By now you probably know that inflammation is considered to be the root cause of a majority of health ailments (everything from allergies, to cancer and autoimmune disorders).
This might explain why turmeric has become one of the most popular culinary herbs over the last couple of years. As research expands on the health benefits of turmeric, it’s becoming more and more clear why it should be included in our diets on the daily.
Before it became widely popular in the West, turmeric was used for over 4,000 years as a medicinal remedy in East India for countless conditions. Researchers today claim that turmeric is not only a powerful anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, but also a great remedy for digestive and skin issues (which go hand in hand, considering our digestion is closely tied to the health of our skin).
How Much Turmeric To Take?
When you’re deciding on how much turmeric to take, or what type of turmeric to take, things can get a little confusing.
Depending on the reason you are using turmeric, and the form in which you take it, the dosing for turmeric will change. The specific guidelines below from well-established experts and health professionals will help you decide just that.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of dosing: preventative and curative.
Preventative dosing is lower than curative dosing in that it is taken for as long as needed, or even indefinitely.
Curative dosing is a much higher dose than preventative, as it is used for a specific diagnosis. Large doses of turmeric should not be taken indefinitely, but only until the issue is resolved.
Turmeric should also be taken with a little bit of black pepper (or if you’re taking a supplement, there should always be piperine (the active ingredient in black pepper) included) because it significantly increases the bioavailability of curcumin. The same is true if you take it with coconut oil – but black pepper is best.
The Forms of Turmeric
There are different forms of turmeric, too. They come in the following:
Fresh Cut Root: fresh-cut turmeric root can be found in most Asian food stores and health food stores, although I would recommend you opt for the organic fresh form in health food stores. You can add this to foods such as salad, smoothies, or even vegetable dishes. It is recommended that you do not cook the fresh root, as it will destroy the valuable nutrients.
Dried Root: this is turmeric powder. Don’t just opt for a standard turmeric powder at your local grocery store, always get a high-quality organic turmeric powder. Supplements are typically made from turmeric powder. Curcumin (the active component in turmeric that makes it so amazing) is extracted from the turmeric and then concentrated to make standardized powders.
Fluid Extract: this is typically a liquid form of the active ingredients in turmeric (namely, curcumin) mixed with vegetable glycerin and water (in my opinion, this is better than the alcohol-tincture form described below).
Tincture: tinctures are made with alcohol as the delivery method, and often vary in strength. The ingredients are typically turmeric curcuminoids, water, and 20% alcohol.
Tea: turmeric root is also available as a tea – some people like to add a little coconut oil and black pepper to the tea, as well as honey to sweeten it up a bit.
The ideal dosage of turmeric for adults, according to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, are as follows:
• 5-3 grams fresh cut root, daily
• 1-3 grams dried powdered root, daily
• 400-600 milligrams, curcumin (standardized powder), three times daily
• (1:1) 30-90 drops, fluid extract, daily
• (1:2) 15-30 drops, tincture, four times daily
According to Dr. Weil, 400-600mg curcumin (standardized) should be taken 3 times daily.
According to WebMD, the following turmeric dosages should be taken for each ailment:
• Osteoarthritis: 500mg of curcumin extract that contains 95% standardized powder (twice daily)
• Rheumatoid arthritis: 500mg of curcumin extract that contains 95% standardized powder (twice daily)
• Upset stomach: 500mg of turmeric (four times daily)
• High cholesterol: 1.4 grams of turmeric extract, in two divided doses, daily for three months
• Itching (pruritus): 1500 mg of turmeric in three divided doses, daily for eight weeks
Dosing instructions will obviously vary, depending on whether you are taking it for prevention or if you’re trying to treat something. It will also depend if your condition is temporary or severe (such as pain for instance).
Taking turmeric at the higher end of the dosing spectrum would be best if you’re wanting to get something under control until you are feeling better (in which case, once you’re feeling better, return back to standard dosing).
Turmeric Dosing and Cancer
Here is an 8-week regimen for turmeric dosing when trying to fight cancer:
Week 1: start with a small dose of 1 gram of curcumin per day. If you see no side effects, take it for a week and then proceed to the dosage of week 2.
Week 2: increase the dosage of curcumin to 2 grams per day. Again, check for any issues, side effects, etc. If everything seems to be going fine, take it for a week and proceed to dosage of week 3.
Week 3: Double the dosage again to 4 grams per day. If everything looks fine, proceed to week 4.
Week 4-8: Double the dosage to 8 grams per day, and continue for 5 weeks.
How Safe is Turmeric?
Turmeric is generally very safe. Side effects rarely occur, and when they do, it is usually when extremely high doses are taken for an extended period of time.
If you are taking high doses, consult a health practitioner, especially if you’re wanting it to be taken in the longer-term.
For possible side effects of large, long-term turmeric doses, check out the advice below:
– Turmeric can lower blood sugar, so diabetics and individuals with hypoglycaemia should consult their doctor before taking.
– Do not take turmeric with other herbs that have blood-sugar-lowering effects (or with drugs such as anti-hypertensives that artificially lower blood pressure).
– Never take turmeric if you’re on cholesterol-lowering medications, since turmeric also lowers LDL (bad) and raises HDL (good) and can boost the effect of these drugs.
– Turmeric is a natural blood thinner and should not be taken in conjunction with blood thinners such as warfarin, coumadin, clopidogrel, or aspirin, or with herbs such as ginkgo biloba or garlic (all have blood thinning properties).
– If you’re going for surgery, stop taking turmeric at least a week prior. It things the blood, and can make it harder to stop bleeding during medical procedures.
– Turmeric can cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
– Turmeric increases bile production, so people with gall bladder or gall stone problems should avoid therapeutic (high) doses.