All you need to know
By. Dr Dilis Clare
Gp and Medical Herbalist
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), is a member of the Ginger family. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over two thousand years to treat inflamed joints, digestive conditions such as peptic ulcer and dyspepsia, skin problems, and age-related degenerative conditions.
Dose. Taking 1 tsp. of Turmeric per day in cooking is safe and beneficial.
Curcumin is fat rather than water-soluble, so is best taken with a little warm milk or yoghurt (almond milk is a lovely alternative if you are vegan or vegetarian).
- Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day. Dried root: This is the most common way of using turmeric. This is how turmeric spice / powder is made – by drying cut root and then making a powder. Drying will cause loss of moisture and maybe of some beneficial aspects of turmeric.
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day. This is basically what we call as supplements. Supplement manufacturers extract curcumin from turmeric and then concentrate it to make standardized powders. These are then sold as turmeric supplements in the market. Based on the brand the concentration may change. Because they are standardised to a range of specifications follow the directions for each brand as indicated.
Researchers have given dosages as high as 8 g per day to patients. These are therapy doses for significant illness including chronic pain. For example, if you have back pain, you may want to take a high dosage for a week or two to dampen the inflammation and relieve pain. After all the alternative is to take Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories or Paracetamol (acetaminophen) to manage pain, and these have serious side effects.
When the acute flare up calms down you come to the lower range of Turmeric 1-3gms per day. Thus, in my opinion there are two kinds of turmeric dosages we can take:
- Maintenance – which are low and which we can continue for lifetime for chronic inflammatory or degenerative processes including age related joint pain and memory loss/Alzheimer’s disease
- Acute flare up – required when we have pain or loss of function during a flare up.
So for a flare up of arthritis higher doses can be used and then reduced to maintenance levels when the flare up settles down.
Turmeric is generally safe to use, except by people with gallstones or other gallbladder disorders. It should only be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding on medical advice. Some studies have suggested that Turmeric may have a very slight anticoagulant effect, so people taking anticoagulant medication (blood-thinners) should seek professional advice before taking it.