▷ Is Turmeric Your Miracle Cure?

Is Turmeric Your Miracle Cure?

By Ritu Goel / June 4, 2017
Is Turmeric Your Miracle Cure


Unless this is your first time on the internet, surely you’ve heard about the wonders of turmeric. Turmeric is considered to be one of the most powerful natural substances on the planet in terms of its potential to fight and reverse several medical conditions.

The regular spice known as turmeric has the scientific name Curcuma longa. The healing properties of this root are so numerous that more than 6,000 peer-reviewed articles have been published to investigate its benefits, specifically those of its major component curcumin.

There are more than 300 different active ingredients present in turmeric but the most beneficial one (that we know of) is the polyphenol curcumin. In fact, according to several studies, curcumin is more effective in treating diseases than many prescription drugs.

Can These Conditions be Treated with Turmeric?

We get a lot of requests to separate the fact from the fiction regarding the benefits of using turmeric, so we compiled this article to explore some of the many health benefits of turmeric.

1. Does Turmeric Help with Weight Loss?

Turmeric offers help in dealing with obesity and the metabolic disorders associated with it. Turmeric may help reduce the inflammation that is associated with obesity and provide a boost in fat burning. According to a study published in the journal Food and Function, consumption of polyphenol-rich functional foods such as turmeric in diabetic patients may be useful for regulating carbohydrate metabolism and related disorders. [1]

Another study published in the journal Cell Death and Disease states that the natural plant polyphenol compound curcumin possesses a weight loss effect. [2] A study conducted at Tufts University in 2009 found that curcumin suppresses the growth of fat tissue in mice. [3] There are many factors that go into weight loss, but there is evidence that adding this spice to your diet may help shed pounds.

2. Does Turmeric Whiten Teeth?

You may be surprised to know that despite being yellow in color, turmeric has been used in different parts of the world since ancient times to whiten teeth. Aside from teeth whitening, it also helps in cleansing gums and treating infections of the gums, including gingivitis. According to a study published in The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, it was found that turmeric is a good supplement to mechanical plaque control. [4]

According to another article published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research, turmeric has various uses for dental problems including the elimination of dental pain and swelling, making teeth and gums strong, and providing relief from periodontitis and gingivitis. [5] While there is some evidence that turmeric is useful for dental care, we found no studies citing the specific benefit of teeth whitening, although a lot of people around the world use it for this purpose.

3. Does Turmeric Help with Acne?

Acne is a result of damage by free radicals and chronic inflammation. According to studies, patients suffering from acne have greater levels of oxidative stress. [6] Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant; therefore it may help in relieving acne. According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, evidence exists that turmeric/curcumin products and supplements, both orally and topically applied, may provide therapeutic benefits for various skin ailments, including acne. [7]

The results obtained in another study published in the journal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin highlight the potential of using curcumin-based microemulsions as an alternative treatment for S.epidermidis-associated diseases and acne vulgaris. [8] Thus, the research does seem to support using turmeric for acne reduction.

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4. Can Turmeric Treat Boils?

A boil is an infection of the skin that begins in an oil gland or a hair follicle. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which may help in treating boils and abscesses. You can prepare a powder of turmeric and use it as a poultice to cure boils. According to the article “Study on antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of turmeric clear liquid soap for wound treatment of HIV patients” turmeric liquid soap can be used in both cosmetic and therapeutic preparations for skin infections. Additionally, the clinical data supports its use for skin infection treatments for HIV patients. [9] The video below shows how to use turmeric for boils.

5. Does Turmeric Lower Blood Sugar/Help Control Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a common illness that is characterized by a disruption in the levels of blood sugar. The level of blood sugar plays a key role in how the body utilizes energy and how it metabolizes food. Diabetes results when the body is unable to use or produce insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

It has been found that curcumin may help in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. A review of studies from 2013 suggests that curcumin can reduce not only the blood glucose levels but also other complications related to diabetes. It was also found by researchers that curcumin might prevent diabetes. The research suggests that extracts of turmeric could stabilize levels of blood sugar and help in the management of this disease. [10]

According to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, curcumin - a natural anti-inflammatory - suppresses diabetes-associated inflammation and cell death. Moreover, the study data indicates a potentially translatable dose of nCUR (nano-curcumin) that is safe and effective in improving the beta-cell function, possibly preventing type 1 diabetes mellitus. [11]

Another study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research states that curcumin improves glucose tolerance via stimulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion. This action of curcumin may allow the dosages of other diabetic medicines to be reduced and even aid in the prevention of diabetes. [12]

Turmeric also has a positive effect on the function of beta cells of the pancreas. A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology demonstrated that when stimulated by glucose, turmeric regulated secretion of insulin and helped enhance the functioning of the pancreas. [13] In all, there definitely is evidence that turmeric is useful in treating diabetics.

