Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Finally, science is catching up to tradition. Current research is very promising for curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric.

Here is a summary of the research-based benefits of curcumin [1]:



Consistency of research: Very High

Inflammation plays a major role in most chronic diseases including cancer.

Numerous studies have shown that curcumin can suppress inflammation through multiple pathways.

An interesting study involving mice who participated in eccentric muscle training by running downhill showed reduced inflammation and muscle damage after taking consuming curcumin.  This suggest that turmeric has potential to enhance performance recovery after strenuous exercise. [24]

Turmeric inhibits several molecules involved in inflammation. It’s shown to be safe at high dosages including subjects taking 8000 mg per day for 3 months.[6]

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that taking high dosages of turmeric was effective to reduce radiation dermatitis (inflammation of skin) in 30 breast cancer patients. [32]

A randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo controlled study showed that turmeric was effective maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis which is known to be an inflammatory disease of the large intestine.  Doses of 2000 mg per day were used in this study. [35]

Pain 01


Consistency of research: Very High

Several studies have shown that turmeric can reduce pain.

There appears to be a link between curcumin at higher dosages and a reduction in post-operative pain, arthritic pain, and general pain.

A randomized controlled trial of 120 patients took 500 mg of curcumin, twice daily which was shown reduce pain in knee osteoarthritis[2].

A new pre-clinical study in 2017 shows that curcumin has potential to be a treatment option for low back pain and lumbar radiculopathy due to its role in regulating nociceptive (pain) pathways, neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress associated with disc injuries.[46]

Curcumin and ibuprofen showed similar reductions in pain for the duration of the studies which were 4 weeks and 6 weeks. [47]

Antioxidant 01


Consistency of research: Very High

What are antioxidants? Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which prevents them from causing damage to cells in the body. It is possible for the body to produce its own antioxidants, but it primarily relies on the consumption of foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to obtain antioxidants.

Turmeric is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature. It regulates free radicals to reduce cellular damage and promote cell repair.

In 2010, a study showed that taking 500 mg of curcumin, twice daily helped reduce DNA damage related to Arsenic poisoning and increased the level of antioxidant activity[4].

Turmeric is shown to activate NRF2 which reduces cell damage, promotes cell repair, and rejuvenation.  The NRF2 pathway is the regulator of the antioxidant pathway for all cells in the body.[33] The research for NRF2 is cutting-edge for managing chronic diseases.

Curcumin reduces oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in knee osteoarthritis. [48]

Stiff joints


Turmeric has been used widely to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

In 2016, a systematic review of randomized controlled trials showed that turmeric is justified as a dietary adjunct to conventional therapy for arthritis[3].

In a systematic review, 8 randomized controlled trials investigated the link between curcumin and joint arthritis.  Most of the studies including taking up to 1200 mg of curcumin per day and they showed reductions in pain and improved function.[7]

Forty-five patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were given 500 mg of curcumin per day and improvements in symptoms of RA. [36]

Curcumin was shown to improve outcomes (VAS and WOMAC scores) in patients with knee osteoarthritis. [48]



Improved cognition and fatigue were found in 60 healthy adults who took 400 mg of curcumin.[22]

In another placebo-controlled study, improvements in short-term memory were shown in people taking 1000 mg of turmeric powder.

The role of turmeric in activating NRF2 suggests it can be used for therapeutic purposes to prevent cognitive decline. [43]

Curcumin reverse damage of neurons in chronically-stressed brains in pre-clinical trials. 49

Curcumin is shown to increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which supports brain health.[50]


FIghts Against Cancer

Studies have shown promising results for the role of turmeric in interrupting the process of cancer.  A preclinical trial with mice showed that 500 mg/kg of curcumin inhibited the growth of ovarian cancer cells.[12]

Some studies haves suggested that turmeric can regulate the same pathways as FDA approved cancer-fighting drugs.  Turmeric is shown by prelincial and clinical trials to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activities. [20]

Turmeric has been shown to induce cell death in prostate cancer cells in addition to interfering with the pathways that cause prostate cancer. [25]

Tuermis is being investigated in phase IIa clinical trials for the prevention of colorectal cancer.  At high dosages, it show chemopreventative properties.
In a study investigating the chemopreventative role of curcumin, curmcum was shown to induce tumor cell death in various stages of colon cancers in rats. [37]

Several other studies show that curcumin interferes with cell pathways that lead to cancer. [38]-[42]

Research supports additional human clinical trials should be conducted to support the use of curcumin as a treatment for cancer. [44]



Consistency of research: Very High

In 2013, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study compared the difference between curcumin and anti-depressants.

The subjects taking 330 mg of curcumin daily trended to a more rapid relief of depression symptoms compared to the placebo[5].

A metanalysis including 342 patients with major depression took between 500 mg-1000 mg of curcumin per day and the results showed that curcumin is effective at alleviating the symptoms of major depression.[7]

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 108 adults showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of major depression. [45]

Where do I find the Research?

