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Turmeric (Ayurvedic medicine): Uses, side effects and more

Team AckoSept 25, 2023

Turmeric, also known as curcumin, is an essential spice found in many traditional Indian dishes, and is a long-standing symbol of health and well-being in Indian culture. This golden-coloured spice is derived from a plant known as Curcuma longa, and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicines for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Read ahead and explore the various health benefits, types, side effects and frequently asked questions associated with Turmeric (TMC).




Health benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice with many health benefits, which are as follows.

1. Pain relief

It contains the compound curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Studies have found that it can be effective in relieving symptoms related to arthritis, joint and muscle pain, and other inflammatory conditions.

2. Improved digestion

It has been used for centuries as a natural digestive aid. Studies have found that it can improve digestion and reduce the symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and gas.

3. Improved cardiovascular health

It has positive effects on cardiovascular health due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and improve blood flow. Studies have also found that its antioxidant properties can reduce oxidative stress and prevent cell damage.

4. Cancer prevention

Studies have found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric help protect against certain types of cancer. It can reduce the growth of cancer cells.

5. Improved brain health

Turmeric has been found to have positive effects on brain health and cognitive function. Studies have found that its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the brain and protect brain cells from damage.

6. Builds strong immunity

It contains curcumin, which builds strong immunity and combats viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. It also reduces inflammation in the body and improves overall health.

7. Helps fight depression

It has been found to fight depression by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and can reduce the symptoms of depression.

Types of Turmeric 

Turmeric is available in two forms: fresh Turmeric root and powdered Turmeric.

1. Fresh Turmeric 

Fresh Turmeric root is naturally harvested from the Turmeric plant and it imparts a warm, slightly bitter flavour to dishes. Its root can be easily recognised by its gold-coloured flesh and brown skin. It is sold whole in the produce section of the grocery store. When cooking with fresh TMC, it is important to peel and grate the root before adding it to the dish. Doing this will help the TMC better release its flavour and aroma.

2. Powdered Turmeric

Powdered Turmeric is made from dried and grounded TMC and is used most commonly for its bright orange-gold colour. It is the most commonly used form of TMC and is found in the spice section of the grocery store. It is used to add colour and flavour to dishes, and can also be used as a natural food colouring. The powdered form of TMC is more potent than fresh, so using smaller amounts is suggested.

For adults, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for TMC is between 1 to 4 grams per day. However, more studies are needed to determine the exact amount for optimal health benefits. There is no set dosage for children as the safety and efficacy of taking TMC has not yet been established in this age group. 

Further, as with many herbal remedies, it is best to start with small amounts and gradually increase the dosage as desired. Some may experience minor side effects such as indigestion at higher doses, so it is vital to work up to the desired dosage slowly. 

Precautions and warnings

In addition to following the recommended dosages, it is also essential to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen, as TMC may interact negatively with certain medications such as Talinolol, Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), Antidiabetic drugs, Warfarin, Tamoxifen, Norfloxacin, etc.

It has also not been studied enough to be considered safe for pregnant or nursing women, so it is best for these individuals to avoid taking it altogether.

Side effects of Turmeric

Below is a detailed list of potential side effects of Turmeric.

  • Diarrhoea 

  • Nausea 

  • Headache 

  • Stomach upset 

  • Acidity 

  • Heartburn 

  • Allergic reactions 

  • Skin irritation 

  • Liver damage 

  • Low blood sugar levels 

  • Interaction with certain medications 

Ways to incorporate Turmeric into your diet

Here’s how you can include TMC in your diet. 

  • It can be added to curries and other savoury dishes to add flavour and colour.

  • Turmeric can also be used to make tea or hot drinks. Simply add a teaspoon of ground Turmeric to 8 ounces of boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes.

  • Adding a teaspoon of it to a glass of warm water can help to improve digestion and reduce inflammation.

  • This spice can be added to smoothies as a powder or liquid extract.

The science behind Turmeric's benefits

The active ingredient in Turmeric is curcumin, a polyphenol compound with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is believed to be responsible for many of the beneficial effects that TMC has on the human body. Clinical research has shown that it may be effective in treating a range of conditions, from indigestion to diabetes, and even cancer.

It is a potent antioxidant, meaning it can help protect cell membranes from free radicals, which can cause cell damage and result in various illnesses. The antioxidant activity of curcumin helps reduce inflammation and protect the body from oxidative stress. This has been linked to numerous health benefits, from improved cardiovascular health to better longevity.

Common myths about Turmeric

Turmeric is a renowned spice known for its unique flavour and impressive health benefits. But it has some myths you should be aware of.

Myth 1: Turmeric is a miracle ayurvedic cure

One of the most common myths about Turmeric is that it is a miracle cure-all. While it does have many health benefits, it is not a miracle cure. It can aid in digestion and reduce inflammation, but it is not a substitute for medical care. 

Myth 2: Turmeric is easy to digest

Another common myth about Turmeric is that it is easy to digest. Unfortunately, this is not true. Studies have shown that TMC can cause stomach upset and digestive distress in some people. So it is best to talk to your doctor before taking it.

Myth 3: Turmeric is a quick fix

Some people believe that taking it can provide quick relief from symptoms of illnesses and diseases. However, research has shown that TMC works best when taken regularly over an extended period of time. Taking it once or twice will not provide the same results as taking it every day.

Myth 4: Turmeric is harmless

It can have negative side effects if taken in too high of doses. Supplements containing high levels of TMC can cause nausea, diarrhoea, and kidney stones. It is imperative to talk to your doctor before consuming large amounts of Turmeric.

Frequently asked questions

Here is a rundown of queries along with their answers related to Turmeric.


How do I use Turmeric in cooking?

Turmeric is an easy and versatile ingredient that can be added to a variety of dishes. It is commonly used in dishes such as curries, stir-fries, salads, soups, and stews. TMC can also be used to make tea or mixed into smoothies. It can be used both fresh or dried, although the dried form is more often used in recipes.

What are the health benefits of Turmeric?

It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may reduce inflammation in the body. It may also help decrease the risk of certain cancers and reduce the symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. TMC may also play a role in reducing levels of “bad” cholesterol, preventing blood clots, and improving brain function.

Is Turmeric safe for pregnant women?

It is not recommended for pregnant women to take Turmeric in large doses. Although TMC is considered safe for most pregnant women in small doses. It is important to always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements. 

Who should not use Turmeric?

Turmeric may not be safe for people who have gallbladder problems, stomach ulcers, or bleeding disorders. It may also interact negatively with certain medications, so it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any Turmeric-based supplements.

Is Turmeric good for the heart?

Some studies indicate that Turmeric may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which may lower the chances of heart disease. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Can Turmeric be used as first aid?

Turmeric can be used as a first aid treatment for minor cuts and scrapes. The antiseptic properties of this spice can reduce inflammation and prevent infection. TMC can also be used as a natural pain reliever and to treat joint pain, muscle pain, and headaches.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions. Note that Turmeric is also written as TMC in this article.


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