12 Benefits Of Turmeric / Curcumin In Diabetes [UPDATED]

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic condition wherein blood sugar levels in the body remain high as the body fails to regulate it.

Insulin is a hormone that plays a vital role in this disease.

It is produced by the pancreas and it controls the blood sugar. Blood sugar or glucose acts as a fuel for various cellular activities. Insulin moves glucose from blood to muscles, fat and liver cells where it is stored or used as fuel.

In diabetes, either little insulin or insulin resistance hampers this transformation of glucose and in turn, tends to affect the body negatively.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: It is caused due to lack of insulin production.
  • Type 2 diabetes: It is caused due to the failure of cells to respond to insulin appropriately.
  • Gestational diabetes:  It occurs during pregnancy due to high blood glucose levels.

Type 1 diabetes is not treatable while Type 2 can be cured by the use of medications with or without insulin and lifestyle changes. Turmeric is a perennial herb that is cultivated mainly in Asia as a spice.

Numerous research studies have proven the use of turmeric in treating diabetes and its complications.

This article goes over various studies and developments made in utilizing the medicinal properties of turmeric to cure or prevent pathological conditions associated with diabetes.

Composition of Turmeric

The bioactive properties of turmeric are attributed to various components isolated from its rhizome.

The important components are curcuminoids and volatile oil.

Curcuminoids comprise of curcumin, monodemethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. They are natural antioxidants and impart the yellow color to the powder.

Volatile oil consists of aromatic (containing benzene ring) compounds out of which tumerone and ar-tumerone are considered medicinally quite important.

Sugars, proteins, and resins are also isolated from the rhizome.

12 Benefits of Turmeric In Diabetes

In this section, we will understand the basic mechanisms by which turmeric employs its medicinal properties in treating diabetes.

1. Turmeric counteracts inflammation in Diabetes

The mechanisms involved in inflammation leading to the pathogenesis of diabetes are complex. Type 1 diabetes is an immune-mediated disease where selective pancreatic cells are destroyed.

This occurs when the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are invaded by cells of the immune system and this condition is referred to as insulitis.

The infiltration of immune cells leads to secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-1 , thus facilitating the progress of inflammation and causing cell death.

Chronic low-level inflammation is associated with obesity and diabetes.  A pro-inflammatory cytokine named tumor necrosis factor-α is overproduced in adipose tissue of obese humans.

This overproduction is known to impair insulin function and contribute to insulin resistance. The functions of macrophages (a type of immune cell) and adipocytes (fat cells) are overlapping.

Hence it is seen that macrophages in adipose tissue, either alone or with the help of adipocytes, secrete proteins that accelerate inflammation and contribute to insulin resistance.

Biochemical pathways also contribute to inflammation involved in diabetes.   IL-1beta, TNF-α, and IL-6 are the main pro-inflammatory agents involved in pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.

Turmeric demonstrates anti-inflammatory property by modulating various pathways and activity of many proteins. Few of the mechanisms involved are:

  • Suppression of nuclear factor- kappa B and hence downregulation of activity of COX-2
  • Inhibition of production of inflammatory cytokines like TNF- α, IL-6, IL-1beta
  • Reducing the activity of enzymes and proteins that mediate inflammation

These mechanisms find their use in suppressing inflammation caused due to diabetes and preventing its proliferation.

A study published in Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 2014 demonstrated that supplementation with curcuminoids led to the reduction in enzymes and proteins involved in inflammation in diabetic patients.

What does this mean?

Curcumin and turmeric are natural anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce inflammation in diabetes.

2. Turmeric reduces oxidative stress in Diabetes

Oxidative stress plays a major role in the pathogenesis of diabetes. Oxidative stress is the loss of balance between the body’s natural antioxidant defenses and production of reactive oxygen species.

Reactive oxygen species  (ROS) are chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen and bring about phenomena vital to normal cell functioning.

However, under adverse conditions, ROS levels increase drastically and cause cell death and inflammation.how turmeric can help in diabetes

In diabetes, there is increased glucose uptake by endothelial cells (inner lining of blood vessels) in adipose tissue (body fat).

Under hyperglycemic (high blood sugar levels) conditions increased uptake of glucose leads to excess production of ROS which causes oxidative degradation of fats (lipid peroxidation), oxidative damage to cell and initiation of inflammatory pathways.

Turmeric, a known antioxidant, scavenges ROS, inhibits lipid peroxidation and increases the levels of antioxidant enzymes. This property of turmeric can help reduce oxidative stress observed in diabetes.

The study in humans shows that curcumin works an antioxidant and reduces oxidative stress and heart risk in diabetes. Curcuminoid supplementation is found to raise the level of antioxidant enzymes in diabetes.

What does this mean?

Curcuminoids found in turmeric are natural antioxidants that help improve antioxidant defense in diabetes.

3. It lowers blood sugar levels

Curcumin functions as an anti-hyperglycemic agent- it lowers elevated blood sugar in diabetes.

A review study by Ghorbani et.al demonstrates that curcumin lowers blood sugar in multiple ways few of them being:

  • Stimulating insulin production
  • Improving the activity of pancreas cells
  • Improving sensitivity to insulin
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing the production of glucose by the liver
  • Stimulating utilization of glucose by the body

A study in humans shows that curcuminoids exert its anti-diabetic effect by acting on Adipocyte-fatty acid binding protein. Reduction in this protein helps regulate metabolic disorders.

In another study by the same research group, overweight or obese diabetes patients were treated with 300mg curcuminoids or placebo for 3 months.