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6. Does Turmeric Help Back Pain?

Turmeric reduces inflammation and therefore it may also reduce pain. Back pain may occur due to arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosis, or spondylosis. According to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, curcumin can suppress the pro-inflammatory pathways linked to most chronic diseases. It can block both the production and the action of TNF (Tumor necrosis factor alpha), which are major mediators of inflammation and inflammation-related diseases. [14]

According to another study published in the Journal of Inflammation, based on its anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic effects, intradiscal injection of curcumin may be an attractive treatment alternative for discogenic back pain. [15] A study published in the Korean Journal of Pain concluded that a considerable decline in both pain behavior and serum COX-2 levels was seen in rats following injection of curcumin for neuropathic pain. [16]

7. Is Turmeric a Treatment for Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune illness that affects the epidermis, resulting in red, scaling lesions on the skin. The lesions of psoriasis are formed because the cells of the skin are pushed faster than normal to the skin surface. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric stops the inflammatory enzymes that are associated with psoriasis. Extracts of turmeric also reduce high levels of cytokines, which are compounds that stimulate inflammation of cells.

In a study published in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, turmeric has been found to be an alternative topical treatment for psoriatic lesions. [17] According to a study done on animals in 2016, extracts of medicinal plants including turmeric may not only help in the treatment of plaque psoriasis but also prevent the disease. [18]

8. Does Turmeric Lower Blood Pressure?

Hypertension and atherosclerosis can potentially progress into life-threatening cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and myocardial infarction. According to a study published in the journal Scientia Pharmaceutica, curcumin has been proven effective for a broad spectrum of diseases including hypertension. [19]

In another study published in the journal Nutrients, curcumin, due to its chelating and antioxidant properties, was found to be a promising protective agent against hypertension and vascular dysfunction induced by cadmium in mice. [20] According to a study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, demethoxycurcumin preserves renovascular function by downregulating COX-2 expression in hypertension. [21] These studies show that turmeric use and blood pressure are inversely related, implying that turmeric helps in lowering blood pressure and reduces its complications.

9. Is Turmeric a Treatment for Colds?

Curcumin has a protective and therapeutic action in people suffering from colds and coughs. Turmeric also has anti-microbial properties that can help in treating the infection. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, turmeric, among other traditional medicinal plants, has been used to manage and treat respiratory tract illnesses such as colds. [22]

In a study published in the Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, it was stated that turmeric has been used in Ayurveda via oral administration for the common cold. [23] The evidence here is a bit scant, and there are other natural remedies (such as zinc) with much better evidence backing them.

10. Can Turmeric Treat a Candida Infection?

Candida albicans is a fungus that causes vaginitis - the most common type of infection of the vagina. Turmeric - due to its anti-microbial properties - can be useful in preventing infections caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or protozoa. Turmeric is an effective treatment for candidiasis due to the benefits of curcumin such as its ability to increase the body's immunity by increasing CD8 and CD4 counts - these are 2 glycoproteins that are required by the body to fight infections.

According to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, curcumin was found to be a more potent antifungal than fluconazole. It dramatically inhibited the adhesion of Candida species isolated from AIDS patients to BEC or Buccal epithelial cells. [24]

In another study published in the journal Bioscience, it was demonstrated that there was a decreased growth of fungi in the kidneys of mice. Moreover, curcumin leads to quick apoptosis of cells of Candida. Due to its antioxidant properties, curcumin may allow better functioning of the immune system, which helps the body in fighting off yeast infections. [25]

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11. Is Turmeric a Cure for Headaches?

Migraines are triggered by inflammation in the brain. Curcumin has well-known anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study published in the journal Neural Regeneration Research, the fermented Chinese formula Shuan-Tong-Ling (which contains curcumin) benefits brain diseases including ischemic stroke, migraine, and vascular dementia. [26]

According to an article published in the journal Pharma Research, the anti-inflammatory strength of turmeric is comparable to steroidal drugs such as indomethacin. Turmeric has been reported to be antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Many of these pharmacological factors support the use of turmeric in the treatment of migraine headaches. [27]

12. Can Turmeric Help with Hair Loss?

Curcumin, the active ingredient present in turmeric, has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help in treating the underlying illnesses that lead to hair loss including seborrhoeic dermatitis. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a type of inflammatory condition of the scalp that can result in both permanent and temporary hair loss.

