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Turmeric: what exactly is it, what benefits does it offer, and what’s the recommended dosage?

A plant that’s been used for thousands of years, turmeric is popular both as a cooking ingredient and as a phytotherapeutic agent. Discover its health virtues and the right dose to take to gain maximum benefit.
Turmeric roots and powder
Turmeric is not just for adding flavour and colour to your cooking ...
Rédaction Supersmart.
2021-01-19Comments (0)

Turmeric: an age-old Ayurvedic plant

A key ingredient in curries, turmeric, or Curcuma longa to give it its scientific name, is a perennial plant that grows in the world’s tropical regions. It is part of the zingiberaceae family (1).

Like ginger, to which it is closely related, turmeric is primarily used for its fast-growing roots: the plant’s flowers, however magnificent, are of no culinary or medicinal interest.

Bitter, slightly spicy, light, dry, clarifying and warm, turmeric has been enjoyed as a condiment for thousands of years ... but it also features widely in phytotherapy. Like many Asian spices, it frequently crops up in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine (2).

Tip: if you like to cook with turmeric, choose the fresh root, as it is more fragrant and subtle than the dry powder.

Spotlight on curcumin, its main active ingredient

Curcumin, a phenolic compound with low water-solubility, is the most potent active ingredient in turmeric (3).

As well as giving turmeric its distinctive, warm, ochre-yellow colour, curcumin is largely responsible for its health benefits too. It appears, in particular, to help inhibit a number of harmful molecules (4-5).

Turmeric’s many health benefits

Remarkably versatile, turmeric has important antioxidant properties (6). It also helps to:

Turmeric: what dose should you take for maximum benefit?

A daily dose of between 1500 mg and 3000 mg turmeric powder is generally recommended. In terms of herbal teas, drink two cups a day, infusing 1000-2000mg of turmeric in 15cl of boiling water for 15 minutes. Be aware, however, that turmeric has poor bioavailability.

An easy way of increasing your turmeric intake is to take a course of dietary supplements in capsule form (we recommend up to 2500 mg of turmeric a day):

It’s best to take these supplements with food, as turmeric is absorbed better with fat. So there you have it – all the key information on this amazing Ayurvedic spice. If you’ve been struck by the unique characteristics of this medicinal root, it simply remains for us to wish you happy turmeric supplementation!

References

  1. LEONG-ŠKORNIČKOVÁ, J. A. N. A., ŠÍDA, OTAKAR, WIJESUNDARA, Siril, et al. On the identity of turmeric: the typification of Curcuma longa L.(Zingiberaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, vol. 157, no 1, p. 37-46.
  2. GOEL, Ajay, KUNNUMAKKARA, Ajaikumar B., et AGGARWAL, Bharat B. Curcumin as “Curecumin”: from kitchen to clinic. Biochemical pharmacology, 2008, vol. 75, no 4, p. 787-809.
  3. AKRAM, Muhammad, SHAHAB-UDDIN, Ahmed A., USMANGHANI, K. H. A. N., et al. Curcuma longa and curcumin: a review article. Rom J Biol Plant Biol, 2010, vol. 55, no 2, p. 65-70.
  4. HE, Yan, YUE, Yuan, ZHENG, Xi, et al. Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked?. Molecules, 2015, vol. 20, no 5, p. 9183-9213.
  5. https://www.has-sante.fr/jcms/c_2911396/fr/helicobacter-pylori-recherche-et-traitement
  6. JAYAPRAKASHA, Guddadarangavvanahally Krishanareddy, RAO, L. Jaganmohan, et SAKARIAH, Kunnumpurath K. Antioxidant activities of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Food chemistry, 2006, vol. 98, no 4, p. 720-724.
  7. JAGETIA, Ganesh Chandra et AGGARWAL, Bharat B. “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. Journal of clinical immunology, 2007, vol. 27, no 1, p. 19-35.
  8. CONCETTA SCUTO, Maria, MANCUSO, Cesare, TOMASELLO, Barbara, et al. Curcumin, hormesis and the nervous system. Nutrients, 2019, vol. 11, no 10, p. 2417.
  9. RIVERA‐ESPINOZA, Yadira et MURIEL, Pablo. Pharmacological actions of curcumin in liver diseases or damage. Liver International, 2009, vol. 29, no 10, p. 1457-1466.
  10. PANAHI, Yunes, KIANPOUR, Parisa, MOHTASHAMI, Reza, et al. Curcumin lowers serum lipids and uric acid in subjects with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology, 2016, vol. 68, no 3, p. 223-229.
  11. LIANG, Zhaofeng, WU, Rui, XIE, Wei, et al. Curcumin reverses tobacco smoke‑induced epithelial‑mesenchymal transition by suppressing the MAPK pathway in the lungs of mice. Molecular Medicine Reports, 2018, vol. 17, no 1, p. 2019-2025.
  12. AWASTHI, Himani, TOTA, Santoshkumar, HANIF, Kashif, et al. Protective effect of curcumin against intracerebral streptozotocin induced impairment in memory and cerebral blood flow. Life sciences, 2010, vol. 86, no 3-4, p. 87-94.
  13. THANGAPAZHAM, Rajesh L., SHARMA, Anuj, et MAHESHWARI, Radha K. Beneficial role of curcumin in skin diseases. In : The molecular targets and therapeutic uses of curcumin in health and disease. Springer, Boston, MA, 2007. p. 343-357.
  14. SCHIBORR, Christina, KOCHER, Alexa, BEHNAM, Dariush, et al. The oral bioavailability of curcumin from micronized powder and liquid micelles is significantly increased in healthy humans and differs between sexes. Molecular nutrition & food research, 2014, vol. 58, no 3, p. 516-527.
  15. ANAND, Preetha, KUNNUMAKKARA, Ajaikumar B., NEWMAN, Robert A., et al. Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises. Molecular pharmaceutics, 2007, vol. 4, no 6, p. 807-818.
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