Spices and herbs

Is Turmeric a Herb- What are it’s benefits?

Spread the love

There’s a hype around turmeric and it’s benefits. This herb has been purported as a cure-all especially by the traditional medical system and by modern medicine.

According to research turmeric has been in use for thousands of years. It is native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

This plant belongs to the “ginger family and its roots are used for cooking as a culinary herb and traditional medicine”. It is also used by modern medicine in the form of supplements.

This herb is used as a spice especially in Indian cuisine. It can be used “fresh or dried and ground into a powder and used as a dye and coloring agent” among other things.

It is said that Indians produce almost all the turmeric crop in the world but consume 80% of it. Indian turmeric is considered the best in the world due to the high content of curcumin present in the herb.

Curcumin is a bioactive compound that is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is also responsible for the deep yellow color of this herb.

Despite all these benefits present in turmeric, curcumin has been reported to have a lower level of absorption in the human body.

Some studies suggest that when it’s combined with black pepper, its absorption may be increased from the digestive tract into the bloodstream.

Should turmeric be considered a superfood? Well, the proof is in the scientific evidence. We will find that out in a short while.

Turmeric Is Anti-Inflammatory and Also Increases Antioxidant Enzymes In The Body, According To Research

“An antioxidant is a compound that prevents cell oxidation caused by free radicals and is present mostly in vegetables and fruits, among other plant-based foods”. Free radicals can trigger oxidative stress and cause cell damage, according to research.

Oxidative stress is thought to “play a major part in a variety of diseases including, “metabolic syndrome, diabetes, dementia, atherosclerosis, cancer, arthritis” and other age-related diseases”

Curcumin, on the other hand, is thought to have antioxidant effects and is also anti-inflammatory as stated above.

According to research “it helps in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia

It may help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and soreness”

It is said that curcumin is not properly absorbed in the digestive tract. This is the reason for it’s “poor bioavailability as it can be quickly metabolized and eliminated from the body”

However, all is not lost, as peperine, a component found in black pepper is thought to have the ability to activate the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric so that we may benefit from this plant nutrient.

How does Turmeric Benefit Skin Health?

Everyone feels good when they have healthy and glowing skin. Turmeric with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties is thought to have a positive impact on skin health.

The skin as the largest organ of the body is reported to be the first line of defense against pathogens like bacteria and the damage due to sunlight exposure, among other factors. Click here for more information about the best foods for skin health.

“Studies have suggested that curcumin has protective effects against skin-damaging chemicals and environmental pollutants” – Medical News Today

Curcumin protects the skin by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation through nuclear factor-KB inhibition”

Turmeric Has Been Found To Boost Brain And Memory

According to Medical News Today, the study published in the American Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry, suggest the daily intake of the bioavailable form of curcumin, may provide brain benefits and help improve memory and attention over time in adults who doesn’t suffer from dementia.

“An eight week randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study was conducted to examine the effects of curcumin in patients with schizophrenia, also assessing the BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels, among other things.

It was found that curcumin could increase BDNF levels and improve cognitive performance.

Turmeric May Elevate Mood And Benefit Those with Depression

Curcumin in turmeric is thought to have potential health benefits due to its inflammatory qualities and antioxidant content.

Experts say there’s a “Strong link between the inflammation in the body and depression, and that curcumin had influenced several biological mechanisms including inflammation in previous studies”

“Dr. Adrian Lopresti from the school of psychology and Exercise Science studied the effects of curcumin, the medicinal compound which gives turmeric its distinctive yellow color, in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 56 volunteers with major depressive disorder.

Half were treated with patented curcumin extract (500 milligrams twice daily) and the other half took a placebo for eight weeks”

“From week four to eight of the study, Lopresti found that curcumin was significantly more effective than placebo in improving several mood-related symptoms in volunteers.

The compound had even greater efficacy in a small subgroup of individuals with atypical depression, which can be characterized by weight gain and increased appetite and hypersomnia” – MedicalXpress

According to Dr. Lopresti, “a strong evidence is required to recommend curcumin as the first line of treatment for depression”

Turmeric Has Been Touted As A Superfood, Does it Have Side Effects?

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years on various diseases and as a culinary spice especially in Asia and has gained popularity.

Ethiopia among other countries has adopted the use of the herb in their cuisine.

Curcumin has been touted as some kind of “superhero” “Surely it works synergistically with other phytonutrients present in the herb”

Nonetheless, “turmeric has been reported to be safe in many human studies”. It is thought to have negative side effects such as skin rash, diarrhea, yellow stool, nausea, and headache when taken in excess.

The Final Thoughts

Turmeric, a herb mostly used by Indians has been reported to have some health benefits, especially by Traditional Medical systems.

Although some research suggests that a holistic approach needs to be taken to investigate turmeric herb as a whole as opposed to just focusing on curcumin, a compound extracted from turmeric.

Nonetheless, curcumin is thought to be anti-inflammatory and is high in antioxidant that is thought to fight off oxidative stress and manage inflammation in the body.

Curcumin is said to have poor bioavailability as a result it is poorly absorbed and is quickly metabolized and eliminated from the bloodstream.

Well, despite all that, it has been suggested that when turmeric is combined with black pepper, this can increase the bioavailability of curcumin so that we may gain from its potential benefits.

It’s worth noting that curcumin is only 3% of the turmeric weight. The spice alone will not provide all the benefits mentioned above as you can only use a small amount to give your food flavor. Otherwise, participants in the study were treated with 500 mg of curcumin twice daily. Nonetheless, every bit counts.

Using too much of the herb is not ideal either given the intense color it possesses, besides too much of anything is not good.

I thank you for taking the time to read this article if it is useful at all kindly leave your comment and/or opinion or question in the comment section below.


