Turmeric’s Health and Beauty Benefits

Though it’s most famous as a seasoning, there are many other reasons to eat turmeric or take curcumin (its active ingredient). Anti-inflammatory properties, antidiabetic effects, and antioxidant attributes are just some of the possible features this superfood has to offer. Plus, if you prefer a natural beauty routine, turmeric can help you care for your skin.

Ayurvedic medicine practitioners claim that turmeric helps detoxify the liver, stimulate the immune system, and improve various aspects of our health. Is it yet another nutrition myth? If you’re curious which benefits of turmeric have actually been confirmed by science, you’ll find out in this article.

Key Ideas

  • When ingested orally, turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic, digestive, and hepatoprotective properties. When applied to the face, it may help treat acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. 
  • You can make the most of curcumin’s benefits by either eating turmeric powder or taking curcumin supplements. Supplements have a higher concentration of curcumin than turmeric powder does.  
  • For those who suffer from arthritis, type 2 diabetes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or indigestion, turmeric’s benefits may be an excellent complement to conventional medical treatment. 

The Benefits of Turmeric: What You Need to Know

Turmeric’s benefits stem from curcumin, a polyphenolic curcuminoid which also lends turmeric its vivid orange colour. Because Ayurvedic medicine uses turmeric to treat various symptoms and complaints, Western medicine has taken an interest in Curcuma longa – and more specifically, in studying curcumin.

Turmeric’s Properties According to Ayurveda and NaturopathsTurmeric’s Properties Supported by Scientific Evidence
  • Detoxifies/purifies the blood, skin, liver, and airways.
  • Antiseptic/disinfectant.
  • Analgesic (pain reliever).
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Carminative (helps release gas). 
  • Digestive.
  • Energising.
  • Immune-stimulating.
  • Anti-carcinogenic.
  • Helps form scar tissue (healing cuts and ulcers).
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Antioxidant.
  • Digestive.
  • Antidiabetic.
  • Hepatoprotective (protects liver from damage).
  • Neuroprotective.
  • Antimicrobial.
  • Helps form scar tissue.
  • Chemopreventative (helps prevent cancer). 

What Does Science Say About Turmeric’s Benefits?

The beneficial properties of this spice, as well as turmeric supplements, are primarily thanks to curcumin’s proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. In recent decades, researchers have studied turmeric’s benefits in depth. Here are their most promising findings: 

Turmeric Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Curcumin possesses powerful anti-inflammatory effects. As such, turmeric powder and curcumin supplements are recommended for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, and bursitis. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may also relieve pain from irritable bowel conditions (1, 2).

nutritional consultation
Don’t forget to ask your doctor before taking supplements if you have an underlying illness. (Source: Raths: 30529473/ 123rf.com)

Turmeric’s Antioxidant Properties Prevent Some Diseases 

Oxidative damage accelerates as we age. This increases our risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s. Because the majority of these conditions also include an inflammatory component, turmeric is recommended for both the antioxidant anti-inflammatory benefits it offers simultaneously (3)

Obesity means that inflammation and oxidative damage coincide, increasing the risk of heart problems, stroke and seizure, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Though turmeric is not a weight loss method, it can be a wonderful dietary complement for people struggling with obesity (4).

Turmeric’s hepatoprotective (liver-protecting) benefits are directly related to its antioxidant activity, which protects the liver from toxic and oxidative agents. Curcumin supplements may be beneficial for those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (5)

Turmeric Eases Digestion

Turmeric is a carminative agent, which means that it promotes gas release and reduces abdominal bloating. Plus, it stimulates bile secretion, which we need to digest fat. It also relieves indigestion, prevents stomach ulcers, protects the liver, and calms the symptoms of irritable bowel conditions in some people (6, 7)!

turmeric powder for cooking
When ingested orally, turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic, digestive, and hepatoprotective properties. (Source: Acevedo: 107404258/ 123rf.com)

Turmeric Could Prevent or Treat Type 2 Diabetes 

Turmeric possesses hypoglycaemiant properties, which means that it reduces blood sugar levels. It also improves sensitivity to insulin in those with insulin resistance. Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, turmeric prevents complications associated with type 2 diabetes which affect your nerves, kidneys, and eyesight (8).

