Mystery Solved – How Much Curcumin Your Turmeric Powder Should Have

One very common query we get in emails is whether x% of curcumin in powder is fine or y% is okay?

This is an important question indeed.

But let us start with some background

Why is curcumin % important anyway?

Without going into technical details, simply speaking curcumin is the key active ingredient of turmeric. This is also responsible for its stubborn stains 🙂

It is also the most researched one in terms of health benefits.

Now as turmeric is not 100% curcumin (its percentage varies based on so many factors) and thus percentage of curcumin becomes an important consideration while buying turmeric powder.

The percentage may vary from brand to brand. Many powder suppliers charge higher for higher curcumin products too.

Why curcumin percentage varies?

The percentage of curcumin vary based on several factors. They include:

Species of “curcuma”: There are various types of curcuma species, such as curcuma aromatica, curcuma longa, etc.

The percentage of curcumin varies based on the species. For example, curcumin percentage in curcuma aromatica (used in toiletry products) is much smaller than curcuma longa (which we commonly call as turmeric).

Origin, crop improvement, etc.: The percentage of curcumin varies based on where it is grown. Some methods of cultivation / care may also change the curcumin percentage.

According to a table published in “Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Turmeric” curcumin % as much as 10.2% was found in crops (raw turmeric and not powder) at Kaziranga (India), while many others were having 3-4% only.

Crop improvement methods are also adopted to improve curcumin percentage.

Processing: Processing is another important factor for varied curcumin percentage.

In India, which is the largest producer and exporter of turmeric use of old methods of making powder leads to significant decrease in percentage curcumin.

Also, as process of making turmeric powder involves heating turmeric rhizomes, there is always loss of curcumin in the process. But “how much” can be controlled based on the process used.

This is why we say that “raw turmeric” is awesome. Grow your own turmeric in your backyard and use it – this way you not only get fresh and cheap supply but with higher curcumin % too.

So how much curcumin should your turmeric powder have?

Okay, coming to the key question.

A turmeric powder having more than 2.5% is good but if you have choice prefer the one with atleast 3%.

Any brand having more than 4% is really good. 

But do not lose your sleep over a lower curcumin percentage.

Here is why (pardon me for using some math here):

Typical dosage of turmeric is 5 gms (1-1.5 tsp) . So if your powder has 4% curcumin, in weight terms you will take 0.2 gms of curcumin.

If your powder has 3% then taking 5 gms will give you 0.15 gms of curcumin.

What if you take 6.5 gms of 3% powder? Then you get 0.195 gms. Almost same as 4% one!!

As you can see, you can easily compensate the difference by taking slightly more turmeric. 🙂 Also a bit higher amount has no potential side effects too.

So as I mentioned, do not lose your sleep over it.

Your primary concern should be buying a good quality powder (non-adulterated one, with required certifications etc.).

If you are confused which brand to buy, here are some suggestions.

We would love to know your views on the article, were we able to help you? Let us know.

About the Author

TurmericForHealthTeam

Turmeric for Health's writer team consists of passionate writers from the fields of biotechnology, pharmacy, nutrition, Ayurveda & microbiology.Our writers are highly qualified with many having Ph.D., M.Tech & MSc degrees while others having B.Tech, BSc, B.Pharm. Our differentiation lies in researching and presenting ONLY FACTUAL SCIENTIFIC information. We spend 10s of hours to write a single article. Info of our articles is sourced from reliable scientific sources which are also provided as a link alongside for readers to refer if they want. You can read more about our team in the " About us" section.

Post a Comment

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

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

70 Comments

  1. Hi. I was wondering is it better to take a good quality turmeric powder maybe a teaspoon a day. Compared to taking a supplement that says 95%curcumin extract. The second sounds much higher but I could be misunderstanding.
    I am talking from the perspective of using the products as an anti-inflammatory for joint pain.
    Thanks in advance I appreciate any advice

    1. Hi. It depends on the severity of the condition. For conditions such as joint pain, turmeric powder in the form of Golden Paste shows significant positive effects. You can take Golden Paste. Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks. Best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds.
      http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste
      http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-golden-paste-from-raw-fresh-turmeric
      However, if the pain is extremely severe and does not respond to turmeric powder, then supplements (based on your doctor’s advice) may be necessary. Hope this helps.

