Turmeric is a ‘miracle herb’. You have heard this one quite a number of times. But what makes this herb so miraculous.
Bioactive ingredients found in this herb are pleiotropic in nature- the same molecule can bind to a variety of enzymes and other molecular targets in the body.
Well, we have put together an exhaustive list of 100 health benefits of turmeric!
100 Evidence Based Awesome Health Benefits of Turmeric
Here is the long list of miracles that turmeric naturally provides us with. To ease the reading, we have provided a Table of Contents below. Just click on the link to directly jump to section of your interest. You can minimise the table using the hide link at top of the table.
Turmeric Promotes All round Health
Turmeric has basic pharmacological properties which are beneficial in many health conditions.
1. It is an anti-inflammatory agent
The foremost reason to use turmeric in almost any health condition is its anti-inflammatory property.
Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that has potent anti-inflammatory property. As an anti-inflammatory agent, it inhibits the activity of nuclear factor kappa B- the master protein that regulates inflammatory process.
Like conventional anti-inflammatory agents, it inhibits the activity of inflammatory enzymes such as COX and LOX. Additionally, it inhibits the activity of various inflammatory chemicals and proteins such as TNF-alpha, interleukin etc.
One advantage over conventional anti-inflammatory agents is that turmeric does not cause gastric side effects. Curcumin free turmeric is also found to have anti-inflammatory property.
2. It is a natural painkiller
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory property contributes to its painkiller property. Its inhibitory action on inflammatory chemicals like prostaglandins and interleukins helps in reducing pain.
This painkiller property has been found to be useful in dealing with post-surgical pain and burn injuries.
Additionally, curcumin is also found to relieve neuropathic pain which is similar to pins and needles sensation.
Curcuminoids present in turmeric are strong antioxidants. Their antioxidant activity is comparable to vitamin C and E. As antioxidants they function in 3 ways: • Reduce oxidative stress or imbalance between prooxidant and antioxidant species in the body • Raise the level of antioxidant enzymes • Scavenge free radical species that cause oxidative damage
Thus they ameliorate oxidative stress in conditions like diabetes and thalassemia.
4. It protects DNA from damage
Turmeric and curcumin have genoprotective property- they protect cellular DNA from damage. However, curcumin plays a dual role in DNA damage.
In case of cancerous cells, curcumin induces DNA damage and sensitizes cells to chemotherapeutic agents.
However, this is not the case with normal cells. A study shows that by virtue of its antioxidant property, aqueous turmeric extract offers 80% protection from DNA damage.
Turmeric benefits in acid reflux or GERD in multiple ways. It improves digestion, exerts bactericidal effect on H.pylori infection, prevents the formation of ulcers, soothes inflammation and even protects from silent reflux.
Turmeric’s analgesic, anti-arthritic and bone protective property benefits in various disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
12. It reduces severity of various types of arthritis
Curcumin has multiple ways in treating rheumatoid arthritis: • It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. • It improves antioxidant defences. • It ameliorates autoimmune reactions. • It protects bone cells.
Supplementation of curcumin in individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis is found to significantly reduce pain and improve joint function better than conventional therapy.
Research suggests that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory property can aid in treatment of various musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, musculocartilaginous disorders, and sarcoma etc.
It also helps in relieving pain, preventing loss of muscle mass and improving antioxidant defences.
Dietary turmeric can benefit in anemia due to its antioxidant property which aids in normalizing antioxidant defences in anemia. Additionally, curcumin exerts a protective effect on red blood cells.
Curcumin’s iron chelating activity is speculated to cause iron deficiency in anemia but turmeric is a rich source of iron.( For more details ReadCan Turmeric Help in Anemia?)
18. Curcumin has anti-platelet property
Curcumin has blood thinning property- it prevents the formation of blood clots and reduces the risk of stroke.
Hence it is advised to avoid curcumin supplements with blood thinners. However, there is no evidence found in humans. This property of curcumin benefits in thrombosis. (Read –Turmeric and warfarinTurmeric and thrombosis)
19. It benefits spleen health
Turmeric’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property is found to benefit spleen health by boosting its immune function and protecting it from heavy metal toxicity.
Curcumin’s multi-action potential in depression, its ability to downregulate inflammation in the brain as well as its ability to influence neurotransmitters can benefit in bipolar disorder. (Read –Turmeric for bipolar disorder)
23. It can boost memory and help in learning disorders
Curcumin is found to restore memory and function that is impaired due to brain damage, neurodegenerative diseases or age related decline in brain function.
