effects of Medicinal Turmeric?
With all of these great benefits, you might be wondering—What’s the catch?
While no serious side effects have been documented with the use of medicinal turmeric, it’s always best to discuss any new supplement regimen with your doctor (23).
*Important Note: If you’re in any of the below categories, we recommend talking to your doctor before using turmeric as a long-term supplement. (And if you have a history of gallstones or bile duct obstruction, we suggest you do not take Daily Turmeric at all.)
- Those with blood clotting issues or who are taking blood-thinning medications like warfarin, clopidogrel, or aspirin. If this is you, be sure to let your doctor know that NativePath Daily Turmeric includes piperine (a black pepper extract), as it may affect other drugs you’re taking.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women, while able to consume small amounts of turmeric (such as cooking amounts), should ask their doctor before ingesting large amounts of this spice.
- Diabetics, as turmeric has been shown to lower blood sugar.
- Those who recently underwent surgery, as turmeric might interfere with blood clotting.
- Those taking daily medications.
Other Uses for Turmeric
Of course, there are many other uses for turmeric besides supplementation and in cooking. Here are a few great ideas you can try out:
- Use Turmeric as a Facemask: For years, turmeric has been known as the secret to Eastern skincare and beauty regimens and is often used in face masks. To make a simple turmeric face mask, simply combine one capsule of our NativePath Turmeric with 1 Tablespoon of raw honey and use your fingertips to spread evenly over your skin. Leave on for 10 minutes, then remove with a warm washcloth. Be forewarned that this face mask might stain your skin for a few hours, so it’s best to try this at night or on a weekend. You’ll love how smooth your skin feels after using it!
- Use Turmeric for Treating Skin Rashes: Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is great for soothing small or itchy skin rashes. Try adding a pinch of ground turmeric to a small amount of olive oil and applying it to skin rashes.
- Use Turmeric for a Brighter Smile: That’s right! Turmeric can be used as an alternative to teeth whitening strips to brighten your smile. While you may not notice a difference right away, try adding turmeric to your tooth-brushing regimen a few times a week, as it’s an effective way to slowly remove and prevent stains. Most people see a difference after 2 to 3 weeks of use.
How Do I Know if Turmeric Is Right for Me?
As lifestyle and environmental toxins increase, it’s important to protect the body against free radicals, inflammation, and bacteria.
With all of its health benefits, turmeric is a great natural solution to helping our bodies protect against the effects of age, disease, and the bacteria and toxins that we come in contact with daily. Plus, adding a high-quality turmeric supplement like NativePath Activated Turmeric to your diet is an easy way to decrease the risk of ailments such as Alzheimer's Disease, diabetes, and psoriasis.
The Bottom Line
Turmeric is an ancient golden spice brimming with benefits. From relieving allergies to combating digestive issues to pain management and more, turmeric is a natural remedy worth adding to your wellness routine.
When buying a turmeric supplement, be sure that it has either black pepper extract or ginger so that your body can properly absorb it. In addition to that, it should have a healthy dose of curcuminoids and zero fillers (like gluten, dairy, and soy).
With NativePath Activated Turmeric, you’re getting 600 milligrams of organic turmeric powder, 50 milligrams of turmeric extract powder (containing 95% curcuminoids), and 5 milligrams of black pepper extract—all in just one small capsule.
As a doctor of Physical Therapy, Senior Wellness Expert, and co-founder of NativePath, Dr. Walding has helped millions of people improve their quality of life from the inside out—by speaking, writing, and educating others on how to live life a little more #OnThePath.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.