Curcuminoids significantly reduced blood sugar supplementation and also reduced insulin resistance index.

A recent study demonstrated that nano-curcumin supplementation in type 2 diabetes for 3 months helps in reducing blood sugar levels, glycated hemoglobin, triglyceride levels, and even BMI.

Animal study shows that even turmeric supplementation can help lower blood sugar.

What does this mean?
Turmeric and curcumin are natural anti-hyperglycemic agents- they help lower high blood sugar levels and balance blood glucose and insulin levels in diabetes.

4.It can repair and regenerate pancreas cells

Experimental study shows that curcumin can benefit from autoimmune diabetes by regulating the action of immune cells that destroy beta cells of the pancreas that is necessary for insulin production.

An animal study published in Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome, 2013 revealed that curcumin can not only help in lowering blood sugar levels but also help to regenerate and repair damaged pancreatic islet cells.

Read Turmeric can regenerate damaged pancreas cells in type 1 diabetes

Bone marrow transplantation is an area of therapy that is being actively researched in relation to diabetes. Studies point out that combination of natural antioxidant like curcumin with bone marrow transplant can help regenerate pancreas cells.

These findings are of great importance in type 1 diabetes.

What does this mean?
Experimental studies show that curcumin has the potential to regenerate pancreas cells and this can benefit in type 1 diabetes.

5. It can reverse prediabetes

Type 2 diabetes is said to be controlled by changes in lifestyle and diet. This measure is furthered potentiated by turmeric supplementation and the following study validates this fact.

In a study conducted on prediabetic population (people who have the tendency to develop DM in the near future), the effect of curcumin in delaying development of diabetes was observed.

Two random groups were made: one treated with curcumin, others with a placebo.

They were asked to consume 6 capsules a day for 9 months. Each curcumin capsule had 250 mg curcuminoid content.

Various physiological parameters were measured before the treatment and at an interval of 3, 6 and 9 months of the treatment.

Many of the subjects in the placebo-treated group developed diabetes while none of the subjects treated with curcumin developed diabetes.

HOMA-IR represents insulin resistance while Homa-beta indicates cell functioning.  Improved HOMA-beta levels and reduced HOMA-IR levels in curcumin-treated groups strengthened the idea of turmeric as an anti-diabetic drug.

Also, elevated levels of adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory agent, was seen.

Based on this 9-month study, it was proposed that curcumin extract can be used to prevent diabetes in the prediabetic population.

Naijil et. al have identified that curcumin has an anti-diabetogenesis effect.

It prevents diabetes in the first place by acting on what is called pancreatic adrenergic receptors. These regulate the release of insulin.

Curcumin affects the activity of these receptors and regulates the ability of the pancreas to sense glucose and secrete insulin.

Diabetogenesis is caused by the death of pancreatic islet cells due to oxidative stress (imbalance between prooxidant and antioxidant levels) and curcumin is found to protect pancreatic cells from such damage.

What does this mean?
Curcumin has anti-diabetogenesis effect- it prevents diabetes. Clinically curcumin supplementation has been proven to reverse prediabetes.

 6. It lowers cholesterol levels

Cholesterol metabolism is affected in type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes.

In fact, diabetes is found to disturb cholesterol metabolism more than obesity alone.

Various studies in animal models of diabetes have found that curcumin can reduce the abnormalities in lipid and cholesterol levels by regulating liver function.

Turmeric, as a part of the herbal formulation, helps lower cholesterol in type 2 diabetes patient.

Curcumin improves antioxidant defences, regulates fat metabolism, affects intestinal absorption of cholesterol and acts in a similar fashion as statins (conventional cholesterol-lowering drugs).

What does this mean?
Curcumin has cholesterol lowering properties that benefit metabolic health in type 2 diabetes.

7. It protects from heart risks

Endothelial dysfunction is a common complication experienced by diabetic patients.

It is an abnormality in the inner tissue lining of blood vessels occurring due to high blood sugar levels.

Usharani et. al conducted a study in humans where type 2 diabetes patients were treated with 300mg curcumin or with atorvastatin (a cholesterol-lowering drug) or with placebo for 8 weeks.

Curcumin was found to be as good as atorvastatin in improving endothelial dysfunction and reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.

A 6-month treatment with curcumin is found to reduce atherogenic risks (factors that increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis) in type 2 diabetes.

What does this mean?
Curcumin improves heart health and protects from diabetes induced cardiovascular complications.

8. It helps in weight loss

Curcumin exerts anti-obesity action where it not only prevents fat deposition and growth of fat tissue but also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.

Dietary curcumin helps in diabesity and overcomes insulin resistance in obesity-induced diabetes.

A study in overweight individuals suffering from metabolic syndrome demonstrates that curcumin supplementation increases weight loss outcomes of diet and lifestyle changes by 3%.

Loss of 1kg every 10 days was observed in curcumin-treated group.

What does this mean?
Curcumin’s anti-obesity potential benefits in diabesity and aids in losing weight.

9. It benefits in wound healing

Curcumin is a natural wound healing agent and speeds up the wound healing process. Even topical application of curcumin benefits in skin wounds.

Curcumin is identified as one of the nutritional supplements that can aid in diabetic wound healing.

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research, 2016 reports that topical application of curcumin normalizes wound healing in diabetes.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of curcumin helps speed up ‘impaired’ wound healing in diabetes.

Diabetic foot is a very serious problem encountered in diabetes patients. It is caused by the combination of diabetic neuropathy and atherosclerosis induced by diabetes.