  2. Hello I bought organic Turmeric Curcumin with black pepper capsules but after reading up am confused as don’t have 95% curcinoids extract. How much % would be in organic type. Or am I better getting turmeric extract with 95% Curcumin? Help it’s so confusing

  3. Hi. Thanks for this useful info.

    I have also found a report from 2006 in Nutriton And Cancer Journal, where several batches of turmeric powder were tested for curcumin content. They found an average of 3.14% and also that the US produced powders had significantly more than those imported (as you mention powdering techniques also impacts the content)

    You can see the article here on ReasearchGate fro free: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6750391_Curcumin_Content_of_Turmeric_and_Curry_Powders

    When I studied the health recommendations for curcumin, as much as 1 g of curcumin per day was suggested. With a 3.14% curcumin content, you would have to consume more than 6½ tablespoons of powdered turmeric per day! (I assume a tblsp weighs 6.8g) Nearly impossible. I guess if you want to receive the full health benefits of turmeric, you would have to find curcumin extractions, and not rely on powdered turmeric.

    1. Oooops, that should say “…more than 4½ tablespoons of powdered turmeric per day!” which you would know if you checked the simple calculation. Still an enormous amount.

    2. Right! And the values are off here anyway. Using a measuring spoon and properly flattening it off 1 tsp of tumeric is only 2 grams. So you need about a table spoon of tumeric to get just 200mg dose of Curcumin. If you wanted 1000mg a day then you’d need to take 5 tablespoons a day! That’s just nuts and it’s also pretty gross. My pets get 200mg curcumin twice a day for their issues and I take 400mg twice a day. There’s no way any of us would be willing to consume the amount of tumeric needed, blech.

      Before I knew better and was taking tumeric I had more bruising issues than using the curcumin extract, and I wasn’t even taking enough because it’s nasty. I really don’t see why a lot of people keep hyping tumeric over the extract. It’s really not as beneficial.

  4. Excellent article! I have to stay below a certain amount of curcumin and this article helped me tremendously as the manufacturer of my Turmeric powder did not know what 4% meant.

  5. Yes this helped very much thanks! It showed me, for my purposes with supplementing with curcumen, that I can’t get the amount I need daily from just a normal turmeric powder. I utilize it for recovery of muscles, and the ideal dosage for that is 1 GRAM of that in the morning and 1 GRAM at night…which would be copious amounts of turmeric powder.
    On to the curcumen supplements then!

  6. Hello I’ve been making Tumeric tea. I’ve been using Two 1/4 teaspoon of tumeric 1/4 teaspoon of ginger and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon add black pepper and coconut oil add honey to sweeten it. A cup of water and a cup of almond milk nonfat. Once it come to a boil I take it out and strain it. I take it twice a day. I just started this last week. I’m using it because I want to replace my Celebrex . I have hip pain. Should I be taking the Turmeric paste instead of this toreduce pain.?

    1. Hi. Continue taking turmeric tea and see if it helps you in pain reduction. Some readers have reported that turmeric tea helps in pain relief. If it doesn’t suit you, then you can consider shifting to Golden Paste.

  7. I am taking 1 capsule of Solgar’s Full Spectrum Curcumin everyday. The ingredients list that the total curcuminoids are 48 mg** and curcumin is 40 mg**. The box says each capsule delivers the equivalency of nearly 75 (100 mg) capsules of standardized curcumin extract. Isn’t that 7,500 mgs of curcumin? I’m confused. Why does the bottle say 40 mg** and the box say 75 100 mgs. I called the company, and didn’t get too clear an answer. Can you make some sense of this?

    1. Hi. That is indeed confusing and unfortunately even have not come across any evidence that could explain this. This brand uses a different formulation of curcumin which is patented as NovaSOL Curcumin. The formulation enhances absorption of curcumin compared to its native form, but that is all the details we have as of now. You could consider contacting the company again.

    2. They are claiming they do something to make it more potent but that is just lies(marketing) unless they show some scientific study that proves it.

  8. Hi there! If turmeric powder contains less than 2% curcumin, what does it mean? Is it adulterated? what else is the probability?

    1. Hi. Just because turmeric powder contains less than 2% curcumin it does not necessarily mean it is adulterated. It could mean that the variety of turmeric used to make the powder is one which has low curcumin content in natural form in the first place. This depends on the climate, soil and other factors regarding where turmeric is grown. Also the process of preparing turmeric powder could have been such that it led to loss of curcumin.
      Adulteration would be evidenced by presence of heavy metals, added colors and other contaminants.

