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Maureen I was buying Tumeric at a health store and was ... »
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Can I be sure of authenticity of Turmeric powders when ... »
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I use turmeric therapeutically as well as for cooking. ... »
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Used some fresh turmeric in a stir fry a couple of nigh... »

Testing turmeric

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

Round where I live most of the cafes offer some version of a turmeric drink: Golden lattes, turmeric chia (with any variety of milk) and so it goes on. In the name of research I thought I'd try one which was quite delicious, but before I make a habit of drinking it too often, or give you a recipe for it, I thought I'd find out whether we can ingest too much turmeric, and, more vainly, if a daily turmeric latte or two may lead to yellow stained teeth.

So is turmeric the golden elixir to life? Here's what I discovered.

You can make toothpaste from turmeric so perhaps it doesn't stain the teeth (but it may, I haven't tested the theory so it's too early to say).

But it does appear to be a pretty great elixir for most things (with some exceptions to note at the end of this article).

The active compound in turmeric is curcumin which gives it its distinctive yellow colour. In the ancient healing of Ayurveda, turmeric has been used for centuries to treat an extraordinary range of conditions. It's used internally in the form of fresh juice, tea, tinctures, or powder, and topically as creams, lotions, pastes, and ointments.

These days science has caught up with this ancient wisdom and turmeric is recognised as having therapeutic benefits for a range of conditions including (but not limited to) inflammatory conditions including arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and IBS, skin inflammation, heartburn, joint pain, stomach pain, diarrhoea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, bacterial infections, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high cholesterol, skin inflammation, fatigue, headaches, bronchitis, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, itchy skin, depression, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and water retention.

Is also used topically to treat sprains, swelling, bruising, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions, infected wounds, and gum disease. Finally, turmeric is used as an enema for people with inflammatory bowel disease
How does it work?

Curcumin is responsible for the biological activity of turmeric. It is made up of hundreds of molecular constituents, with anti-biotic, cancer preventing, anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Combined with black pepper, curcumin becomes 2000 times more potent.

You can buy it in capsule form, but for my money I would always prefer to find a way to incorporate it into food or drink. (See Dandy turmeric chai recipe below).

Side effects and contraindications

Don't overdo it

There are few significant side effects from eating turmeric although some people may experience stomach upsets, dizziness and nausea. There is one report of a person who took 1,500 mg turmeric twice a day and experienced dangerous abnormal heart rhythm although it's not known whether the turmeric affected this condition or something else. Regardless, it's better to err on the side of caution and stick to the recommended dosage.

How much turmeric should you take?

1 tsp of turmeric = 2 grams (2,000 mg)

When cooking with ground turmeric powder, the recommended amount is 1 to 3 grams per day. One gram of ground turmeric powder is about teaspoon. Three grams is about 1 teaspoons of ground turmeric powder.

If taking turmeric as a supplement, the general recommended dose is 400-600mg of standardized curcumin powder 1-3 times per day.

When not to take turmeric

The following information was sourced on

Pregnancy and breastfeeding
While there is scant information on this, the advice given by health professionals is that turmeric taken in medicinal amounts may promote menstruation or stimulate the uterus and endanger the unborn child.

Gallbladder problems
Turmeric can make gallbladder problems worse.

Bleeding problem
Taking turmeric might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Use with caution in people with diabetes as it might make blood sugar too low.

A stomach disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Turmeric can cause stomach upset in some people. It might make stomach problems such as GERD worse.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which might act like the hormone estrogen. In theory, turmeric might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. However, some research shows that turmeric reduces the effects of estrogen in some hormone-sensitive cancer cells. Therefore, turmeric might have beneficial effects on hormone-sensitive conditions. Until more is known, use cautiously if you have a condition that might be made worse by exposure to hormones.

Turmeric might lower testosterone levels and decrease sperm movement when taken by mouth by men. This might reduce fertility. Turmeric should be used cautiously by people trying to have a baby.

Iron deficiency
Taking high amounts of turmeric might prevent the absorption of iron. Turmeric should be used with caution in people with iron deficiency.

Turmeric might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using turmeric at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Dandy turmeric chai
Serves 2

3 tsp Dandy Chai (I used Kintra Foods Dandy Chai tea bags and emptied tea bags)
2 cups water
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup reduced fat milk
2 tsp coconut sugar

Add the Dandy Chai, water and turmeric to a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the milk and bring to a simmer for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut sugar.
Pour into a plunger. Plunge and serve

Nutritional Information per serve
Energy 408 kJ, Protein 6 g, Fat 2 g, Sat Fat 1 g
Carbohydrate 13 g, Fibre 0 g


May 4 2017 3:32PM
Used some fresh turmeric in a stir fry a couple of nights ago - about the equivalent to 2 garlic cloves, didn't weigh it , sorry, and afterwards everyone who ate it had pretty consistent wind for the rest of the night (not smelly thankfully but certainly persistent!). Whether it was the turmeric or not I don't really know, but everything else in the recipe was something I cook with fairly regularly.
Comment by: SHARON
May 4 2017 4:05PM
I use turmeric therapeutically as well as for cooking. I no longer need to take any pain killers for arthritis - that can only be good! Have a truly delicious turmeric with coconut milk sauce for veg, fish etc. And have no experience with wind, as reported by Sharon. Thank goodness.
Comment by: Louisa
Maureen ttitt
May 4 2017 4:24PM
Can I be sure of authenticity of Turmeric powders when buying as there is a lot of different brands
Comment by: Maureen ttitt
May 24 2017 12:27PM
Maureen I was buying Tumeric at a health store and was advised I would be better off buying from the supermarket , because I wanted it for arthritis not for cooking, so who knows?
Comment by: helen

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