Discover the benefits of turmeric yourself by searching quality websites like PubMed, or

We have provided a Reference List Below:


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  3. Daily, J. W., Yang, M., & Park, S. (2016). Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Journal of Medicinal Food,19(8), 717-729. doi:10.1089/jmf.2016.3705
  4. Biswas, J., Sinha, D., Mukherjee, S., Roy, S., Siddiqi, M., & Roy, M. (2010). Curcumin protects DNA damage in a chronically arsenic-exposed population of West Bengal. Human & Experimental Toxicology,29(6), 513-524. doi:10.1177/0960327109359020.
  5. Bergman, J., Miodownik, C., Bersudsky, Y., Sokolik, S., Lerner, P. P., Kreinin, A., Lerner, V. (2013). Curcumin as an Add-On to Antidepressive Treatment. Clinical Neuropharmacology,36(3), 73-77. doi:10.1097/wnf.0b013e31828ef969.
  6. Madhu, K., Chanda, K., & Saji, M. J. (2012). Safety and efficacy of Curcuma longa extract in the treatment of painful knee osteoarthritis: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Inflammopharmacology, 21(2), 129-136. doi:10.1007/s10787-012-0163-3
  7. Peddada, K. V., Peddada, K. V., Shukla, S. K., Mishra, A., & Verma, V. (2015). Role of Curcumin in Common Musculoskeletal Disorders: a Review of Current Laboratory, Translational, and Clinical Data. Orthopaedic Surgery, 7(3), 222-231. doi:10.1111/os.12183
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  9. Al-Karawi, D., Mamoori, D. A., & Tayyar, Y. (2015). The Role of Curcumin Administration in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: Mini Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Phytotherapy Research, 30(2), 175-183. doi:10.1002/ptr.5524
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  12. Yang F, Lim GP, Begum AN, Ubeda OJ, Simmons MR, Ambegaokar SS, Chen PP, Kayed R, Glabe CG, Frautschy SA, Cole GM. Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. J Biol Chem. 2005;280:5892–5901.
  13. Yang X, Thomas DP, Zhang X, Culver BW, Alexander BM, Murdoch WJ, Rao MN, Tulis DA, Ren J, Sreejayan N. Curcumin inhibits platelet-derived growth factor-stimulated vascular smooth muscle cell function and injury-induced neointima formation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006;26:85–90.
  14. Zbarsky V, Datla KP, Parkar S, Rai DK, Aruoma OI, Dexter DT. Neuroprotective properties of the natural phenolic antioxidants curcumin and naringenin but not quercetin and fisetin in a 6-OHDA model of Parkinson’s disease. Free Radic Res. 2005;39:1119–1125. [PubMed]
  15. Zhang L, Fiala M, Cashman J, Sayre J, Espinosa A, Mahanian M, Zaghi J, Badmaev V, Graves MC, Bernard G, Rosenthal M. Curcuminoids enhance amyloid-beta uptake by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006;10:1–7
  16. Banerjee M, Tripathi LM, Srivastava VM, Puri A, Shukla R. Modulation of inflammatory mediators by ibuprofen and curcumin treatment during chronic inflammation in rat. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2003;25:213–224.
  17. Ukil A, Maity S, Karmakar S, Datta N, Vedasiromoni JR, Das PK. Curcumin, the major component of food flavour turmeric, reduces mucosal injury in trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-induced colitis. Br J Pharmacol. 2003;139:209–218.
  18. Potential therapeutic effects of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory agent, against neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases. (2008, July 09). Retrieved September 21, 2017, from
  19. Oral supplementation of turmeric attenuates proteinuria, transforming growth factor-β and interleukin-8 levels in patients with overt type 2 diabetic nephropathy: A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2017, from
  20. Immune modulation by curcumin: The role of interleukin-10. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2017, from
  21. Curcumin mediates anticancer effects by modulating multiple cell signaling pathways. (2015, July 02). Retrieved September 21, 2017, from
  22. Shehzad, A., Qureshi, M., Anwar, M. N., & Lee, Y. S. (2017, August 03). Multifunctional Curcumin Mediate Multitherapeutic Effects. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from
  23. Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2017, from
  24. Aggarwal BB. Curcumin-free tumeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of tumeric. Mol Nutr Food Res.2013; 57:1529-42.
  25. Davis JM, Murphy EA, Carmichael MD, Zielinski MR, Groschwitz CM, Brown AS, Ghaffar A, Mayer EP. Curcumin effects on inflammation and performance recovery following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Mar 1
  26. Dorai T, Gehani N, Katz A. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. II. Curcumin inhibits tyrosine kinase activity of epidermal growth factor receptor and depletes the protein. Mol Urol. 2000;4:1-6.
  27. Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, Kuscuoglu N, Wilson J, McCaffrey G, et al. Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006;54:3452-64.
  28. Shehzad A, Khan S, Shehzad O, Lee YS. Curcumin therapeutic promises and bioavailability in colorectal cancer. Drugs Today (Barc). 2010;46:523-32. Review.
  29. Su CC, Lin JG, Li TM, Chung JG, Yang JS, Ip SW, et al. Curcumin-induced apoptosis of human colon cancer colo 205 cells through the production of ROS, Ca2+ and the activation of caspase-3. Anticancer Res. 2006;26:4379-89.
  30. Suryanarayana P, Satyanarayana A, Balakrishna N, Kumar PU, Reddy GB. Effect of turmeric and curcumin on oxidative stress and antioxidant enzymes in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat. Med Sci Monit. 2007;13:BR286-92.
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  32. TS, Qui. “Efficacy and Safety of Turmeric and Curcumin in Lowering Blood Lipid Levels in Patients with Cardiovascular Risk Factors: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Nutr J., vol. 16, no. 1, ser. 68, 11 Oct. 2017. 68.
  33. Panahi, Yunes, et al. “Curcuminoids Modify Lipid Profile in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, vol. 33, 2017, pp. 1–5., doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2017.05.006.
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  35. Kuptniratsaikul, Vilai, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Curcuma Domestica Extracts Compared with Ibuprofen in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: a Multicenter Study.” Clinical Interventions in Aging, 2014, p. 451., doi:10.2147/cia.s58535.
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  38. Hanai, H. “Curcumin Maintenance Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis: Randomized, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol., vol. 4, no. 12, Dec. 2006, pp. 1502–1506.
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