  9. I am going to make a paste in the pan, turmeric, fat, and pepper and slightly heat it for a small bit of time. Does anyone know if it would better to consume with food or without? Also how long i can keep the paste for? Iv heard some people freeze it. Although i really do not mind doing it everyday for maximum freshness. Thank you

  10. Enjoy your blog. I’m using 50% grounded turmeric with 25% cayenne pepper and 25% cinnamon with a small amount of grounded black pepper added, in capsule form, as an overall keep-well mixture. I have chronic sinusitis which is under control with this mixture. No need for sinusitis medicine as long as I take two capsules every morning with another two occasionally at night.

    1. 5cm of turmeric root is a slightly large amount for 1 person but if you can tolerate it and are not facing any side effects then thats great. Turmeric root fresh in diet is a great addition as a preventive measure since turmeric oils present naturally in the root can take care for the absorption of its bioactive ingredients. The amount you are taking is adequate.
      If you plan to take it for a particular condition or in a therapeutic supplemental dose we would advise Golden Paste. This includes black pepper and oil which have been proven by studies to increase absorption of turmeric.
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste

  11. how many grams of curcumin in fresh tumeric roots? i am fortunate to find a lot of stores here in Florida that sells the fresh roots, i usually juice it with carrots, and black pepper and some fish oil on empty stomach, i was daignosed with Multiple myeloma a year ago, so i read that a 8 Grams per day is recommended , how many grams of curcumin in fresh tumeric roots if i juice it?
    thanks

    1. Turmeric roots contain 3-5% curcumin. It would be quite difficult to extract 8 grams of curcumin from fresh roots by juicing. Also curcumin gets absorbed in the body with black pepper and oil when cooked. You can take the Golden Paste:https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste Also for a detailed dosage for cancer please read: https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/turmeric-curcumin-dosage-for-cancer-a-scientific-plan

  12. COULD YOU GIVE ME A ROUGH QUANTITY MIX OF TURMERIC .CURCUMIN BOSWELIA SERRATA AND BLACK PEPPER POWDERS FOR CAPSULE FILLING .I ALREADY TAKE THIS MIX AS I HAVE SKIN CANCER BUT I.M UBSURE OF QUANTITIES THANKS TAKE CARE JIM

  13. If the curcumin % is so low in turmeric,and we don’t know the curcumin % in Store bought turmeric, should we buy the pure curcumin product for better results.
    My other questions / observations are:if we take 1 or 2 teaspoons of turmeric per day of 4% strength, what happens to the other 96% that makes up turmeric, does the body just excrete it ,are there side effects like Orange skin yellowing of the eyes,damage to the kidneys ,liver etc,

    1. The other 96% includes another set of therapeutic compounds such as other curcuminoids, tumerin, turmerone etc. These too are absorbed by the body though not completely, part of this is excreted. However this does not damage the organs or lead to yellowing of the skin.

    1. You could maybe if you purée it. You can also use turmeric essential oil topically. Straight for pain and mixed with lotion for face and body.

    2. You can use fresh turmeric but that would require too much of turmeric and also the fibres would affect texture of the paste. So its best to use turmeric powder.

  14. Please…answer the question that keeps coming up over and again. Turmeric should be taken with black pepper for absorption, and a medium to long-chained fat. In one part of your blog you indicate that if we are using standard kitchen ground pepper, we are fine. In another area, it is stated that if we’re not using black peppercorns then we’re losing the ingredient needed for maximum absorption of the curcumin. Which is it? Is regular black pepper not going to give us the benefits we need?

    1. I am looking for recommended dosages of Turmeric Golden Paste for cancer treatment in humans. I realize people don’t often like to give dosages. We are currently giving mom 4-5 tsp a day (spread out over 4 times a day) for her Glioblastoma (GBM) stage 4. Last MRI showed significant tumor reduction, but could we be giving her too much at a time – sometimes hard for her to swallow. I know I have read dosages somewhere but can’t find it now.

      1. I have been reading a lot on this subject and my opinion was you can’t overdose on it. Its been said take as much as you can tolerate.

        1. You can overdose on anything. Too much water can kill you the same way as too much turmeric.
          The body has to eliminate all the excess in order to stay in balance; why giving it extra work?
          Life is about moderation and diversity.
          To me the best way to take turmeric is synergisticly with freshly grinded black pepper in small amounts (1to 2 grams or half a tea tespoon) at different times dissolved in water.
          The purpose is to have the active substance in your system as much as possible instead of a big dossage at once when your body can only assimilate certain amount and excrete the rest.