In a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, it was concluded that in males with hair loss in the vertex area of the scalp, the combination of 5% hexane extract of Curcuma aeruginosa and 5% minoxidil slowed hair loss and increased the growth of hair. [28] According to another study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, the extract of Curcuma aeruginosa is a 5 alpha-reductase antagonist and can be used to treat hair loss. [29] So, there is evidence that turmeric can help with hair loss but not in a manner that is easy to replicate for use in a home remedy.

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13. Does Turmeric Treat Eczema?

Eczema—also referred to as atopic dermatitis—is a type of chronic condition of the skin that is characterized by inflamed, red, itchy areas of the skin that are covered by scales and crusts. Turmeric might be helpful in improving the symptoms and signs of eczema.

A systematic review published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that turmeric/curcumin products and supplements, taken both orally and topically, may provide therapeutic benefits in different conditions of the skin including atopic dermatitis. [30] A study published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences concluded that topical application of pennywort, walnut, and turmeric is beneficial in treating eczema. [31]

14. Can Turmeric Prevent Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is characterized by the presence of three or more watery, loose stools in one day. Turmeric may help lessen the symptoms of diarrhea. It can also help related symptoms of conditions such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. According to a study published in the journal Parasitology Research, extracts of Curcuma longa may represent effective and natural therapeutic alternatives with minimal side effects and without drug resistance in the treatment of giardiasis, which is one of the most common parasitic diarrheas in humans. [32]

Another study published in the Journal of Animal Science demonstrated that dietary plant extracts including turmeric alleviate diarrhea and alter the immune responses of weaned pigs experimentally infected with a pathogenic E. coli. [33]

A study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences concluded that therapy with curcumin was associated with rapid and complete resolution of diarrhea, substantial weight gain, and improvement in bloating and abdominal pain in patients with HIV-associated diarrhea. [34] If it helps in a worst-case scenario like that, it can probably help you too.

15. Does Turmeric Treat Gout?

Gout is a kind of arthritis that results due to an accumulation of uric acid in your system, either because it can’t be excreted properly or because there is excess production. Usually, the big toe joint is affected and becomes inflamed and painful. Turmeric may help in treating gout due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

According to a study published in the Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, turmeric was shown to have significant anti-gout activity due to both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in potassium oxonate treated rats. [35] Turmeric has been recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center for treatment of inflammation in gout. [36]

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16. Can Turmeric Be Used for Hair Removal?

Turmeric has long been used as a beauty aid and to inhibit the growth of hair and remove unwanted hair. It is very effective in removing fine hair from the skin. According to a 2014 study, turmeric (or a composition containing turmeric) is applied to the skin treatment area that is subjected to standard stripping procedures such as sugaring or waxing.

The composition is partially deposited into the generally empty hair follicles and cuts off the blood supply necessary for new hair growth. After a while, the turmeric may be wiped off the surface of the skin and some oil may be applied to help the healing process. Multiple treatments of hair stripping and application of turmeric may result in the breakdown of hair follicles, thereby preventing hair from growing again. [37] Visit this site to view a method to use turmeric as a hair removing agent.

17. Is Turmeric a Remedy for Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterized by widespread pain in the body, a constant feeling of fatigue, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Turmeric has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to alleviate pain due to arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

According to research, curcumin helps in fighting inflammation. Natural COX-2 inhibitors are present in turmeric. They do not create the side effects caused by using synthetic COX-2 inhibitors but do help in reducing inflammation and pain as well as increasing mobility. Little research is available on the effects of turmeric on fibromyalgia but, due its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving characteristics, it may be useful to treat the pain and inflammation associated with the disease.

According to a review in the journal Nutrigenomics and Proteomics in Health and Disease, fibromyalgia is associated with increased systemic inflammation. [38] Although no studies of treatment with polyphenols have yet been undertaken, there are good reasons to assume that this category of patients could benefit from treatment with curcuminoids. [39] That said, the research support for treating fibromyalgia with turmeric is very skimpy.