It leads to the loss of sensation and in turn, infection in foot develops upon an attempt to fit in the regular shoes that cause blisters and callus, and one cannot feel them.

The wound healing is also impaired due to poor blood circulation caused by the high blood sugar level. It ultimately causes the infection to affect all the tissues of the foot gradually and may result in the need for amputation (removal of the limb).

Curcumin is known to possess wound healing properties, and it also speeds up the wound healing process.

In a diabetes model, the effect of curcumin on the foot ulcer wounds was studied and it was found that both topically and orally given curcumin notably accelerated the wound healing process.

It was a consequence of inhibition of the MMPs or matrix metalloproteins (involved in the impairment of each step of the wound-healing process) by curcumin.

A hydrogel formulation of curcumin and honey has been found to be very effective in fastening the diabetic foot ulcer wound healing.

It promoted tissue granulation (contraction of the wound) and reepithelialization (wound closure by the formation of skin).

What does this mean?
Curcumin naturally speeds up wound healing and benefits in diabetic foot ulcers.

10. It benefits kidney health

Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory action protects kidneys from diabetic nephropathy.

Yang et. al have proved that oral intake of curcumin at a dose of 500mg/day for 15-30 days prevents progression of diabetic kidney disease.

Curcumin reduced inflammation, oxidative stress, and excretion of albumin in type 2 diabetes patients.

What does this mean?
Diabetes is associated with various kidney disorders and curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefit kidney health.

11. It attenuates neuropathic pain

Curcumin is a natural painkiller. (Read How turmeric helps in various kinds of pain)

Research suggests that curcumin attenuates diabetic neuropathic pain by inhibiting the activity of a pro-inflammatory protein called Tumor necrosis factor alpha.

It also alleviates oxidative stress to reduce neuropathic pain in diabetes.

A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, 2014 suggests that perhaps curcumin acts via the endogenous opioid system to relieve neuropathic pain. (Read Can Turmeric replace opioid painkillers?)

What does this mean?
Curcumin and turmeric are natural analgesics and help attenuate neuropathic pain in diabetes.

12. It helps in diabetes complications

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property of curcumin benefits in various complications of diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Steigerwalt et.al have demonstrated that treatment with 1000mg Meriva (corresponding to 200mg curcumin) for 4 weeks of benefits in diabetic retinopathy.

It reduces swelling and improves visual acuity.


Research shows that treatment with Meriva (1g/day) for a month brings about an improvement in microangiopathy in type 2 diabetes patients evidenced by the reduction in swelling and improving oxygen diffusion in the skin.

The patients involved in this study were suffering from diabetic microangiopathy for 5 years and they were not insulin dependent.

Diabetes gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a condition affecting diabetes patients where there is a delay in the movement of the food from the stomach to intestine which leads to a spike in glucose levels.

Animal study shows curcumin’s ability to alleviate oxidative stress can benefit in diabetic gastroparesis.

Bone health

A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology,2009 states that curcumin protects bone health in diabetes and prevents loss of bone mineral and weakening of bones.

It prevents bone resorption.

Metabolic syndrome

Curcumin extract at a dose of 1890mg/day for 12 weeks is found to bring significant improvement in metabolic syndrome.

The study reported a reduction in LDL cholesterol, elevation in HDL cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol) and also reduced triglyceride levels.

Curcuminoids (1000mg/day) combined with piperine is found to benefit in metabolic syndrome and they reduce cholesterol levels within 8 weeks.

Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has been strongly linked with type 2 diabetes. Abnormal insulin function leads to excessive storage of fats in the liver.

A study published in Phytotherapy Research, 2016 demonstrated that 70mg of bioavailable curcumin per day for 8 weeks reduced liver fat content in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and brought about a 78.9% improvement in the disease.

Diabetic nephropathy

Nephropathy or kidney damage in diabetic patients is seen to be another common complication.

Exposure of kidneys to the high blood sugar lead to inflammation and oxidative stress, which in turn activate stress pathways like PKC, MAPK, NF-kappa B, Nrf-2, etc.

These pathways cause damage to the kidney cells and impair its function and may even lead to its failure.

Curcumin has been found to have protective effects in the diabetic nephropathy. It acts on the oxidative stress and inhibits the pathways that lead to kidney damage.

Administration of curcumin has been found to inhibit the PKC and other inflammatory pathways to decrease the oxidative stress markers (lipid peroxidation, NOX4, etc.) and increase the antioxidant capacity of the kidney cells and thus, prevent the damage.

It has also been found to exert renoprotective effects by inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome signaling (involved in the activation of the inflammatory process).

Cardiovascular problems

The risk of developing cardiovascular problems in diabetes patients is very high.

It happens due to the promotion of atherosclerosis (deposition of lipids, fat, etc. in the arteries) and damage to the heart muscles by high sugar levels in the blood.

The process of atherosclerosis is promoted by the activation of signaling pathways that lead to oxidative stress and the accumulation of lipids in the arteries.

The oxidative stress damages the heart muscle cells and hampers its functioning.

These can lead to several heart problems like hypertension, coronary artery disease, strokes, heart failure, etc.

Curcumin is known to have anti-hyperlipidemic effect in diabetes, i.e. it can lower the lipids and cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis.

Supplementation of curcumin in diabetes model has shown a significant decrease in the lipid profile due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.

In a clinical trial, curcumin was found to decrease the bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increase the good cholesterol levels in the patients and thus, reduced the risk of cardiovascular problems in them.

