I receive so many emails asking for basic queries related to turmeric.
This is because most of the readers are new to it.
Rather than answering them individually, I thought I should create a FAQ page to help them.
Based on the queries I receive, I will keep updating the FAQ section with more entries.
If you do not find your answer here, please message us ([email protected]) or comment below and we will try to answer asap.
Turmeric – Frequently Asked Questions
1. About Turmeric – An Overview of the Golden Spice
Turmeric is one of the species of genus Curcuma.
Out of total thirty five species present, turmeric or halad (Curcuma longa ) is the most famous member of genus Curcuma. The species is native to tropical regions of South East Asia.
It has been used for thousands of year in India as a spice and healing agent. It has an important role in ancient medicine system – Ayurveda.
The % of curcumin varies based on where the plant is grown and conditions.
The % of curcumin in turmeric generally is in the range of 2% to 5%.
But it can be even higher in some cases.
Composition of turmeric can vary slightly based on region it is grown. A typical Indian turmeric has the following composition:
- Moisture – 3.1 %
- Protein – 6.3%
- Fat – 5.1%
- Mineral matter – 3.5%
- Fibre – 2.6%
- Carbohydrates – 69.4%
No. Curcumin is not same as turmeric.
Curcumin is one of the key ingredients of turmeric, along with several others.
It is most famous one though and responsible for most of its health benefits.
2. How to Take Turmeric and Dosage
Yes and No.
Turmeric has been used as a spice in India for thousands of years. Most Indian curries require heating the spice along with other ingredients. But research says prolonged heating > 30 min destroys substantial % of curcumin.
Heating for a short span of time would not have that effect. Thus, its best to add turmeric in the end if possible in your recipes.
While turmeric is great for health, it suffers from a big drawback. It cannot be absorbed in body as such and thus most of it is lost.
There are several ways to ensure it is absorbed and we get its benefits. Two most popular ones are:
- Including black pepper while taking turmeric (read more detailed article here>)
- Including fats in your diet (read more detailed article here>)
Both help in ensuring that turmeric actually benefits.
The best way to take turmeric is to make it part of your diet.
This way, you can have turmeric for lifetime and not worry about its side effects.
Do ensure you take black pepper and fats alongside to aid its absoption.
Here are some great turmeric recipes for you>
If you are new to turmeric it is best to start with a low dosage of ½ tsp per day.
As time passes you can take 1-1.5 tsp on a daily basis.
Note this is the quantity you can take for lifetime without any issues. But if you have some health problems, to counter that you can also take higher dosage for a short span of time.
Read a detailed article on dosage here>
Turmeric supplements mainly consist of high % of curcumin.
In most cases, the curcumin is extracted from turmeric and then added back to increase the % of curcumin in the final product.
Most supplements are sold on the basis that curcumin is the only good thing in turmeric, but that is not the case.
Be cautious while buying them.
Read more here>
While curcumin is the most important health promoting ingredient of turmeric but it is not the only one.
Thus, in most cases taking good quality turmeric is better than just taking curcumin.
Read a detailed article on this topic here>
3. Precautions while taking turmeric
Turmeric as a spice is considered extremely safe. 1-1.5 tsp of turmeric a day is considered very safe.
But side effects may happen if:
- You take high dosages of turmeric for a long time
- You are on medication and turmeric interacts with medications
- Certain conditions may be worsened by turmeric – lower BP and kidney stones.
- In pregnancy, do not take supplements and limit dosage as a spice
- Stop taking turmeric before a surgery
Another big issue is use of supplements. Supplements have high % of curcumin and an overdose can cause side effects.
While taking high dosage of turmeric does have side effects. They are generally not serious.
Some of the possible ones are – nausea, upset stomach, heartburn, headache, etc. It can also lower blood sugar and can worsen condition of people prone to bleeding and kidney stones.
Prolonged use of high supplement dosages can cause more severe issues though.
Read more details here>
Mothers in countries such as India take turmeric as part of their diet throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding.
But restrict the dosage and do not take supplements. If you have never taken turmeric before, you may want to start it after pregnancy as it may cause upset stomach
Read this article for more details>
Absolutely no. Turmeric is a health promoter and you reap its real benefits when you take it everyday.
It is not like medication which you need to stop.
Infact taking turmeric daily will prevent you from various disorders by boosting immunity.
Read more about it here>
4. Turmeric and specific disorders
Yes you should.
While many people say a few days. I would be more conservative and go by the book here – 2 weeks.
Turmeric as a spice in limited amounts can be taken safely. But turmeric supplements of large dosage should be avoided by people with gallstones and kidney stones.
Turmeric supplements can worsen the situation.
Supplements can increase risk of kidney stone development in susceptible individuals.
Turmeric is known to help in diabetes in several ways. It is also known to help prevent it. Turmeric as a spice is very safe and millions of people take it.
So in general the answer is yes. (see turmeric benefits in diabetes).
But a word of caution – turmeric is known to decrease blood glucose levels. Hence it should be avoided with diabetic medications which treat hyperglycemia, as together they can lower glucose levels drastically.
It is advised not to take turmeric along with blood thinners as turmeric is known to interact with them.
Read detailed article on turmeric and blood thinners here>