18. Is Turmeric a Treatment for Acne Scars?

Turmeric has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis. According to a study published in the Journal of Trauma, turmeric was one of the dietary compounds that inhibited proliferation and contraction of keloid and hypertrophic scar-derived fibroblasts in vitro. [40]

According to another study published in the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration, pure curcumin, when administered systemically in rabbits, significantly promotes nonischemic wound healing and reduces hypertrophic scarring. [41] These studies didn’t use adult humans as subjects, but there is some preliminary support for this use of turmeric. More research is needed here.

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19. Is Turmeric a Treatment for Sciatica?

Sciatica pain is usually caused as a result of a herniated disc, which presses on the sciatic nerve causing inflammation, pain, and tenderness. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties which act to relieve swelling and pain due to sciatica, as well as other kinds of pain in the lower back. According to a study published in the journal Anesthesiology, curcumin successfully prevented the development of neuropathic pain.

It also significantly attenuated mechanical allodynia in established neuropathic pain. The possible mechanism of curcumin-induced analgesia was through suppression of activation of ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) and JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase) in the spinal cord. [42]

According to another study published in the journal Annals of Plastic Surgery, an experimental comparison of the effects of curcumin and methylprednisolone on crush injuries of the sciatic nerve in rats found that curcumin had a positive effect on nerve crush injuries. [43] A study published in the Journal of Biological Sciences concluded that Curcuma longa extract has a neuroprotective effect on peripheral nerve degeneration after sciatic nerve compression in rats. [44] So again, there is some evidence but mostly in rats at this point.

20. Can Turmeric Help with Constipation?

According to a study published in the Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry, turmeric has been used since ancient times in the Indian subcontinent to treat various diseases, one of them being constipation. [45]

Turmeric can ease intestinal ailments and has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine to treat indigestion and constipation. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric can even relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and help keep it in remission.

Another 2000 study stated that turmeric could be taken orally to treat constipation as well as liver and stomach disorders. [46] According to an article published in the journal Practice Nursing, historically the British used turmeric as one of the ingredients of a laxative preparation to cure constipation. [47]

Use for this purpose since ancient times isn’t proof that it works, although it often turns out that ancient remedies do work to some extent. There isn’t enough science to say this is one of those instances. There are also a lot of other natural remedies for constipation like senna tea and aloe vera juice.

21. Is Turmeric a Remedy for a Toothache?

Due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-microbial properties, turmeric has many uses in dentistry. According to a study published in the Open Access Journal of Dental Sciences, turmeric may help to reduce pain and inflammation caused by dental abscesses.

Turmeric can also help to strengthen overall oral health. [48] According to an article published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research, massaging the aching teeth with roasted, ground turmeric eliminates pain and swelling in the tooth. [49]

22. Can Turmeric Help Lower Cholesterol?

According to recent research, turmeric may be one of the best ways to lower cholesterol naturally. It has been proven that curcumin prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol and lowers LDL levels. It also helps in suppressing build-up of plaque in the arteries. It appears that turmeric has the ability to prevent the production of cholesterol in the liver, block the absorption of cholesterol from the gut, and reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the walls of the arteries.

According to a study published in Scientia Pharmaceutica, curcumin has potential use as an alternative therapeutic compound to treat hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). [50] Another study published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease concluded that the strong phenolic contents and radical scavenging activity of Curcuma zedoaria roscoe play a protective role against hypercholesterolemic and lipidemic conditions. [51]

A study published in the journal Natural Product Research stated that curcuminoids showed superior antioxidant activity in hypercholesterolemic rabbits. [52] Another study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology suggested that turmeric powder, along with sulfur, could reduce weight gain, alter body fat deposition, and improve serum and liver lipid profiles in rats fed with a high-fat diet. [53] Hence, there is significant evidence that turmeric is an excellent remedy for high cholesterol.

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23. Is Turmeric a Good Remedy for Rosacea?

Rosacea is a persistent and chronic skin condition that is characterized by redness and inflammation of the skin on the nose, chin, cheeks, forehead, or eyelids. Often small pimples are also produced along with prominent blood vessels.

According to a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, it was found that natural ingredients such as turmeric containing anti-inflammatory properties might have potential therapeutic properties to treat erythema induced by conditions such as rosacea. [54]

According to an article published at skintherapyletter.com, turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin have demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental animal models. [55] The evidence that turmeric can generally help with skin conditions is strong, but the evidence that it effectively treats rosacea specifically is thin. More research is needed on this.