Cardiomyopathy or heart muscle damage can also be prevented by curcumin. The inhibition of inflammatory pathways like, PKC-MAPK and relieving oxidative stress by curcumin prevents the damage to the heart muscle cells caused by diabetes.

In a study, curcumin was found to decrease several cardiomyopathic parameters (caused by inflammation, oxidative stress, glycation, etc.) to restore the damage to the heart muscle cells and thus, prevent the risk of cardiovascular problems induced by diabetes.

What does this mean?

Curcumin benefits in various disbetic complications such as fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, microangiopathy, retinopathy etc.

Is it Safe to Take turmeric in Diabetes?

Generally, as a precaution, it is advised not to take turmeric with anti-diabetes medication.

This is because both curcumin, as well as anti-diabetes medication, reduce blood sugar levels so it is thought that taking the two together could cause abnormally low blood sugar levels and there are chances of drug interaction.

Dietary turmeric is safe for consumption; if you eat a meal containing turmeric that are no chances for drug interactions because turmeric in the meal would be really less for the serving.

Curcumin found in turmeric as well as piperine in black pepper interferes in drug metabolism process.

If taken with any drug it may inhibit drug metabolism process and increase the concentration of the drug in the blood.

This on the long term may cause side effects.

Now here are a couple of studies that investigated the effect of curcumin on drug metabolism of anti-diabetes medication.

An animal study published in the Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, 2016 investigated the effect of curcumin administration in combination with anti-diabetes medication, glicalizide.

A single dose of curcumin did not affect glicalizide activity.

But in multiple dose interaction study, a significant reduction in blood sugar level was observed and scientists concluded that curcumin does affect the activity of glicalizide hence the dose needs to be carefully monitored and regulated when administering the combination.

So the animal study suggests that the combination may have a hypoglycaemic effect so if taking curcumin concomitantly with anti-diabetes medication, then the dose needs to be monitored.

A study in humans was conducted to assess the similar effect of curcumin on other anti-diabetes medication.

A study was published in Phytotherapy Research, 2014 where the effect of curcumin treatment in diabetes patients already undergoing therapy was studied.

8 type 2 diabetes patients taking glyburide treatment (anti-diabetes medication) were enrolled in this study.

Apart from investigating the blood sugar lowering effect of curcumin, the researchers also assessed whether curcumin affects drug metabolism and interferes in the activity of anti-diabetes medication.

The individuals were treated with 5mg glyburide and curcumin for 11 days. Blood sugar levels decreased but no patient experienced hypoglycaemia or abnormally low levels of blood sugar.

The maximum concentration of glyburide remained unaffected and curcumin also reduced the lipid levels.

Researchers concluded that co-administration of curcumin with glyburide is beneficial for diabetic patients as it ensures better blood sugar control.

The study in humans showed that curcumin administered concomitantly will anti-diabetes medication did not cause any side effect in the 11 day period and was beneficial.

Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric/curcumin supplements.

It is advisable to maintain a 3-4 hour gap between taking curcumin supplements and other medications to avoid any drug interaction. And the same is advised with large doses of Golden Paste.

Read Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interactions?

FAQS on Turmeric & Diabetes

Here are some questions regarding turmeric’s benefits in diabetes with answers.

1. Will turmeric lower blood sugar in diabetes?
Turmeric is a natural anti-hyperglycemic agent and can help improve blood sugar control in diabetes.

2. Does turmeric only reduce symptoms or does it heal diabetes?
Primarily turmeric reduces blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity and improves metabolic health in diabetes. It helps manage diabetes effectively.

Research does show that turmeric may benefit in type 1 diabetes by regenerating pancreas cells and this is very promising but still to be studied in humans.

3. Can turmeric use topically for wound healing in diabetes?
There is no study to prove this but turmeric has been used topically for wound healing in other instances Please refer to the dosage section below for instructions

4. What dose of turmeric should I take for diabetes?
This depends on the form of turmeric you take. We recommend taking Golden Paste and the details have been highlighted in the Dosage section below.

5. Should I take whole turmeric or curcumin for diabetes?
We recommend whole turmeric or turmeric powder for diabetes over curcumin as it contains curcumin as well as other therapeutic compounds that can benefit in diabetes.

Readers have reported better management of blood sugar control after taking Golden Paste.

6. Is it safe to take turmeric/Golden Paste with turmeric supplements in diabetes?

Yes, it is safe to take Golden Paste or turmeric in the diet when taking supplements; however it is advisable to limit to low doses say 1-2 teaspoon in a day to avoid gastric discomfort.

7. Can I take turmeric with anti-diabetes medications?

Yes, it is safe to take turmeric in diet when taking anti-diabetes medications. If taking Golden Paste (high doses)  avoid taking it close to the time of taking other medicines. Maintain a 3-4 hour gap. Consult a doctor before taking turmeric supplements.

8. Can I discontinue anti-diabetes medications by taking turmeric?

Turmeric is not meant to replace professional medical advice and treatment. It is best to consult a doctor before discontinuing any medication.

9. How long does it take for turmeric to benefit in diabetes?

This depends on the individual, severity of the disease, dosage as well as the form of turmeric you are taking. At a dose of 1 teaspoon of Golden Paste 2-3 times, a day benefits should be evidenced within 1-2 weeks.

10. I have taken turmeric for a month or more but I still see no improvement in diabetes?

If it’s been a month since you have taken Golden Paste at a dose of 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day and you see no improvement, then here are a few things you could do:

Lastly, you can seek help from a health practitioner about turmeric supplements.