Curcumin can be helpful in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Its anti-inflammatory activity, antioxidant property, ability to reduce beta amyloid plaques, metal chelating activity and memory boosting property can help in treatment of Alzheimer’s. (Read –Can Turmeric help in Alzheimer’s?)
25. It is therapeutic in Parkinson’s
Curcumin can aid in treatment of Parkinson’s disease due to its antioxidant property and neuroprotective property.
Chinese researchers state that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory property and ability to prevent alpha-synuclein aggregation (a protein that contributes to development of Parkinson’s) can aid in Parkinson’s treatment. (Read –Turmeric for Parkinsons)
Opioid painkillers are prescribed as the last options for treating chronic pain. However these medications have side effects, are addictive and after a certain term of usage one also tends to develop tolerance them.
Research show that curcumin can act via the same method as opioid painkillers to mitigate pain.
Research has not yet investigated the role of turmeric in treatment of tinnitus but few of its pharmacological properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial property benefit in this condition.
Hirsutism or excessive facial hair occurs as a result of hormonal imbalances. Traditionally turmeric is used as a home remedy for hirsutism as its topical application helps lighten facial hair and reduce the growth.
Additionally taking turmeric orally can help in easing out hormonal imbalances causing hirsutism. (Read –Turmeric for hirsutism)
Turmeric for Cardiovascular System & Heart Diseases
Turmeric is great for heart health which makes it one of the most important reasons to include it in your diet daily.
54. It offers cardioprotection
Curcumin has a cardioprotective effect. It scavenges the free radical species and oxygen free radicals that worsen cardiac damage.
Curcumin by virtue of its anti-inflammatory property helps with the pain occurring in PMS and also modulated brain chemicals and thus alleviated mood changes and depression. (Read – 8 ways Turmeric benefits in Menstruation)
59. Turmeric has multiple benefits in menopause
Turmeric is a phytoestrogen- a plant source of estrogen, a female hormone.
67. It protects kidney from disorders and toxicity
Curcumin’s antioxidant property is beneficial in treatment of various kidney diseases such as diabetic nephropathy, chronic renal failure, ischemia and reperfusion and kidney toxicity caused medicines such as adriamycin, gentamycin etc.
Kidney inflammation is a common symptom of acute and chronic kidney diseases.
Curcumin gel is found to be effective in treating psoriasis like inflammation and its therapeutic effect is similar to that of clobetasol, a steroid used to treat skin disorders. (Read –How turmeric can help in psoriasis)
70. It protects from sunburns and offers photoprotection
Curcumin is found to protect the skin from sun rays induced inflammation and is a viable sunscreen agent. (Read –Turmeric for sunburn)
71. It can soothe eczema
Curcumin is found to reduce inflammation of the skin under adverse conditions and also reduces radiation dermatitis.
Turmeric’s multi-action mechanism and safety profile makes it a viable alternative and add-on therapy versus many conventional drugs.
99. It is better than steroids
One of the best health benefits of turmeric is the lack of side effects in comparison to steroids despite of similar pharmacological action. Curcumin is as effective as steroids in managing chronic anterior uveitis.
Apart from its multi-action phenomenon in most conditions, turmeric is preferred over conventional medications because it does not cause side effects and also reduces the side effects of other medications.
Start with low doses of Golden Paste say 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per day and follow for a week. If no side effects such as gastric discomfort are observed then increase the dose gradually per week. The suggested dose is 1-2 tsp Golden Paste 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day).
If opting for turmeric supplements consult a health practitioner prior.
Turmeric in dietary quantities does not pose any risk. Doses up to 8g have found to be safe but high doses can cause gastric side effects in real life. Avoid taking turmeric on an empty stomach. (Does Turmeric cause acid reflux?)
Turmeric supplements should be opted for only after consulting a doctor. In conditions like gout or if you are at high risk of developing kidney stones it is advisable to opt for curcumin supplements because turmeric is moderately high in oxalates. ( Read Is Turmeric safe in gout? Does turmeric cause kidney stones?)
Turmeric supplements should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation. Discontinue use of turmeric supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery. Avoid supplements if you are suffering from bile duct obstruction. (Can you take turmeric in gallstones?)
When on blood thinners, it is safe to occasionally introduce turmeric in diet and take in small doses in diet but do not use curcumin supplements. In such a condition it is best to discuss this with your doctor.
Curcumin in turmeric interferes in drug metabolism and hence must not be taken concomitantly with any medication. A 3-4 hour gap must be maintained.
Now that you know about 100 health benefits of turmeric for general health as well as for particular conditions, you would definitely start with your daily turmeric dose.