24. Does Turmeric Help with Asthma?

Asthma is a common disease of the upper respiratory system that affects many people. It leads to difficulty in breathing and results in inflammation of the lining of the airways and lungs. Turmeric, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, helps in clearing the mucus from the airways and soothes the inflammation and irritation resulting from blocked airways.

According to a study published in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of C. longa extract and its constituent curcumin were observed in animal models for asthma, which suggests a therapeutic potential for the plant and it’s constituent on asthma. [56]

Another study published in the journal International Immunopharmacology concluded that intranasal administration of curcumin prevented accumulation of inflammatory cells in the airways, structural alterations and remodeling associated with chronic asthma such as peribronchial and airway smooth muscle thickening, sloughing off of the epithelial lining, and mucus secretion in an ovalbumin-induced murine model of chronic asthma. [57]

Yet another study published in the journal Inflammation suggested that curcumin can prevent the development and deterioration of allergic airway inflammation, which may be a possible therapeutic option for allergic asthma. [58] The evidence here seems strong enough, but the methods of administration are not easy to replicate in home remedies.

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25. Does Turmeric Help with Thyroid Conditions?

Turmeric has been found to be beneficial for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial in controlling autoimmune conditions. Specifically, curcumin may produce an anti-inflammatory effect by controlling the Th-1 cytokines (TNF-A, IL-1, 2, 6, 8,12) that may be overactive in the thyroid condition Hashimoto’s.

Curcumin has also been found to be beneficial in thyroid carcinoma. In a study published in the journal Experimental Cell Research, the findings of the study provide new evidence that the anti-metastatic and anti-EMT activities of curcumin may contribute to the development of chemopreventive agents for thyroid cancer treatment. [59]

According to another study published in the journal Food and Function, curcumin has shown potent inhibitory effects on the cell growth of thyroid cancer cells. [60] Also, in a study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, turmeric use is associated with reduced goitrogenesis. [61] A study published in the journal Food Chemistry concluded that curcumin might be an effective tumoristatic agent for the treatment of aggressive papillary thyroid carcinomas. [62]

So, there is reasonable evidence here but many of the studies focused on cancer or Hashimoto’s specifically.

26. Is Turmeric a Remedy for Hemorrhoids?

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential treatment for hemorrhoids, as they are characterized by inflammation of veins inside the rectum and around the anus.

According to a 2000 study, turmeric can be used to treat hemorrhoids. [63] Another study published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology states that turmeric has been extensively studied in modern medicine and Indian systems of medicine for the treatment of various medical conditions such as hemorrhoids. [64] According to a 2004 study turmeric is a part of a chemical composition that is used as a treatment to relieve symptoms of many ailments, including hemorrhoids. [65]

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27. Can Turmeric Prevent or Treat Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer results when there is the formation of malignant cells in the prostate gland of a male. According to researchers, turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin may help in the prevention or treatment of prostate cancer. Turmeric has anti-cancerous properties that help stop the growth and spread of cancerous cells.

A comprehensive review published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition focused mainly on the different anti-cancer uses of curcumin including those for prostate cancer. The review states that turmeric holds a mixture of a strong bioactive molecule known as curcuminoids that have the ability to reduce cancerous tumors at initial, promotion, and progression stages of tumor development. [66]

Another study published in the journal Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters identified two new curcumin monocarbonyl-1,2,3-triazole conjugate compounds with more potent activity than curcumin against breast and prostate cancers. [67] Results from a study published in the journal PloS One indicate that alpha-tomatine in combination with curcumin may be an effective strategy for inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer. [68]

28. Is Turmeric Useful in Treating Folliculitis?

Turmeric may be an effective treatment for folliculitis. It can be used both externally and internally for this condition. Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, there’s a case that it could help relieve both fungal and bacterial folliculitis. According to the article “Use of Plant Based Medicaments in Treatment of Skin Diseases,” turmeric has been found useful in treating boils, urticaria, and chronic skin eruptions. [70] As you can see though, the science on this isn’t robust thus far.