Read Taking Turmeric But See No Benefits

12. Are there any side effects or precautions to note about turmeric?

Turmeric, when taken in diet in moderate doses, is safe. However, there are certain precautions that you should be aware of and these have been discussed below in the Precautions section.

13. Should turmeric be avoided in gout?

Low doses of turmeric in diet can be used in gout but for a therapeutic purpose, it is preferable to take turmeric supplements. Please read the Precautions section.

14. I am taking a blood thinner, can I take turmeric?

Turmeric in small amounts in the diet is safe but turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of a bleeding/clotting disorder. It is advisable to discuss this with your doctor.

The dosage of Turmeric For Diabetes

Including turmeric in diet and cooking is the best way to start taking turmeric. You could add it to soups, sprinkle it over salads, add it to juices. If taking fresh roots, ½ inch piece consumed daily is safe.

Turmeric is poorly absorbed in the body. So it is advised to take it with black pepper and healthy fats so as to increase its absorption. (Read How to improve Turmeric’s absorption)

The Golden Paste does exactly this. Start with ¼-1/2 tsp a day for a week and if no side effects are observed increase the dose by ¼-1/2 tsp every week. The ideal recommended dose is 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day).

Avoid taking it on an empty stomach (Does turmeric cause acid reflux?) and close to the time of taking other medicines (Black pepper in Gp: Does it cause drug interactions?). Maintain a 3-4 hour gap.

Occasionally you can consume Turmeric Tea and Turmeric Milk as well.

If opting for supplements consult a health practitioner prior.

Users say!

…. Yes I am including turmeric in my food and I am also drinking the turmeric tea. I must say I am very happy with the results. I am diabetic and I take Metforman 500 tablets twice a day.

Yesterday morning my reading was a bit high and I took the turmeric tea later.
Then we got invited to a birthday party where we ate of everything including sweet
things. I was a bit concerned of my blood sugar levels an decided to take half a cup of
turmeric tea before going to bed.

I must say I was so pleasantly surprised when I took my reading this morning and my sugar levels were substantially lower than yesterday morning.

— Amina

How to apply turmeric topically for wound healing?

Yes, turmeric can be applied topically for wound healing. Make sure you use organic turmeric powder and conduct a patch test prior.

Mix an adequate amount of turmeric powder in extra virgin olive or coconut oil to form a paste. You can slightly warm the oil prior to use.

Apply this paste to the affected area.

Cover this with gauze and let it be for as long as possible say 30 mins to an hour. Cleanse with cool water.

You can do this procedure 2-3 times in a day. Effects should be visible in as much as a week or two’s time.


Research Studies


Study 1: Turmeric Helps in Repair and Regeneration of Diabetic Liver In Rats

Studies have also found that curcumin, the principal curcuminoid in turmeric is superior to or favorably comparable to several conventional medicines in producing therapeutic effects.

A study explored how turmeric can help in liver issues which arise due to Type2 diabetes.

Diabetes, liver disorders and turmeric

Type2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition which affects the glucose metabolism in the patient’s body.

Diabetes can be a major cause of acute liver ailments like deposition of glycogen, cirrhosis, fibrosis etc.

A research (read here) reveals that degenerated liver tissues of diabetic rats can be put back together and fixed by curcumin.

Published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, the research lasted for 8 weeks and included 3 groups of male rats-

  • Control group
  • Diabetic group
  • Curcumin-treated diabetic group

After a period of 8 weeks, the condition of their microvasculature and liver tissues was studied using a light microscope and scanning electron microscope.

In comparison to the control group, the microvasculature and liver tissues of diabetic rats were in a poor condition with dilated sinusoids and liver cells loaded with lipid droplets. The nuclei of liver cells showed signs of irreversible Pkynosis condition.

On the other hand, the diabetic rats treated with curcumin exhibited the development of healthy liver tissues and microvasculature.

The damaged parts started regenerating into normal ones in them as compared to the control group.


It is already proven that turmeric has excellent healing powers.

What scientists are doing now is trying to find out new possibilities of using it for various ailments.

This study indicates that turmeric is a promising therapy for regenerating and rebuilding the damaged liver tissues and microvasculature in diabetic rats.

While the above study is done of rats, in case of humans too, intervention at early stages can help keep patients away from severe liver complications.

Study 2: Curcumin enhances the therapeutic effect of the conventional anti-diabetic drug

Over 415 million people suffer from Diabetes worldwide, out of which 90% cases are of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Glyburide is also referred to as Glibenclamide and is an oral anti-diabetic drug which comes under the class of Sulphonylurea medications. It helps in controlling the blood sugar level and is used in treating Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus.

However, this drug is the major cause of drug-induced hypoglycemia (medication that causes abnormally low blood sugar level).

P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is also referred to as Permeability glycoprotein. It is a multi-drug resistance protein  (MDRI) and is responsible for pumping all the foreign materials out of the cell.

It acts as a defense mechanism against harmful substance like toxins and chemicals produced by various drugs and hence jeopardize the success of the drug delivery to the target organs involved in the treatment.

The general precaution that is given with regards to curcumin supplements is that it should not be taken with anti-diabetic drugs as it has blood sugar lowering property and the combination of the two would lead to hypoglycemia or excessively low blood sugar.

This study proves the contrary.

What happened in this study?

