Orally, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is used as a spice in foods and as a medicine. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric.
Turmeric in medical conditions
Orally, turmeric has been used for various conditions, including:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ulcerative colitis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- high cholesterol
Turmeric in cooking
The amounts of turmeric used in cooking are low and unlikely to have therapeutic or adverse effects.
- Products sold as food supplements are not subject to the same quality and safety standards as conventional medicines.
- Contamination of turmeric and curcumin supplements with another active ingredient cannot always be ruled out.
- Buy supplements from a trusted source to reduce the associated risks.
Special patient groups
Children, adolescents and pregnant women should avoid using medicinal doses of turmeric until there is more evidence of its safety.
- When it is taken as a medicine, a common dose of turmeric is 400 to 600 mg three times a day, which is equivalent to 60 g of fresh turmeric root or 15g of turmeric powder.
- In clinical cancer trials, doses of 4000 to 8000 mg (4 to 8 g) a day of curcumin are typical.
- Only high doses of curcumin are absorbed into the blood and can have an effect throughout the body.
- Giving curcumin with piperine (a constituent of pepper) enhances the absorption of curcumin.