29. Can Turmeric Treat Neuropathy?

One of the most widely accepted properties of turmeric is its ability to control and relieve pain. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties as it inhibits inflammatory molecules in the body such as C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF). According to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, curcumin can suppress pro-inflammatory pathways linked with most chronic diseases. It can block both the production and the action of TNF. Curcumin also binds to TNF directly. [71]

According to another study published in Brain, a journal of neurology, curcumin derivatives promote Schwann cell differentiation and improve neuropathy in R98C CMT1B mice. [72] Yet another study, this one published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, concluded that curcumin attenuates diabetic neuropathic pain by downregulating TNF-alpha in a rat model. [73] A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research indicates an antinociceptive activity of resveratrol and curcumin and points towards the beneficial effect of these combinations with insulin in attenuating diabetic neuropathic pain. [74]

Finally, a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences concluded that curcumin possessed multiple actions in the brain. It may be a future drug of therapy for the treatment of various neurological disorders including diabetic neuropathy. [75]

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30. Does White Turmeric Help Skin Conditions?

The wild white turmeric is scientifically referred to as Curcuma aromatica. It is also known by other names including mango ginger, kasturi manjal or amba haldi. It does not cause yellow staining of the skin like the regular yellow turmeric.

White turmeric is utilized for several beauty purposes including facial hair removal, reduction of acne and wrinkles, and to treat uneven tone of facial skin. According to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, white turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is used in treating furunculosis. [76]

A study published in the journal Bio Med Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that white turmeric has been traditionally used to treat skin ailments. The study also concluded that the plant has one or more secondary metabolites that have central and peripheral analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. [77] All in all, the evidence specifically related to white turmeric is skimpy but other skin uses elsewhere in this article show turmeric to be a well-supported treatment for skin conditions generally.

31. Is Turmeric an Antibacterial Substance?

Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric that also gives turmeric its characteristic bright yellow color, has anti-microbial properties. [78] In a study published in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, it was concluded that curcumin/gelatin microspheres/porous collagen-cellulose nanocrystals scaffolds could act as an effective dermal regeneration template for full-thickness burn wound infection healing in rat models. [79] A study reported in the Journal of Proteomics suggests that curcumin is a potent, natural, and food-grade antimicrobial compound. [80]

Another study published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules states that coated cotton cloth with curcumin nanocomposite showed antibacterial efficiency against bacterial species present in wounds. [81] Still another study published in the Journal of Tropical Medicine states that curcumin has a high potential to be developed into an antibiotic against S. aureus and other bacterial strains. [82] So yes, turmeric is an antibacterial.

32. Does Turmeric Have Antifungal Properties?

As already discussed, turmeric has antimicrobial properties; it is both antibacterial and antifungal. According to an article published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, turmeric oil has been found useful in treating dermatophytes, pathogenic molds, and yeast infection. [83] A study published in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research indicates the effective and possible use of a curcumin bioadhesive monolithic vaginal tablet for vaginal candidiasis as a promising natural antifungal treatment. [84]

According to a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, curcumin’s potent antifungal activity against different strains of Candida, Cryptococcus, Aspergillus, Trichosporon, and Paracoccidioides have been reported. [85] According to another study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, the combination therapy of curcumin and fluconazole was the most effective among the treatments tested against Cryptococcus gattii-induced cryptococcosis infections in mice. [86] So, again, yes turmeric is an antifungal.

That answers the questions we’ve received so far on what turmeric can be used to treat. If you have more questions you’d like us to address, leave them in the comments at the bottom of this page and we’ll keep on researching them for you.

Now that we know more about the various uses of turmeric, let’s turn to a discussion of how to use turmeric in the most effective ways.

Increasing the Potency of Turmeric

Turmeric can be made more potent by combining it with other complementary substances. Here are some ideas for making your turmeric work even harder for you.

1. Coconut Oil and Turmeric

Turmeric, when combined with coconut oil, can help in treating inflammatory acne. According to a study conducted in Taiwan, it was discovered that a combination of lauric acid and curcumin was effective in killing the bacteria causing acne. As you know by now, curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and to enhance your knowledge further, let us share that lauric acid is found in coconut oil.

Coconut oil has been shown to be the most effective carrier for curcumin to go into the cells of the skin. The lauric acid and curcumin work synergistically in inhibiting the growth of acne. Mix ½ tsp of fresh turmeric powder with some virgin coconut oil and make a paste. Apply this paste to the affected skin and leave for some time (15-20 minutes). Rinse with lukewarm water and then apply a light moisturizer. [87]

2. Turmeric and Lemon

Turmeric has well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Lemon is an astringent and helps in cleansing the skin. You can combine both and apply on your skin to remove blemishes, even skin tone, and lighten scars. The mixture can even help fade tanning from the sun. It is also a good remedy to clear acne from the face. You can drink warm lemon water with some turmeric mixed in it, which can help in fighting inflammation and cancer.