If you’re diabetic and take insulin or oral antidiabetics (metformin, for example), you should not take supplements or eat large amounts of turmeric without first asking your doctor. The combined effect of turmeric on top of your medications could lower your blood sugar too far, causing hypoglycaemia.

Turmeric Protects the Brain and May Improve Memory 

Turmeric’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also prevents cerebral ischemia – also known as reduced blood flow to the brain. Daily consumption of turmeric may also improve your memory (9).

Turmeric May Inhibit the Growth of Viruses, Bacteria, Fungi, and Parasites

Curcumin is a powerful antimicrobial agent whether ingested orally or applied to the skin. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric ointments are applied to cuts and ulcers to accelerate scar tissue formation and prevent infection. Turmeric, whether eaten or taken as a supplement, can also stop the growth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach (6).

turmeric powder
You can make the most of curcumin’s benefits by eating turmeric powder or taking supplements. (Source: Vainillaychile: 30108576/ 123rf.com)

What Are the Uses and Benefits of Turmeric in Ayurveda?

Ayurvedic medicine specialists would tell you that it’s easier to list what turmeric can’t be used for – they couldn’t enumerate all its uses, properties, and benefits. And they’re not kidding: Ayurvedic medicine prescribes turmeric for conditions across the map (6, 10):

  • Liver and gallbladder conditions. 
  • Cough.
  • Sinusitis.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Anorexia.
  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Ulcers, cuts, and burns. These include skin lesions linked to diabetes. 
  • Back pain.
  • Joint inflammation and pain.
  • Arthritis.
  • Rheumatic pain.
  • Asthma.
  • Allergies.
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Anaemia.
  • Food poisoning.

What Are Turmeric’s Cosmetic Benefits?

People use turmeric on the skin because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and wound-healing attributes. It may also be useful for acne, eczema, and psoriasis. The beauty world’s interest in turmeric stems from its ability to combat aging caused by sun damage and sebum production in oily skin (6, 11).

Plus, turmeric applied to the skin offers a revitalising and illuminating effect – while helping prevent or clear blemishes at the same time. As far as turmeric’s effects on hair, this spice affects oil production, so it’s a natural remedy for greasy hair and dandruff (6, 10).

How Can I Use Turmeric Safely and Effectively?

Though turmeric possesses benefits which can improve our health, it can have the opposite effect when used irresponsibly. As such, always keep these suggestions in mind: 

  • Respect recommended dosage. To make the most of turmeric powder’s benefits, you should be eating 1.5 to 3 grams per day. As far as turmeric extract capsules and pills, always confirm their curcumin content per serving. This information should appear on the back of the packaging. Experts recommend taking 200 to 600 mg of curcumin one to three times daily (6, 7, 10).
  • Ask your doctor first if you have any underlying conditions. If you have diabetes, blood clotting conditions, or any other pre-existing ailment, visit your doctor before taking curcumin supplements. Professionals can evaluate if supplements will benefit you, as well as whether your medications should be adjusted.
  • Remember that turmeric supplements aren’t for everyone. Turmeric supplements are not recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a bile duct obstruction or gallstones, or have an upcoming surgery (10).
preparing a dish with turmeric
People use turmeric on the skin because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and wound-healing attributes. (Source: Chinh le Duc: vudxj60mjoa/ Unsplash.com)

Is There Consensus Between Alternative and Western Medicine About Turmeric’s Anti-Cancer Benefits?

In alternative medicine, turmeric is part of the treatment for certain types of cancer (oesophageal, colon, prostate, and breast cancer). Practitioners claim that this spice inhibits the formation and growth of tumours, preventing metastasis. However, it is still far too soon to declare that turmeric has anti-cancer benefits (10, 12).

Scientists are currently studying the chemopreventative (cancer-preventing) properties of curcumin. Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, curcumin could prevent the cell mutations which eventually lead to tumours (9).

Do Liposomal Curcumin Supplements Have the Same Benefits as Turmeric?

Liposomal curcumin supplements possess the same benefits as turmeric – but, being a concentrated supplement, they have more potent effects. With appropriate medical supervision, these supplements are recommended to relieve arthritic pain and stiffness, improve blood sugar management in type 2 diabetes, treat irritable bowel conditions, and reduce post-surgical swelling (12).

