inflammation turmeric benefits

“Let food be thy medicine…” Never before has this doctrine been more true. With countless scientific studies proving its validity, we are seeing a long list of nutrients making their way to the forefront of research headlines.  Research is showing that garlic lowers cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids improve the mood, ginger eases nausea, and cinnamon reduces blood pressure. Another spice that has continued to demonstrate profound health benefits? One of our favorites: turmeric.

The Basics: A brightly colored relative of ginger, this finger-staining orange spice is an Indian food staple. It’s the key ingredient in curries, a favorite addition to lassi and now a highly promising therapy for various ailments. Turmeric’s pharmacological component is derived from its yellow or orange pigment called curcumin. Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound that has been used for centuries in ayurveda. Historically, it has been used as a treatment for ailments such as allergies, diabetes and ulcers, as well as an agent to treat menstrual difficulties, hemorrhage and bruises.

The Benefits: While the benefits of many of turmeric’s traditional uses are yet to be proven, science has recognized its anti-inflammatory capabilities. In numerous studies, curcumin has proven to have anti-inflammatory effects, many of which may be comparable to potent drugs and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Curcumin shuts down acute inflammation by blocking the activation of a key protein that triggers the immune response. By reducing inflammation, turmeric has has the potential to aid in the treatment of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, arthritis, Chron’s disease, cardiovascular disease and chronic anterior uveitis.

Another reason to add this vibrant spice to your medicine cabinet is to keep your memory sharp and intact. Anecdotal and scientific evidence suggest curcumin has the ability to enter the brain tissue, preventing the loss of neurons. This has the potential to improve the working memory, the part of the brain that controls planning, problem solving and reasoning. Additionally, researchers believe it can help to prevent dementia and improve Alzheimer’s disease.

Let’s do it: Adding turmeric into the diet is easier than you think. It has a warm, slightly peppery flavor to it, making it an excellent match for grain bowls, curry dishes and even savory salads. We are big fans of going beyond the conventional uses too, throwing it into our superfood drinks and juices like this Turmeric-Spiked Lassi. And if you’re in need of a quick fix, grab a bottle of Pressed Juicery’s latest seasonal blend. A personal Chalkboard favorite, it’s made with navel oranges, fuji apple, lemons and – you guessed it – turmeric.

Quality Control: The active constituents in turmeric root are quite delicate, so we recommend purchasing the root fresh when available. Simply grind or juice the root before using.

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  1. So how much turmeric is safe to consume in a day? I add a 1/4 teasp into my protein shake each morning. Would it be safe and healthful to add more?

    • Hi Ann, you can definitely add more as long as you are not taking blood thinners. Feel free to add turmeric to your other dishes… it goes great on top of salads and in grain bowls.

      Lauren Felts CN | 02.25.2015 | Reply
  2. I am so tired of all these “this spice is good for you, this herb is good for you, the benefits are so and so”, but yet, I’ve never heard one single person say how much you need of any give spice/herb to gain any benefit from it. Does anyone even know? Quit telling me something is good for me and has certain benefits, without telling me how much I need of that in order to gain those benefits.

    lisa | 02.25.2015 | Reply
    • Hi Lisa, I hear your frustration, but the short answer is ‘we do not know the dose needed’. The answer to this question will also depend on how you take it, if you take it on an empty stomach, whether you dissolve it or not and whether and how it is formulated. Unlike drugs, one cannot determine the dose needed unless one knows the tissue levels achieved for that particular person with their particular form of turmeric (capsule, juiced root, freshly ground powder, bottled spice). Clinical trials for each disease and each stage and each formulation would need to be conducted to identify effective tissue levels and that information will be needed to be able to recommend required dosing. For prevention and treatment of MCI and Alzheimer’s, the dose required may depend on stage. Extrapolation from animals studies suggest that a range of 2,000 mg – 4,000 mg per day may be efficacious; however the dose for prevention may be much less, even 80 mg/day, as suggested in the Ohio State University study. A published study from DiSilvestro et al. at Ohio State University, showed daily intake of 80 mg/day reduced cholesterol and markers of inflammation in subjects 40-60 years old. So I always suggest adding it to your food (infused in fats like organic ghee is best, along with black pepper to increase absorption) for prevention, but for therapeutic treatment, try a supplement. Here are a few of our recommendations: http://thechalkboardmag.com/health-at-all-costs-the-3-best-turmeric-sources-at-every-price

      Lauren Felts CN | 02.26.2015 | Reply
    • Hi Lisa,
      Turmeric has been used in Ayurved for about 2000 years- so a personalized guideline may be given by an Ayurved practitioner.
      In my case, only after I was prescribed Aleve every 6 hours, did I start to ingest Turmeric and try to wean myself off. (and found other benefits). Using this herb/spice depended on how badly I wanted to keep off the drugs- to be open to being a guinea pig with general precautions.

      Esther Jo | 02.28.2015 | Reply

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