          1. Use turmeric as food spice it will not effect much taste as Indians use in almost all curries or even in many cuisine pinch at a time in all your food intake even by milk it cures sore throats. And give antibiotic + increases immune system

      2. IN ORDER FOR CURCUMIN TO BE ON A CELLULAR LEVEL I HEAR YOU SHOULD MIX TWO EGG YOLKS WITH TWO TABLE SPPONS OF COCANUT OIL WITH A TABLE SPOON OF CURCUMIN/TURMERIC. MIX AND THESE ARE CALL TURMERIC SHOTS 3 A DAY AND ALSO THE CAPS ARE ALSO GOOD YOU CAN USE SEVERAL TIMES A DAY AND ALSO USE IN COOKING IN POWDER FORM ON A DAILY BASIS.

    2. Lets use common sense.
      We need to grind peppercorns right before ingesting anything; because they have a volatile oil (peperine) wich is the active ingredient and does not stay too long after grinded.

    3. Maybe the confusion has to do with the inconsistency in piperine content of ground black pepper. After they extract piperine they sell what’s left as black pepper. So using the whole peppercorn assures you are getting the piperine

    1. Spice Capsules . Com in Australia sells Alleppey Turmeric containing about 6.6% circumin. With a capsule weight of 800 m/grams each, 2 capsules will contain 105.6 m/grams circumin. This considered an ideal dosage.

  15. I feel the amount of turmeric to be used has become totally complicated. And I feel your site has contributed to this confusion. Why not just say…use X amount of teaspoons.

    1. Hi, thanks for feedback. We do say in the article that ideal dosage is 5 gms. We have just added a tsp alongside it too. Thanks again!

  16. I am confused. Based on other articles on how much curcumin is actually absorbed–very, very little– it would seem that a person could hardly have enough tumeric! I suppose the undesirable effects of large doses are attributable to other chemicals in the herb, not to the curcum. I’ve been usinig tumeric for years to deal with tendonitis. Perhaps because I use it together with olive oil it has helped me–because I think it has. But after reading those articles, I started wondering: if so little curcumin gets absorbed, is there any evidence that it really makes any difference? Can so little really have a significant medical impact?

    1. Tzvi, active ingredient in most of the foods we eat is that small only. Lemon which we call is very rich in Vitamin C – only has 83.2mg in 100 grams! So do not judge the benefits by the quantity here.

      1. can you simply mix turmeric powder with pepper and fill empty capsules with that and take it without making the paste?

        1. Yes that is fine too but cooking also increases the absorption of turmeric. Use good quality organic turmeric powder.

    2. I am totally confused. So how many gms of curcumin should one be getting? I live in South African,take non-irradiated turmeric. One large teaspoon per day. I have no idea how much percentage curcumin in in this. Lesley

  17. Is it really worth paying over ÂŁ11 for 500g of the Fairtrade Turmeric from justingredients? Two tried and tested brands readily available from Tesco (Indus and East End) are more than adequate and under ÂŁ1.99 for 400g

    1. Hi Ray, you are right but there is a catch too. If one is satisfied with the brand already using then no need to shift at all. When we recommend we have to ensure that we check everything about the brand – their certifications, test results etc. Not all brands do that kind of testing. We do not say other brands are bad but we only recommend the ones which we are 100% sure are good. Also a 500 gm turmeric powder pouch, for 1 person lasts for almost 3 months! Its a small investment if you see in long term.

    2. I agree.Ive been using East End turmeric in Golden Paste mix and there’s obviously adequate curcumin levels as the effects on my arthritis and hip bursitis is amazing.

  18. Thanks for this. I was getting too confused with the percentage of curcumin. This has removed the confusion. love your site. thanks for sharing awesome info with all!

    1. Hello! I make turmeric tincture extract from the fresh wet root ( looks like orange ginger root) and add 3% black pepper for absorption. I soak the roots/ground pepper for 60 days in clear alcohol and I take 2 tsp of this tincture per day, in the morning. People have commented i look like Im in my 40’s but Im 60. I rarely get sick and have almost perfect physical exams. I am a believer– but have you heard of tincturing (extracting) in this way? Its MUCH cheaper than buying the little eye dropper bottles. Thanks for the blog by the way!

      1. Hi. Yes many people do make turmeric tincture in this manner i.e. by soaking roots and fresh peppercorns in alcohol. However when we spoke to experts in this matter they commented that tincture preparation requires one to be vigilant about the proportion of herb and alcohol used and further once the mother tincture is prepared it needs to be diluted to attain a certain potency. If taken at inappropriate dosages of the mother tincture it may induce other health issues like acid reflux.
        However you have not faced any such issues and your overall health seems good, so that is a really good thing. But we would recommend to get in touch with a herbalist about this.