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.