Turmeric is considered a traditional healing root and is known for a number of positive effects. Especially for hair and skin health.
Due to the valuable nutrients, it is considered digestive, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.
However, scientific evidence of the root’s healing properties is lacking. First and foremost, turmeric is suitable as a food in the form of spice.
Besides the numerous effects, you should also consider the side effects of turmeric. Under what circumstances turmeric may not be the best choice for you, you will learn here.
The most important facts in brief
- The most important ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other health-promoting properties are attributed to it.
- The tolerance of turmeric is harmless in the form of spice. Individually, high consumption may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Due to the effect of curcumin, pregnant women and people with gallstones should avoid turmeric preparations.
- The scientific evidence for turmeric’s healing effects is limited. Isolated studies indicate positive effects, but turmeric always belongs to the food and can not be equated with drugs.
Definition: What is turmeric?
Turmeric is known among curry mainly as a spice. The turmeric comes from the ginger family and also serves as a medicinal herb. The rootstock contains curcuminoids, which are also responsible for the striking yellow color. The isolated active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is responsible for its healing properties and effects.
Background: What you should know about turmeric
In order to be able to assess the intake of turmeric in the best possible way, we have provided the most important information for you below.
What ingredients are found in turmeric?
Turmeric powder mainly contains 5% curcumin and other curcuminoids. In addition, it contains essential oils, resins, proteins, and sugar compounds. These are collected from the root tissue by solvent extraction.
Many different combinations of individual ingredients are available in dietary supplements. In turmeric, many different nutritional values, vitamins as well as minerals are present.
Those are now tabulated in the following charts
|Nutritional values||per 100 g turmeric|
|Thereof sugar||57,6 g|
|Dietary fiber||6,7 g|
|Calorific value||1491 kJ / 356 kcal|
|Vitamin||per 100 g of turmeric|
|Vitamin C||26 mg|
|Vitamin B2||230 μg|
|Vitamin B1||150 μg|
How does turmeric work?
Turmeric has long been considered an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cholesterol-lowering agent in traditional medicine due to its good nutrients. In addition, turmeric can improve digestion and help against flatulence and bloating. However, caution is advised regarding the application areas of turmeric: Studies on this do not provide clear results and the validity is limited.
Turmeric belongs to dietary supplements and serves only conditionally to prevent, alleviate and cure diseases.
In addition, the bioavailability is criticized, since a large part of curcumin is quickly excreted through the intestines and liver.
Enclosed are the known positive effects of turmeric explained in more detail.
The ingredient curcumin has an anti-inflammatory effect on the human body. When taken regularly, CRP levels for chronic inflammatory processes in the body decrease. In addition, curcumin is responsible for lowering cytokine levels in the body.
Accordingly, the intake of turmeric can have a positive effect on the body in known cardiovascular diseases.
The antioxidant properties of turmeric are due to the neutralization of free radicals. In this regard, the ingredient curcumin is an effective scavenger of ROS and other reactive nitrogen species. By inhibiting radicals, curcumin is even found to have anti-cancer properties. Due to the reduced lipid peroxidation, DNA damage can be better controlled.
The spice turmeric also helps lower poor levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Due to its lipid-lowering properties, curcumin is shown to have a natural heart-protective effect. Accordingly, the spice can be taken as a preventive measure in patients at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
The biological action of curcumin can be used to protect the stomach from inflammation and ulcers. Curcumin obtains these properties due to its natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.
What are the side effects of turmeric?
In conventional dosage, turmeric is considered a safe food. However, because turmeric’s uses are so complex and varied, and the exact chemical processes in the body are unexplored, you should be aware of the possible side effects.
Individually, bodies react differently to turmeric. Depending on the sensitivity and the dosage, undesirable effects are also possible when consuming turmeric. These are usually gastrointestinal complaints.
Turmeric during pregnancy
Food supplements with turmeric should be avoided during pregnancy.
The usual consumption, such as in curry mixtures, is completely safe.
Due to the high dosage in preparations, the active ingredient curcumin can change the hormone level of estrogen in the body. Accordingly, pregnant women should avoid those supplements, as in extreme cases undesirable uterine contractions or bleeding may occur.
Turmeric for gallstones
Since turmeric promotes the production and release of bile, you should avoid turmeric supplements if you have gallstones. Again, it is safe to use spices because the curcumin content is too low to have serious effects.
What should be considered when using turmeric?
Since the ingredient curcumin is hardly water-soluble, turmeric offers poor bioavailability. The curcumin is absorbed by the body via the intestines, but due to its fat-soluble properties, the ingredient is quickly excreted again via the liver.
Accordingly, only about 10% is actually absorbed by the body. This represents a very small amount, which would require a lot of turmeric to be consumed in order for the positive effects to actually be felt by the body.
This complicates the natural intake of turmeric in the form of spice.
Especially popular is the particularly easy consumption in a mixture with high-fat milk.
However, for the best possible effect of the root, it is recommended to make preparations in the form of capsules.
This significantly increases the bioavailability, as the excretion through the body is made more difficult due to the capsule. Thus, the intestine can better absorb the ingredients.
In addition, the effectiveness of turmeric can be spurred with the combination of pepper. This results in simple seasoning blends for sprinkling on food. Although this improves bioavailability, there are also disadvantages associated with metabolism.
Improved absorption is provided by irritation of the gastric mucosa: this can increase unwanted gastrointestinal discomfort, which is already a concern when turmeric is ingested. Additionally, drug interactions must be considered with pepper.
What are the alternatives to turmeric?
Besides turmeric, there are other roots that are said to have healing effects. They differ, however, due to the ingredients and effects, so you should also take a closer look at the alternatives.
- Ginger: Ginger is also one of the traditional healing roots. It strengthens the immune system, helps to lose weight, and boosts metabolism. Gastrointestinal discomfort in case of overdose also applies here.
- Ginseng: Ginseng is one of the oldest known medicinal roots. Its effect is considered strengthening for the immune system and awakening. Accordingly, ginseng is often used against stress as well as fatigue.
Turmeric is considered a versatile healing root with many positive effects. Due to its promising nutritional values and long-standing tradition, turmeric is often used as a traditional remedy. However, it should be noted that studies are incomplete: the scientific healing effects are not sufficiently proven, and it is still just food. The effects of turmeric can hardly be compared with the effects of medicines.
In addition, one must consider the possible side effects. During pregnancy and in the case of gallstones, turmeric should not be used at all. Despite the digestive effect, the body reacts individually to turmeric, so that nausea or diarrhea can also be expected.