A study was conducted with the aim for determining the benefits of Curcumin capsules in lowering the lipid levels by acting as a permeability glycoprotein inhibitor (P-gp) and a P-gp substrate to the Glyburide drug in patients with Type-2 Diabetes.

8 patients with Type-2 Diabetes were taken in a clinical trial for the duration of 11 days and were given the Glyburide drug therapy.  Blood samples were collected at the start and end of the study.

What were the results?

The blood samples collected on the 11th day of the trial showed changes in the Glyburide concentrations during the second hour.

However, the amount of the drug in the blood circulation remained unchanged.

It was observed that the glucose levels were reduced and no patient suffered from Hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar levels often seen in diabetic patients due to an increase in the use of insulin).

It was also observed that the concentrations of Low-density Lipoproteins along the very low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides (known as bad types of cholesterol) were significantly reduced

. The concentration of the High-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) was found to be increased.

How did this occur?

Curcumin regulates its therapeutic properties by controlling the production of harmful substances like Cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2), Inducible Nitric Synthase and Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) which cause inflammation.

It is known that inflammation is the major cause of the development of Insulin resistance during the progression of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Glyburide drug acts as a Permeable glycoprotein (P-gp) substrate  (substance on which P-gp acts).

It shows a decrease in bioavailability as the P-glycoprotein binds with the drug and reduces its absorption and hence the drug is unable to reach the target area in sufficient amounts.

Hence it is unable to control blood sugar level and also leads to Hyperlipidemia (increase in cholesterol). Increasing the dose of Glyburide drug can cause Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Curcumin can also inhibit P-gp and upon co-administering curcumin capsules with Glyburide drug, it is observed that the bioavailability of the glyburide is gradually increased.

It is because curcumin modifies the structural arrangement of P-glycoprotein by interacting directly with the drug or substrate binding sites of P-gp which allows the Glyburide drug to pass through the barrier and get absorbed. Thus, the therapeutic effects of the anti-diabetic drug are increased.

Curcumin also helps in reducing the cholesterol levels in patients Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus.

What does this mean?

Type-2 Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder where the body cells show reduced Insulin response leading to the excess concentration of glucose in the bloodstream.

It causes long term complications like heart, kidney and liver diseases.

Contrary to the common precautions of taking curcumin with anti-diabetic drugs, it is observed that curcumin works well with the Glyburide drug and increases the efficacy of the drug.

Also, it was found that curcumin did not cause hypoglycemia and also lowered cholesterol levels.

Read the paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25044423

Study 3: Turmeric Can Regenerate Damaged Pancreas Cells In Type 1 Diabetes

There is no treatment for type 1 diabetes apart from insulin therapy. Turmeric and its bioactive ingredient curcumin are found to very therapeutic in diabetes.

It has a multi-modal action- anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-obesity, targets various diabetic complications but most of the focus is on turmeric/curcumin’s hypoglycaemic action.

Curcumin lowers blood sugar and normalizes insulin activity.

This animal study published in Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome, November 2013 focuses on a new therapeutic action of curcumin in diabetes.

The effect of curcumin derivative (a compound that is derived from curcumin) on pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin is studied.

What happened in the study?

An animal model of diabetes was developed.

Some were treated with curcumin derivative while some were given no treatment.

The novel curcumin derivative was water soluble and used to overcome the bioavailability issue of curcumin.

The study lasted for 10 months but the treatment with curcumin was for 40 days.

Glucose and insulin levels were monitored. Even changes in pancreas cells were assessed after treatment.

What were the results?

In the diabetes rats, the blood sugar levels increased compared to the basal level and continued to increase for 40 days.

After that, there was a gradual decrease in blood sugar levels over 10 months but still remained higher than normal levels.

These results are explained by the fact that pancreatic cells do have a tendency to proliferate when the insulin levels are reduced and they do recover.

But in most patients, the recovery is not sufficient to cure.

Treatment with curcumin derivative reduced blood sugar levels well below the diabetes level and decreased significantly over 2 months.

This was maintained for 10 months but was still higher than the basal level.

Curcumin derivative treatment significantly raised insulin levels and maintained it. The plasma insulin level continued to increase for 10 months and was higher than the basal level.

Further examination of animals treated with curcumin derivative at 2 months showed development on insulin-positive cells in the pancreas as well as the presence of stem cells and after 10 months well-formed islets of Langerhans which produce insulin were observed along with large insulin-positive cells.

Those who received no treatment also showed the development of small islet cells indicating the possibility of recovery.

But no stem cells during development were observed.

How did this occur?

The pancreas can repair itself by a process known as regeneration.

And there have been cases where regeneration has led to complete cure from type 1 diabetes.

Therefore researchers are investigating various factors that would support the regeneration of pancreatic cells.

Researchers pointed out that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity produced an environment conducive for regeneration of islet cells of the pancreas.

The pancreas has lowest levels of antioxidant enzymes in the body which makes the islet cells susceptible to oxidative damage.

Curcumin’s ability to counteract the formation of reactive oxygen species and raise the level of antioxidant enzymes can protect from such damage.

Additionally, its ability to reduce inflammation and its immunomodulatory activity can help in pancreatic islet cell regeneration.

Also, curcumin is known to promote tissue regeneration and support growth of stem cells.

What does this mean?

Curcumin and its related compounds can exert anti-diabetic action by supporting the regeneration of pancreatic islet cells in type 1 diabetes.

These cells produce insulin and normalize blood sugar levels.

Read the paper here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176754/

Study 4: Turmeric supplementation protects the heart in type 2 diabetes

240 individuals with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the 9-month study.