According to a study published in the journal BioMed Research International, turmeric and its constituent curcumin may be proved very effective therapeutics in the management of cancers. [88] According to another study published in the AAPS Journal, turmeric has shown promising effects in various pro-inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, uveitis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, tropical pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcer, peptic ulcer, psoriasis, acute coronary syndrome, atherosclerosis, diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, renal conditions, cholecystitis, and chronic bacterial prostatitis. [89]

A study published in the Chemistry Central Journal states the benefits of citrus fruits. It concludes that citrus fruits have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties and cardioprotective and neuroprotective effects. [90] Mix some lemon juice, honey, and turmeric into a cup of warm water and enjoy in the morning.

3. Turmeric and Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a medicine. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It helps in the release of certain minerals and vitamins from the foods we ingest, including iron. You can prepare a delicious tonic of apple cider vinegar and turmeric combining the benefits of both to a single tonic. You can also make a turmeric and apple cider vinegar face mask and apply it to your face to clear acne and get blemish free skin. [91]

4. Turmeric Coffee

The popularity of turmeric is on the rise due to its many health benefits. Coffee is also increasingly recognized as having a number of health benefits as well. The biggest fad when it comes to turmeric’s uses is the turmeric latte or turmeric coffee that is gaining popularity the world over. According to British health consultant Louise Ramsden, to make turmeric coffee, steep the dried root of turmeric in boiling water, strain it, and add some honey and milk to it. You can add cinnamon and ginger as an option. [92] For a recipe take a look at the following video:

Ways to Take Turmeric

There are many ways to take turmeric. Because it has so many great health and beauty uses, there are many products on the market that allow you to use turmeric in different ways to suit your needs. Aside from supplements in pill form, turmeric can be taken in the following forms:

1. Organic Turmeric

Organic turmeric is any turmeric that is grown without using artificial manure, pesticides etc. Organic farming is based on methods which use natural compost and biological methods for pest control instead of spraying harmful pesticides on the crops. These artificial pesticides can cause health problems when they enter your body. Usually, organic turmeric is more expensive than non-organic turmeric. To identify whether the turmeric you are buying is genuine organic or not look for a USDA certification of organic on it. [93]

2. Turmeric Essential Oil

Similar to powdered turmeric, turmeric essential oil or turmeric oil also has anti-allergic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antifungal and antiviral properties. It is a strong balancer and relaxant. Turmeric essential oil has multiple benefits.

According to a study published in the journal Biofactors, curcumin combined with turmerones (essential oil components of turmeric) treated inflammation-associated mouse colon carcinogenesis. [94] Thus it may help treat colon cancer.

It may also help prevent neurological diseases. According to a study published in the journal The Truth About Cancer, aromatic turmerone (found in the underground stem or turmeric) constitutes a promising candidate to support regeneration in neurologic disease. [95] According to a study published in the journal PLoS One, turmeric oil has anticonvulsant properties and therefore the potential to treat epilepsy. [96]

According to a 2012 study, aromatic turmerone significantly inhibited TPA-induced invasion, migration, and colony formation in human breast cancer cells. [97] It may also help in relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. According to results from a research study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, supplementation with BCM-95 curcumin reduces symptoms of both anxiety and depression. BCM-95 contains curcumin and turmeric essential oil. [98]

3. Meriva Curcumin

Meriva curcumin is a patented delivery form of curcumin. According to a study published on www.altmedrev.com, Meriva has been found to be efficacious for long-term complementary management of osteoarthritis. Both the symptoms and inflammatory markers in the patients taking Meriva were improved in comparison to the control group during the study. [99]

4. Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine

Though turmeric has multiple health benefits, it is not soluble in water. Moreover, it also has very poor bioavailability. This implies that your body is not able to absorb it on its own, even if it is consumed in the recommended dosage. According to studies, it has been suggested that bioavailability of turmeric can be greatly increased by combining it with Bioperine, which is a trademarked type of piperine, the main ingredient in black pepper. When piperine was added to curcumin, the bioavailability of curcumin was increased to 2,000% in humans after 45 minutes of consumption of both piperine and curcumin. [100]

5. Turmeric Tonic

To prepare herbal turmeric tonic, all you need is a 2” piece of fresh turmeric, one lemon (peeled), a pinch of black pepper, and one orange (peeled). Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend to form a puree. You can add water to it if desired. Enjoy fresh for major health benefits. It helps in boosting immunity due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.

