Turmeric may arguably be the most powerful herb on the planet for preventing and healing a cascade of conditions that threaten our health today. And the color is so rich and beautiful…it just radiates health! In addition to time-tested Ayurveda knowledge on turmeric, the research on the efficacy of turmeric is dense. Turmeric is effective as an anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant (blood thinner), anti-depressant, cancer treatment, diabetes manager, regulator of cholesterol, pain manager, Alzheimer recovery, brain function enhancer, and more.
Adding a little turmeric to your dinacharya (sanskrit word for ‘daily routine’), will offer many benefits now and promote healthy longevity for you. Turmeric is generally very safe in recommended doses, however, one can always be allergic to a substance or have a reaction so start with a small amount to ensure all is okay for you. If you are taking any medications for conditions listed above, talk with your doctor about interactions. Turmeric plus your medication may provide too much of the desired effect.
Curcumin is the powerful bio-active compound found in turmeric that is responsible for its healing properties. Curcumin blocks the enzyme and modulates multiple cell radiant brain signaling pathways that cause inflammation. Curcumin* also combats free radical damage especially to vital organs like your heart and brain. Inflammation is the body’s normal and necessary response to injury or pathogen invaders. However, it is a problem when triggered by something else such as food allergens, environmental toxins, chronic stress, lack of sleep and even some pharmaceutical drugs. These triggers occur daily and our inflammation response stays turned on indefinitely causing significant harm and confusion. This constant low-grade inflammation is sometimes referred to as “silent inflammation” that ages you before your time. First we need to limit the causes of non-injury inflammation from toxins and stress/sleep issues. But next we can mitigate the effects of inflammation and free radicals with daily intake of turmeric to get curcumin in our system.
How to Purchase Turmeric and Determine Dosage
Remember it is the curcumin that is the active component in turmeric that contains all the positive effects. How do you know how much curcumin is in turmeric? You don’t really.
The percentage of curcumin in turmeric varies a good bit from about none up to a rare 10% for some robust varieties of the whole, fresh root. Typical is about 2%. The amount of curcumin varies because of where the turmeric is grown, how it is cultivated, and how it is processed. If too much heat is used in processing then there is significant loss of curcumin.
These are the important considerations when buying turmeric so that you are more likely to get a decent % of curcumin—you should go for at least 3% if it is listed at all.
- Buy Certified Organic – a must
- Look for Good Customer Reviews
- Choose a Highly Reputable Brand – you want to avoid impure cheap brands
- Less Processing is Better – best is the whole fresh raw root; next is powder or tinctures; and last is a processed tablet
Forms and Dosage of Turmeric
Turmeric is available in the following forms:
- Raw root at grocery stores: 1- 1.5 tsp daily
- Powdered Root **: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp 1-2 x daily
- Capsules containing powder or tablets: 1-2, 2x daily
- Extract – you can purchase or make your own- recipe here: 15 to 30 drops, up to 4 times per day
The raw root is the best and has the highest percentage of curcumin, but it is not always organic, available, or convenient for daily intake. If you are a gardener you could try growing your own. Raw turmeric rocks!
Note: Curcumin is best taken in its home of turmeric. I do not recommend taking curcumin supplements as an isolated active ingredient. The recommendations to take with freshly ground black pepper or a fat such as coconut oil to improve absorption is mostly when taking isolated curcumin. When taking turmeric, pepper and oil may improve absorption some, but not much. Turmeric has the stimulating and balancing micro-ingredients to support absorption on its own.
Turmeric is generally considered safe eaten as food and at recommended doses. More is not necessarily better as turmeric is absorbed in small amounts and the rest is just processed out of the body. Because turmeric can lower blood sugar and thin blood, check with your doctor if you are on diabetic or blood-thinning medications (or any medication); since it is blood thinning, your doctor may advise you to stop taking at least 2 weeks before surgery. Turmeric supplements or usually any supplements are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.
Ways to Get More Turmeric in Your Diet
- You can use powdered turmeric in your cooking –add 1 rounded tsp to sauteed veggies, soups, on eggs, whatever
- Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric twice daily in warm water to aid digestion and support heart functioning. You can also add fresh or powdered ginger and raw honey
- When you have excess heat, take 1/4 tsp turmeric in a tablespoon of aloe vera gel
- For swollen or inflamed joints, Add a pinch of trikatu (a pepper mix) to 1/2 tsp of turmeric and take with warm water 1-2 times daily
- Brush your teeth with turmeric powder a few times a week. Oddly…this has the effect of whitening your teeth but will stain your toothbrush and clothing
- Add 30 drops of turmeric extract to your tea
- Stir 1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric powder in with olive oil and use for tossed salads or over veggies
- Mix 1/2 tsp turmeric with enough honey to make a paste and put some under your tongue at bedtime or take to soothe a sore throat
- Bring 1/2 tsp turmeric in raw cow milk or coconut milk to a boil and drink 30 minutes before bed to induce sleep
- Turmeric sprinkled over a cut can speed healing
- Add it to hot cocoa–double yum!
We have a host of recipes that use turmeric. Check out some of them below, or simple go to our Recipes Page and search on ‘Turmeric Powder’ under the Select Ingredients box.