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Turmeric

General Information

Turmeric, a shrub related to ginger, is grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, and Africa. Known for its warm, bitter taste and golden color, turmeric is commonly used in fabric dyes and foods such as curry powders, mustards, and cheeses. It should not be confused with Javanese turmeric.

Common Name(s)

turmeric, turmeric root, Indian saffron

Scientific Name(s)

Curcuma longa

Scientific Name(s)

Turmeric's finger-like underground stems (rhizomes) are dried and taken by mouth as a powder or in capsules, teas, or liquid extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredients. Turmeric can also be made into a paste and used on the skin.

What is this product used for?

In traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, and regulate menstruation.

Turmeric has also been applied directly to the skin for eczema and wound healing.

Today, turmeric is used for conditions such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, and gallstones. It is also used to reduce inflammation, as well as to prevent and treat cancer.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

There is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted.

Preliminary findings from animal and laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric - called curcumin - may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidantantioxidanta chemical substance that prevents cellular damage from free radicals properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in people.

NCCAM-funded investigators have studied the active chemicals in turmeric and their effects - particularly anti-inflammatory effects - in people to better understand how turmeric might be used for health purposes. NCCAM is also funding basic research studies on the potential role of turmeric in preventing acute respiratory distress syndrome, liver cancer, and postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Turmeric is considered safe for most adults.

High doses or long-term use of turmeric may cause indigestion, nausea, or diarrhea.

In animals, high doses of turmeric have caused liver problems. No cases of liver problems have been reported in people.

People with gallbladder disease should avoid using turmeric as a dietary supplement, as it may worsen the condition.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Turmeric. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/turmeric/

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