You may use turmeric to make curry, but other people use it to treat inflammation and pain.
The main active ingredient found in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is an inflammation blocker. It’s as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs without the major side effects.
That’s a big deal because inflammation plays a role in every major disease.
Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient holistic approach, uses turmeric for internal and external inflammation. Practitioners treat fatigue, rheumatism, and serious pain with turmeric.
In the past, people outside of Ayurvedic practice considered turmeric a spice. It was also used to dye fabric and food. Now, it’s popular around the world for treating ailments.
It easy to find turmeric for medicinal use. It’s available in teas, juices, and pills. But how do you know the proper dosage?
Keep reading to learn how to take turmeric for pain.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant that grows in India, Asia, and Central America. It’s related to the ginger plant. Yet, it has a pungent, bitter taste.
Dried turmeric roots become powder, tablets, capsules, teas, and extracts. It’s a common spice found in curry powder.
The yellow curcumin is often used for food coloring. Makeup manufacturers add turmeric to beauty products for its antioxidant properties. Its essential oil is in perfume.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric in supplement form has higher levels than the spice used in cooking. It’s a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet. The anti-inflammatory properties make it a popular remedy for conditions, including:
- Joint Pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Kidney Problems
Recent studies show turmeric helps prevent and reduce joint inflammation. This reduces pain, stiffness, and inflammation related to arthritis.
For digestive relief, pay close attention to the amount of turmeric in a supplement. High dosages can cause an upset stomach.
Turmeric’s health benefits may include lower cholesterol levels. Research done on animals to date produced encouraging and consistent results. It’s reasonable to think it can lower cholesterol in humans, too.
How to Take Turmeric for Pain
Turmeric in Indian and Asian cooking is a long-standing tradition.
A typical Indian diet supplies 2,000 to 2,5000 mg of turmeric per day. That equals 60 to 100 mg of curcumin. If you ingested the same quantity of turmeric as an extract it would be 1,900 to 2,375 mg of curcumin.
The spice has about 3% curcumin. Turmeric extract has 95% curcumin. Adding turmeric to your food provides some benefits, but not as much as a supplement.
Most studies use a turmeric extract. The typical study dose of 500 to 2,000 mg of turmeric per day had potential benefits. The exact dose depends on the medical condition.
The Arthritis Foundation suggests taking turmeric capsules (400 to 600 mg) 3 times per day. Another option is to take a half to three grams of the root powder every day.
Further studies revealed one gram of curcumin per day helped arthritis patients.
One issue with turmeric is it’s hard for the body to absorb the spice by itself. Nutritionists suggest mixing the spice with black pepper and olive oil to help your body absorb it.
The amount of turmeric used in normal cooking is safe. But don’t assume more is better. High doses can cause nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness.
The World Health Organization found 1.4 mg of turmeric per pound of body weight is okay for daily intake. It’s not advisable to take high doses of turmeric for long periods of time. There isn’t enough research to guarantee safety.
If you want to take turmeric to relieve pain and inflammation, talk to your doctor. It’s important to consider potential drug interactions.
When to Avoid Taking Turmeric
It’s important to be cautious with all herbal supplements. Turmeric is safe when taken in recommended doses by mouth or applied to the skin.
In most cases when people take turmeric to relieve pain it’s safe. But, you should consult your primary care physician and use caution in the following situations:
If you suffer from an iron deficiency, turmeric may interfere with the way your body absorbs iron.
Turmeric is high in oxalate. Oxalate can bind with calcium to form painful kidney stones.
Turmeric is dangerous if you have gallbladder disease. It may encourage the gallbladder to contract and make symptoms worse.
Turmeric can lower the ability of blood to clot. Turmeric can increase the risk of bleeding for someone on certain blood thinner meds.
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
There’s no research on turmeric supplements for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Turmeric may cause a drop in blood sugar levels.
As mentioned earlier, consult your doctor if you take other medication. Turmeric supplements interact with certain blood thinners and diabetes medications. Normal amounts of turmeric eaten in food are safe.
Doses up to 8 grams per day for limited periods of time in research studies haven’t produced toxic effects. Some people did experience side effects including stomach pain, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea.
We need more research to determine the safety of long-term usage.
How to Choose Your Turmeric Supplement
Supplements aren’t regulated like medications. Do your research on the company and brand you choose.
Turmeric extracts are the most potent type of supplement. Concentrated extracts are 95% curcumin. Powders and spices contain a lot less of the potent ingredient.
Extracts also have less chance of contamination from other substances.
The Turmeric Takeaway
Consider the research if you want to know how to take turmeric for pain. Studies suggest 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day has potential benefits. Turmeric in extract form performs best.
Remember, official dosage recommendations aren’t available. It may take some trial and error to determine what works best for you.
Health benefits occur when you combine turmeric with a healthy diet and exercise. But what if turmeric doesn’t relieve your inflammation and pain?
When you need non-addictive options for chronic pain relief, contact NWA Interventional Pain.
Schedule an appointment today. Our natural, powerful treatments reduce the inflammation that causes chronic pain. We’re experts at treating a variety of pain conditions.