For the first 3 months, they were counseled and provided diet and exercise recommendations by nutritionists.

Individuals receiving oral anti-diabetes medication, insulin injection, herbal medicines, anti-platelet drugs, blood pressure medications or any other medicines were excluded from the study to avoid any interference from any other medications.

Individuals received 6 capsules of curcumin or placebo in a day. Each curcumin capsule had curcuminoid content of 250 mg. This supplementation continued for 6 months.

Parameters such as pulse wave velocity, change in the level of anti-inflammatory agents, abdominal obesity, uric acid levels, triglyceride levels, and insulin resistance were monitored.

What were the results?

Pulse wave velocity is a measure of arterial stiffness or the pressure obstructing the blood flow. At the end of 6 months, it was found that curcumin reduced pulse wave velocity.

Curcumin increased the levels of an anti-inflammatory agent, adiponectin and reduced levels of leptin.

The curcumin-treated group also had a reduced level of insulin resistance, reduced cholesterol, and uric acid levels and reduced abdominal obesity.

At the end of 6 months, a slight reduction in body weight was observed in the curcumin group.

Curcumin was well tolerated throughout the 6-month study.

How did this occur?

Curcumin has a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect. It is proven to reduce inflammation in metabolic diseases and increasing the level of anti-inflammatory agent adiponectin.

Animal studies show that curcumin reduces insulin resistance. Other studies also reflect that curcumin improves dyslipidemia- abnormal levels of lipid or fat in the blood.

Curcumin also has an anti-obesity effect which reduces body fat and thereby reduces inflammation and risk of atherosclerosis.

Dietary curcumin also prevents cholesterol accumulation and exerts an anti-atherogenic effect.

In all curcumin, exerts an anti-inflammatory effect, normalizes metabolic disturbances and reduces body weight in order to reduce atherogenic risk in type 2 diabetes.

What does this mean?

6-month supplementation of curcumin reduces the risk of atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes. It also reduces insulin resistance and body weight in type 2 diabetes.

Curcumin can be used to reduce metabolic health risks in high-risk populations.

Read the paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24445038

Study 5: Study Says Turmeric Can Help in Prevention of Type2 Diabetes

A 9-month trial was conducted by scientists from Thailand on a pre-diabetic population to test the safety and capability of curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric, in preventing the occurrence of T2DM.

Published in the Journal Diabetes Care in the year 2012, the research comprised of 240 pre-diabetic patients.

For 9 months, some of the subjects were randomly given curcumin capsules, while the rest were given placebo capsules.

Development of T2DM was determined by studying the changes in the following parameters at baseline and after 3, 6 and 9 months-

  • The insulin-releasing function of beta-cells of the pancreas
  • Resistance to insulin
  • Adiponectin levels

The scientists found that no patient in curcumin group developed T2DM at the end of 9 months in contrast to the placebo group where 16.4% patients were now having the disease.

Furthermore, the overall functioning of insulin-producing beta cells in pancreas improved in the curcumin group.

They also exhibited lesser resistance to insulin and higher levels of adiponectin protein than the placebo-controlled group.


The study reveals that oral administration of curcumin in pre-diabetes can be a promising alternative to the conventional therapies in preventing Type2 Diabetes Mellitus as it enhances the overall beta-cell functioning and reduces the body’s resistance to insulin with no significant side effects.

Study 7: Turmeric and Nigella sativa is therapeutic in metabolic syndrome

250 men diagnosed with metabolic syndrome were recruited in this study. They were given either:
• Kalonji 1.5g/ day
• Turmeric 2.4g/day
• 900mg kalonji and 1.5g turmeric per day

The treatment lasted for 8 weeks. BMI, body fat %, hip and waist circumference, cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure etc were measured.

What were the results?

Within 4 weeks of individual treatment with kalonji and turmeric improved BMI, waist and hip circumference in comparison to the measurements recorded prior to the study.

Combination of the two improved all parameters except for cholesterol.

At 8 weeks, kalonji and turmeric individual treatment improved only specific metabolic parameters while the combination formula at 60% dose improved all parameters compared to baseline values.

How did this occur?

Turmeric has multiple pharmacological properties that aid in treating metabolic syndrome: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardioprotective etc. It also aids in lowering cholesterol, accumulation of fat and reducing blood sugar.

Kalonji seeds are also found to beneficial in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. The combination hence works towards attenuating individual features of metabolic syndrome.

What does this mean?

Turmeric and Nigella sativa or kalonji seeds provided at 60% of individual dose mentioned in the study improve all parameters of metabolic syndrome without causing side effects.

This therapy can use for treating initial stages of metabolic syndrome and thus halting further complications.

Read full paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25847554

Study 8 – Curcumin & Black pepper combination reduces blood lipids in Metabolic Syndrome

Patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome were recruited for this study and assigned to placebo and curcuminoid groups.

Standard medications were provided to all. The curcuminoid group received the C3 complex at a dose of 1000mg per day. The C3 complex is a bioavailable form of curcumin containing all 3 curcuminoids.

Additionally, they also received biopiperine, active constituent of black pepper to increasethe absorption of curcuminoid. The study lasted for 8 weeks.

What were the results?

Curcuminoids were successful in reducing bad cholesterol levels- LDL and elevating good cholesterol-HDL. Overall cholesterol levels and blood lipids were reduced better than the reduction brought about standard care alone.

How did this occur?