To optimise the curcumin’s absorption, it should be taken with a meal containing black pepper or fat (lipids). Liposomes are made up of phospholipids which envelop the curcumin, making it ready for the intestines to absorb it. This method intensifies the nutrient’s properties, especially its anti-inflammatory benefits (13).

Our curcumin liposomal liquid is vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free. We recommend taking 5 ml of liquid curcumin (dissolved in water or juice) once or twice a day.


Our Conclusions

Ayurveda has recognized turmeric’s medicinal and cosmetic benefits for thousands of years. After decades of research, science has proven that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric which gives it its orange pigment, is biologically active. Of its many benefits, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects are perhaps the most interesting – and it’s those that have led to supplements being developed.

Turmeric can be ingested orally to relieve arthritic pain or irritable bowel symptoms, ease digestion, prevent atherosclerosis, and lower blood sugar. Applied topically, turmeric illuminates, clears, and rejuvenates the skin. People with skin diseases or sensitive skin types should ask a dermatologist before using turmeric.

Are you surprised by any of turmeric’s benefits? Would you like to learn more? We await your comments – plus, remember to share this article!

References(13)

  1. He Y et al. Curcumin, Inflammation, and Chronic Diseases: How Are They Linked? 2015.
  2. Shehzad A, Rehman G, Lee Y. Curcumin in inflammatory diseases. 2012.
  3. Li H et al. Curcumin, the golden spice in treating cardiovascular diseases. 2020.
  4. Bradford P. Curcumin and obesity. 2013.
  5. Farzaei M et al. Curcumin in Liver Diseases: A Systematic Review of the Cellular Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress and Clinical Perspective. 2018.
  6. Rathaur P, Raja W, Ramteke P, John S. Turmeric: the golden spice of life. 2012.
  7. Dulbecco P, Savarino V. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in digestive diseases. 2013.
  8. Ghorbani Z, Hekmatdoost A, Mirmiran P. Anti-Hyperglycemic and Insulin Sensitizer Effects of Turmeric and Its Principle Constituent Curcumin. 2014.
  9. Krup V, Prakash L, Harini A. Pharmacological Activities of Turmeric (Curcuma longa linn): A Review. 2013.
  10. Debjit Bhowmik C, Sampath Kumar K, Chandira M, Jayakar B. Turmeric: A Herbal and Traditional Medicine. 2009.
  11. Vaughn A, Branum A, Sivamani R. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence. 2016.
  12. Chattopadhyay I, Biswas K, Bandyopadhyay U, Banerjee R. Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications. 2004.
  13. Basnet P, Hussain H, Tho I, Skalko-Basnet N. Liposomal Delivery System Enhances Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Curcumin. 2005.
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Scientific Article
He Y et al. Curcumin, Inflammation, and Chronic Diseases: How Are They Linked? 2015.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Shehzad A, Rehman G, Lee Y. Curcumin in inflammatory diseases. 2012.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Li H et al. Curcumin, the golden spice in treating cardiovascular diseases. 2020.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Bradford P. Curcumin and obesity. 2013.
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Systematic Review
Farzaei M et al. Curcumin in Liver Diseases: A Systematic Review of the Cellular Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress and Clinical Perspective. 2018.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Rathaur P, Raja W, Ramteke P, John S. Turmeric: the golden spice of life. 2012.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Dulbecco P, Savarino V. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in digestive diseases. 2013.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Ghorbani Z, Hekmatdoost A, Mirmiran P. Anti-Hyperglycemic and Insulin Sensitizer Effects of Turmeric and Its Principle Constituent Curcumin. 2014.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Krup V, Prakash L, Harini A. Pharmacological Activities of Turmeric (Curcuma longa linn): A Review. 2013.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Debjit Bhowmik C, Sampath Kumar K, Chandira M, Jayakar B. Turmeric: A Herbal and Traditional Medicine. 2009.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Vaughn A, Branum A, Sivamani R. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence. 2016.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Chattopadhyay I, Biswas K, Bandyopadhyay U, Banerjee R. Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications. 2004.
Go to source
Scientific Article
Basnet P, Hussain H, Tho I, Skalko-Basnet N. Liposomal Delivery System Enhances Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Curcumin. 2005.
Go to source