Curcumin regulates multiple processes that are linked to inflammation and therefore help in fighting off autoimmune diseases, allergies, diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other chronic disorders. [101, 102] Research also indicates that turmeric reduces the development of malignant tumors. [103] It has also been shown to improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. [104]

6. Turmeric Soaps

Turmeric soap is one of the best kinds of soaps you can use to nourish and revitalize your skin. It helps in treating acne naturally. It exfoliates your skin gently and stimulates circulation of the blood. It acts as a natural anti-bacterial and moisturizer. It helps in relieving various skin conditions, including psoriasis and eczema. It reduces facial hair growth and skin pigmentation.

7. Turmeric Tea Bags

According to studies done at the University of California, curcumin present in turmeric tea can decrease the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, a study done on the elderly residing in the villages of India found that the incidence of Alzheimer’s among them is lowest in the world. To prepare turmeric tea, boil 4 cups of water. Add 1 tsp of turmeric to it. Let the concoction simmer on reduced heat for at least 10 minutes. Strain and add lemon and honey for taste. [105]

8. Turmeric Face Cream

Turmeric is also an ingredient of various face creams that are available over-the-counter. It helps in reducing the oiliness of the skin, delays the aging process of skin, and fades the hyperpigmentation or dark spots from the skin.

9. Turmeric Cleanse

Turmeric can help in cleansing your body of the toxins and also help in detoxification of your liver. According to the health experts at the University of Maryland Medical Center, the production of bile by the liver is stimulated by curcumin present in turmeric. The liver uses bile to eliminate toxins. You can take turmeric in several ways, ranging from a capsule to mixing it with different foods. The University of Maryland recommends taking between 400 and 600 mg in powdered form three times daily or between 30 and 90 drops daily of fluid extract. [106]

Turmeric Side Effects

As with any substance, turmeric has possible side effects. Some individuals have reported allergic reactions, especially after applying turmeric to the skin. This is typically experienced as a mild rash that is itchy.

Additionally, higher doses of turmeric could cause the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea or loose stools
  • Nausea
  • Raised risk of bleeding
  • Raised LFTs or liver function tests
  • Lower blood pressure or hypotension
  • An increased flow of menstrual blood
  • Contractions of the uterus in pregnant females
  • Contractions of the gallbladder

Persons on certain medicines should also use turmeric with caution, whether in food or as a supplement. Turmeric may interfere with the action of anticoagulants such as aspirin, warfarin, and clopidogrel. It can also affect the action of medicines including NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you are using it in combination with another supplement or herb, use it as directed on the label. [107]


Turmeric is a golden spice that has myriad of benefits for humans. We have tried to include as much information about the spice as possible in this article. We hope that you have enjoyed our summary of turmeric’s benefits and it has enhanced your knowledge about turmeric. If you have more questions or concerns, please share them below in the comments section.


About the author

Ritu Goel

Dr. Ritu Goel is a homeopathic physician and a certified nutritionist who graduated from the Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery program at Delhi University. She also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital and Health Care Management from Symbiosis University. She is also certified in dietetics and nutrition. Dr. Goel worked for more than 10 years in the health care industry as a physician and fitness and nutrition expert. She is currently working as a dietitian and a nutritionist in a private practice. She also works as a freelance writer on various aspects of health, fitness and nutrition.

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Rick - April 10, 2018

I agree, Turmeric is a great supplement. I take a daily multi-vitamin along with Vitamin D. I added a Turmeric capsule to my daily regimen, but didn’t like taking yet another pill in the morning.

I make a daily smoothie and found a great way to take Turmeric. I buy Turmeric in capsule form. To take it, I just open the capsule into my Vitamix container, and blend it up with my smoothie. The flavor of Turmeric is mild and really isn’t noticeable.

Aika - May 4, 2019

This is very informative! I didn’t know turmeric could have so many health benefits. I think it’s a must-have for every household. It really does some great wonder to our bodies.

Dubem - May 22, 2022

I am currently conducting a research on turmeric and your site has offered me an ample opportunity to learn much about this plant.

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