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What is turmeric? What is it used for?
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It has been used
for thousands of years in India as a spice and food additive,
helping give many curries color and flavor. The plants
root and rhizome, or underground stem, are used medicinally.
Historically, turmeric has been prescribed to treat a wide
range of conditions, from skin diseases and constipation to
poor vision and rheumatism. More current research has found
it to be beneficial in patients with indigestion and ulcers;
a double-blind trial conducted in 1986 found it to be superior
than pharmaceuticals for treating postsurgical inflammation.
The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin, which
has been shown to have a variety of beneficial properties.
Among its documented actions, it acts as an antioxidant and
protects against damage from free radicals; reduces inflammation
by lowering histamine levels; protects the liver from toxic
compounds; and reduces platelets from clumping together, which
improves circulation and helps protect against atherosclerosis.
Anecdotal evidence has shown that curcumin may fight cancer
and inhibit HIV from spreading, although further studies need
to be conducted to determine its true effectiveness.
How much turmeric should I take?
The German Commission E recommends a daily dose of 1.5-3
grams of turmeric root. Some practitioners also recommend
a standardized turmeric extract containing 400-600mg of curcumin
three times per day in capsule or tablet form.
What forms of turmeric are available?
Whole, cut and powdered turmeric root is available in a variety
of forms, the most common of which are capsules and coated
tablets. Turmeric tinctures and compound preparations are
What can happen if I take too much
turmeric? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
Used as recommended, turmeric is generally safe; however,
some anecdotal reports have linked to extended use and overdosing.
It should not be used by pregnant or lactating women. In addition,
patients with gallstones or obstructed bile ducts should avoid
turmeric unless approved by a health care provider.
There are currently no well-known drug interactions with
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