Turmeric, prior to being used in diet, was used as a coloring agent and to prepare dyes.
Thereafter its medicinal properties were discovered and applied and then finally it became famous as a spice.
Today turmeric is a developing as a supplement.
More than turmeric, the focus is on curcumin as a supplement and this leads us to a question Should You Take Turmeric or Curcumin? Which is better? Another version of turmeric that’s been gaining importance is turmeric tincture.
Turmeric tincture is an extract of active compounds found in fresh turmeric prepared primarily in alcohol or glycerine.
So now that it is quite clear that turmeric tincture is a fairly optimized version of turmeric in terms of concentration of active ingredients, then arises this question Should You Take Turmeric or Turmeric Tincture? Which is better?
Table of Contents
- What bioactive ingredients are found in turmeric?
- What are the advantages of taking turmeric tincture?
- What are the advantages of turmeric powder or fresh turmeric over turmeric tincture?
- Should you take turmeric or turmeric tincture?
What bioactive ingredients are found in turmeric?
First and foremost is the curcuminoids. These are a class of compounds that work as great antioxidants and also impart the orange-yellow color to it.
The three important curcuminoids are curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and demethoxycurcumin.
Chemically curcuminoids are known as diarylheptanoids. There are other diarylheptanoids present in turmeric.
Apart from that, there are volatile oil components present in the rhizome. These are chemically known as terpenes.
These are also present in flowers and leaves. They contribute to the aroma of turmeric. Totally in Curcuma longa, there are 68 monoterpenes (31-98), 109 sesquiterpenes(99-207), five diterpenes (208-212), and three triterpenoids.
The essential oil (5% – 8%) obtained from rhizomes has α-phellanderene (1%), sabiene (0.6%), cineol (1%), borneol (0.5%), zingiberene (25%) and sesquiterpines (53%).
Ar-turmerone, alpha-turmerone, and beta-turmerone are major ketonic sesquiterpenes of essential oils, and these compounds may account for at least 40% of essential oils of turmeric rhizomes.
What are the advantages of taking turmeric tincture?
Here are a few advantages of turmeric tincture over turmeric powder preparations:
1. Stability of curcumin
Turmeric tincture prepared in alcohol provides a good ratio of curcumin and volatile compounds.
2. Curcumin content
Research papers show that curcumin content for alcohol extract of turmeric is 10.23% whereas is 3.5% in average turmeric powders. That does not mean the amount of curcumin in milligram is more in alcohol extract of turmeric.
However, for a given dose or equal amounts of the two, alcoholic turmeric extract will provide you with more curcumin.
3. Essential oils content
Essential oils constitute 1.5 to 5% of the rhizome content and this concentration is reduced when making ground turmeric.
However, the alcohol extract of turmeric is rich in volatile oils. Apart from being therapeutic, these compounds ensure good bioavailability of curcumin.
One important advantage of turmeric tincture is convenience.
You can carry it while traveling. You have to take a fairly small dose and still reap therapeutic benefits.
Also, it masks the bitter pungent taste of turmeric and you can include it in your drinks.
Also, chances of adulteration are rare compared to turmeric powder.
What are the advantages of turmeric powder or fresh turmeric over turmeric tincture?
After learning about turmeric tincture’s advantages you must be thinking of it an excellent alternative to turmeric powder or fresh turmeric. But here is what you will be missing.
1. The nutritional content of turmeric
Turmeric contains 69.4% carbohydrates, 6.3% protein, 5.1% fat, 3.5% minerals, and 13.1%. moisture.
It contains vitamins like B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. 2 teaspoon of ground turmeric provides with 4% dietary fibre.
2. Vital minerals in turmeric
Turmeric is a rich source of minerals. 2 teaspoon of turmeric provides you with 17% manganese, 10% iron, 3% copper, 3% potassium. It also provides you with calcium, phosphorous, selenium, sodium and zinc.
You can cook with turmeric powder and include it regularly in your diet which isn’t possible with turmeric tincture.
3. Free from organic solvents
Organic turmeric powder has been through very little processing and unadulterated. It is free from organic solvents and is an excellent option if you can’t tolerate the taste of concentrated alcohol.
4. Bioavailability of curcumin
The per dose concentration of curcumin with turmeric powder is less in comparison with turmeric tincture. So yes you have to take sufficient amount to receive a good amount of curcumin but then its bioavailability can be enhanced with oils and black pepper.
There hasn’t been much research on curcumin’s bioavailability in turmeric tincture though it can be handled by black pepper consumption.
5. Safety and long term use
Fresh turmeric or turmeric powder or dietary turmeric is safe for any duration and for any age group. Dietary turmeric is consumed by Asians regularly irrespective of any disease they suffer from or any medication they consume.
The same cannot be guaranteed with turmeric tincture for it is a fairly concentrated version and can’t be taken on the long term.
Should you take turmeric or turmeric tincture?
However, its use is beneficial for the short term. It is best to consult an herbalist about the dosage of turmeric tincture.
If looking for a preventive measure or if turmeric is a part of your daily life, I would suggest using turmeric powder as Golden Paste and also include it in cooking. Doses up to 8-12g of turmeric powder have been proven to be safe in studies.
For more details on the dosage of turmeric please read Turmeric 101: Beginner’s Guide To Health Benefits, Dosage and Precautions
In real life, dietary turmeric hasn’t been found to cause any side effects. So this is a safe option for long term use.
Turmeric tincture is a concentrated extract of curcumin and volatile oil compounds present in turmeric rhizomes. This makes it useful for chronic conditions and aids in immediate relief from pain.
Also, it is convenient to carry and consume.
However, turmeric tincture is not meant to replace ground turmeric or fresh turmeric. For cooking and long term use, turmeric powder is the best option.
Also, turmeric powder provides your minerals, vitamins and other nutrients in addition to medicinally active compounds.