Turmeric is a spice most popularly associated with yellow curries and mustard sauce. But it is not known to many people that for many centuries, turmeric was also widely used for its medicinal properties. In traditional Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, turmeric is touted as the best natural remedy for various ailments.
These days, you will find turmeric supplements, a turmeric drink, and similar products marketed for their supposed anti-inflammatory, and pain relief effects. In addition to these claims, turmeric is also said to potentially heal skin allergies, heartburn, ulcer, and gallstones. But it is essential to understand that there are limited clinical trials to support these claims.
Medicinal properties of turmeric
The turmeric plant contains hundreds of compounds including ascorbic acid, iron, calcium, beta-carotene, and many other nutrients. But the active component of turmeric, which is being studied for medicinal properties is curcumin.
While studies proving the supposed benefits of curcumin are few, there are some initial findings to support these claims. For example, there were studies conducted to determine if turmeric is effective in treating ulcers. There were also studies connecting the possible effects of curcumin in treating and preventing cancer. Initial results and findings suggest a positive association between curcumin and treating these conditions, but these are not clinical trials that can indeed substantiate the claims.
One of the well-known applications of turmeric is to treat inflammation. As a health condition, inflammation is associated with many illnesses. In 2006, a study showed that turmeric is not only effective in reducing inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, but it is also useful in preventing these symptoms.
There are also studies dedicated to proving the anti-oxidant properties of turmeric. Unfortunately, human clinical trials have yet to be conducted to consider turmeric a viable treatment for these conditions.
Are turmeric supplements safe?
When consumed in food or through natural concoctions like tea, turmeric is generally safe. However, you need to take extra precautions when taking turmeric supplements, especially in larger doses. For example, you will find capsules containing up to 500 milligrams of turmeric. People who are taking active medication against high blood pressure should also note that turmeric has a blood-thinning effect. In case you are getting prepped for surgery, turmeric may cause bleeding.
If you are taking other supplements and medication for specific medical conditions, turmeric may have a counter-effect when taken in large doses. Make sure to consult your physician first before including turmeric supplements in your regular health regimen.
The FDA does not strictly regulate the turmeric supplements available in the market. Since the FDA cannot review food supplements for effectiveness and safety, there is no guarantee regarding product quality. That said, it does not mean you cannot find a reputable turmeric supplement manufacturer.
Anytime you are looking into buying these products online; you need to conduct some research. Find out more about the manufacturer, and read product reviews if available. Check if the manufacturer publishes a detailed report of the ingredients used in manufacturing their products. Look for accredited lab reports and third-party tests conducted to support the safety and effectiveness claims of these turmeric supplements.