Curcuminoids are strong antioxidants. Curcumin’s antioxidant property is comparable to that Vitamin C and E. This property helps in combating oxidative damage and increases the level of lipid metabolizing enzymes. It also activates genes that would be involved in lipid metabolism.

This ensures proper function of the liver to prevent fat accumulation and also protects blood vessels and heart from cholesterol-induced damage.

What does this mean?

Curcuminoids with piperine can be used as an add-on therapy with standard treatment to treat dyslipidemia in metabolic syndrome and lower cholesterol levels.

Read paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25440375



Turmeric in dietary quantities does not pose any risk. Doses up to 8g have found to be safe but high doses can cause gastric side effects in real life.

Turmeric supplements should be opted for only after consulting a doctor. In conditions like gout or if you are at high risk of developing kidney stones limit intake of turmeric as a spice.

Turmeric supplements should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation. Discontinue use of turmeric supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery. Avoid supplements if you are suffering from gallbladder obstruction.

When on blood thinners, avoid curcumin supplements. In such a condition it is best to discuss this with your doctor.

Turmeric supplements may have a drug interaction with stomach acid-reducing drugs, blood sugar lowering drugs and blood thinners. Consult a doctor before taking turmeric supplements.


387 million people are estimated to be suffering from diabetes worldwide in 2014 and it is estimated to rise to 592 million by 2035.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of the cases.  The global economic burden due to diabetes in 2014 is estimated to be $ 612 billion USD.

Turmeric is a proven anti-diabetic agent. This article covers only a few selected studies from the numerous studies that explore the effect of turmeric on various aspects of diabetes.

It is clear that turmeric can play a part in the prevention of diabetes and also help people who are diabetic. 

41 thoughts on “12 Benefits Of Turmeric / Curcumin In Diabetes [UPDATED]”

  1. 543 John Edward Lane, Greensburg, PA 15601
    Hello, need your suggestions on what product to use and where to buy the best? I am 77 years old and have been treated for Prostrate cancer. While being treated, I ended up with Limes disease. Which lead to Neuropathy in my legs. Really would appreciate any help you can give me.
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  2. Om. Thanks for giving medical uses of turmeric regularly. I want to know the good quality turmeric powder among the ones available in our country, viz., MTR, SSP, GOPURAM, etc..

  3. I am having hot milk with turmeric root and black pepper with organic jaggery…let me know if it is safe in diabetes, i am diabetic

  4. Hi Thank you very much, Turmeric is good for human body specially for cough.Hot milk & Turmeric. Turmeric remove poisons form body and good for stomach. Good to use while cooking meats

  5. I have an insulinoma, currently only present in liver, as the part of the pancreas has been removed. I would like taking curcumin + black pepper to reduce the possibilities of growth of the remaining tumor, but I am afraid to take it because I am not clear on its effects on blood sugar. I would not want to increase insuline production, or worsen my current condition. Could you please advice me?

    • Sugar or honey does not affect turmeric’s medicinal properties. The reason to avoid sugar or honey is that excessive consumption of these can affect metabolic health and body weight. It is safe to take turmeric with honey or a natural sweetener like stevia in case of turmeric tea if your sugar consumption is below the recommended daily limit.

  6. Making the Golden paste is the best way to get all the benefits from turmeric freshly grinded peppercorns to absorb it by 2000% also it needs to be taken with a healthy fat since it is fat soluble. I use extra virgin organic coconut oil.

  7. yesterday my mmol was high 11.8 after meal …… than think of start something different, one teaspoon of numeric + black paper + 10 minute of light jogging ……
    I measure my glucose again, it work, first time i get 4.6 mmol ….. i wish i can keep that number forever 🙂
    now i plan to take one tea spoon of turmeric before every meal, see how it change my glucose reading …

  8. Have diabetes for35 years take 2 tables t 3 times a day. My sugars are up and down. Here can i find the pills and tea thank u in advanced

    • I have been on Golden Paste for about 3 months. I take Losartan for hypertension. Overall my blood pressure runs slightly higher than normal (slightly higher is my normal), but at my last doctors visit my blood pressure was normal person normal. I have lowered my Metformin dosage to 1 per day to avoid any complications. All my lab work came back great. I am no longer taking pain meds for arthritis pain. I attribute all of this to the Golden Paste that I take 3 times a day. It’s even helping with my sinuses (always had lots of drainage year round). I take another cholesterol med, but like I said before, all my labs came back great. This stuff works wonders.

    • If you have high blood sugar, there is a strip you can spit on to find out if your nitric oxide levels are low. If so, a natural supplement that helped me was NEO40.

  9. Hi keshev. Thanks for auto mail of subscription with detailed info. I keen to see more info towards diabetic which i am suffering last 10 years. Kindly advise me the right dosage and the receipe that I should follow please.

  10. Yes Tumeric is very benficial , used it on and off until I saw a show DR. oz and Doctor as a guest speak so higly of it . Read many articles as well. Amd thwm I understood better about how to incorporate it into my health regime. Works excellently.

  11. Been using for three years or more on a regular basis . Mix my Tumeric powder with black pepper for better absortin . I just learned to take tumeric 3 times a day , not only my doubled dose at night to sleep well from nerve pain and inflammation which it relieves.
    The wonders if this herb are numerous!

    • Hi, thanks for your note. Great to know that turmeric is working for you! Yes, black pepper is a great way to increase absorption of turmeric in body which is otherwise low.

  12. Turmeric works great on many issues. I have used it for over a year. It got rid of my inflammation, whereas other things I have tried, but did not.


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