Similar Posts


  1. Hi Maggie,

    This is a really interesting article as I had never heard of Turmeric. I would definitely say that this was a herb, and could definitely make our Indian food that we make at home a bit healthier. I really liked the section when you talk about improving brain power an memory, this is something I for sure would like to improve.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the amazing work on your site.

    All the best,


  2. Is turmeric a herb what are its benefits is a very important article everyone needs to read, I am big into using herbs before medications and you have provided such good information I am planning on adding turmeric to my herbs for even more health benefits.

    Thank you for sharing about turmeric,

  3. Coincidently I was just talking to my mom about herbs and the benefits of using them. I mentioned Tumeric but I didn’t know much about it and it’s benefits. I am surprised that it provides brain and memory benefits and I am super excited to have read about this today in your post. I know what I will be purchasing next time I am in the grocery store. Thanks for the information, keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you for your comment Melissa. Yes, Turneric has been reported to be among the healthiest herbs we can benefit from.

      Thanks for the visit.

  4. Thank you for writing this detailed article. Absolutely beautiful. I love I use turmeric I use it in most of my dishes it so lovely and appetising when mixed with other vegetables. The healthy benefits are great too. I drink it at night as it help me with sleep works like magic.

  5. I love love turmeric! Knowing its amazing health benefits I love it even more! I’ve grown up having having it my curries. I also use it to make golden milk as well as I add to my ginger, honey and lemon tea when I’m under the weather a little. Buying organic turmeric would be awesome!

  6. Wow so far I’ve known about some benefits of using turmeric, but this article taught me of so much more. Thank you for this very interesting and informative article.

  7. I simply love Turmeric. Apart from all the health benefits, it is delicious. We eat it a lot. And I mean a LOT. 🙂
    Great article! Thanks.

  8. Hey Maggie,
    So glad to have read this. My mom has been telling me about the many benefits of turmeric since I was a child! Coming from a south east asian background, you already probably know how often we use this little spice lol. We literally live and breathe it in practically everything.. but of, course, in moderation! Anyways, after reading your article, everything my mom ever told me has been reaffirmed and she will be so happy to know this.
    One thing I did not know, however was the benefits of turmeric because of its “curcumin” content. This was a new thing i just learned and thank your for that info!
    Oh and I want to mention, just like you did, that use this superfood in very small quantity because a little really does go a long way. I once added too much turmeric to a face pack and it made my face turn yellow.. NO KIDDING! it took days to get over the yellow tint. lol. never doing that again! haha

    1. 🤣🤣🤣, Sasha, thank you so much for making my day.

      I’m already imagining how your face looked like with a yellow-orange complexion.
      Thanks for the heads up, I was looking to make my own concoction for face mask. Now I know that I need to add just a little bit of turmeric. I must say I have seen what a strong color turmeric has. It can spoil your clothes too if you’re not careful especially white clothes

      I’ve really enjoyed your comment. Some commentators here will probably find it hilarious too.

      Keep well

  9. I have heard so many great thing about turmeric I think it is definitely something we could all benefit from having more of in our diets, it’s anti inflammatory benefits seem pretty well known and it can help with many ailments, one thing I do know is it stains your cooking utensils pretty bad, do you know of any tips to prevent this or get the stains out?

    1. Hi Amy

      Thanks for your comment and your question. I can imagine the frustration it causes especially when you cannot remove the stains. I use stainless steel utensils instead when I use turmeric but I did find this out for you and I’m not sure how effective it is, though

      I hear that when you “soak utensils in hot water mixed with acidic substance like lime juice or white vinegar over night” and wash them the following day, it does the trick. You can check this link out for more details.


      I hope this helps you you to solve this issue.

  10. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Maggie! I regular use Turmeric, and I definitely agree that it provides a wide range of health benefits (it specifically gives me more energy and helps me to sleep better at night). I’m always careful not to consume too much of it, as going to the bathroom every 5 minutes is not cute (or fun). Haha Great read! I have saved your site and will definitely share it with my friends and family! God bless you!

    1. Thanks C.N for reading the article and finding it useful. At one point I used a bit more of turmeric on the food, mistakenly. I tell you, the colour was too much, the taste too. It caused my mother some abdominal pain. Thankfully the pain didn’t last long.#lesson learned. Haha

  11. Hi Maggie,

    I was wondering, do you recommend trying to eat more turmeric in our everyday diet, or should we take a supplement instead?

    You mentioned that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is very poorly absorbed by the body. But if we eat it with black pepper, it can be more effective.

    Looking at it from a cost point of view, it seems to me that eating more turmeric is much more affordable, but would it really benefit your health?

    Thanks for writing this article. It’s very interesting.


    1. Thanks for your questions Michael.

      Research show that when curcumin is taken with black pepper(peperine) the absorption of curcumin can be increased, however, the studies were performed using curcumin extracted from the herb.

      Curcumin is only 3 % of turmeric weight. Considering that we only only use just a small amount of turmeric on the food, we may have small benefit but it won’t be as effective compared to the supplements.

      One study shows that some people who participated in the study were treated with patented curcumin extract, taking 500 milligrams of curcumin twice a day, for them to feel the full impact of it.

      I hope this answers your question Micheal. Let me know if it did.

      All the best

  12. I first met turmeric many years ago, in Russia, where I used to live for a couple of years. Not much as a spice, but more as a tincture, used for disinfecting cuts and burns. It always left the skin with a beautiful, noticeable orange color. Since then, I heard it being recommended as a treatment for arthritis. But, above all, I love it for its taste. I started actively using it after I head my first curry, made by a friend from India. Thanks for this information-now I know it’s even beneficial for my health.

    1. Hi Minaher
      Thanks for your comment. Turmeric makes a nice curry. Once you start using it you won’t stop. I use it every day especially on the stew .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *