Turmeric root and a bowl of turmeric powder

Herb of the month: Turmeric

Discover the many health-giving properties of Turmeric.


The glorious golden powder Turmeric has become one of the most popular supplements on the high street and with good reason. Available as a powder, tablet or capsule its many extensive benefits are largely due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is thought that its chief constituent curcumin is responsible for it many health benefits, new ones of which are constantly being discovered.


Some preliminary research now indicates, for example, that curcumin may help to treat Alzheimer’s disease[i]. It seems again that it is the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be responsible. It has also been shown to prevent the neurotoxicity of certain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium by chelation (helping to remove heavy metals from the body).

It is also now thought that curcumin may help prevent heart disease as well as improving existing heart disease. It has been shown to have a protective effect on the heart as well as an anti-thrombotic action[ii].


Some experts suggest that turmeric should be consumed with black pepper to enhance its absorption. Although this is true, a note of caution is called for. When taken as a supplement, piperine (a constituent of pepper) can interfere with drug metabolism and in some cases, even result in drug toxicity. Prolonged, heavy use of curcumin may also lead to liver toxicity. Always follow the recommended dose on the packet.


Turmeric has many unusual traditional uses throughout the world. For example, In the Pacific, a few days after a woman has given birth for the first time, a medicine woman rubs her body with a mixture of turmeric and coconut oil, after which she then takes a hot bath before donning traditional clothing and being reunited with her husband and family. This is known as the ngasech or first-born ceremony.

To find out more about turmeric visit the herb fact file


[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19233493