Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, may reduce swelling and help ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, like pain and inflammation. Learn more from experts at WebMD. Both CBD and turmeric are thought to have great benefits for inflammation and ridding the body of toxins. But how does it work?
In the U.S., turmeric is best known as a spice. It’s one of the main components of curry powder. In India and other parts of Asia, turmeric is used to treat many health conditions. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and perhaps even anticancer properties.
Why do people take turmeric?
Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, may help to reduce inflammation. Several studies suggest that it might ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, like pain and inflammation. Other compounds in turmeric might also be medicinal.
In lab tests, curcumin seems to block the growth of certain kinds of tumors. One study showed that turmeric extract containing curcumin could — in some cases — stabilize colorectal cancer that wasn’t helped by other treatments. But more research is needed.
Other preliminary lab studies suggest that curcumin or turmeric might protect against types of colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Based on studies, turmeric and curcumin might also help treat upset stomach, diabetes, depression, HIV, uveitis, and viral infections.
But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these studies have been done in the laboratory. Researchers haven’t yet conducted significant studies on the benefits of turmeric and curcumin. So it’s too early to say what health benefits turmeric might have.
How much turmeric should you take?
Turmeric is an unproven treatment, though it has years of traditional use and some preliminary convincing research. There is no standard dosage. Ask your health care provider for advice.
Can you get turmeric naturally from foods?
Turmeric, as a spice, is a common ingredient in Indian cooking. The spice (and supplement) comes from the underground stems (rhizomes) of the turmeric plant.
What are the risks of taking turmeric?
- Side effects. Turmeric is generally safe. It can cause nausea and diarrhea, especially in high doses or after long-term use. It might also pose a risk of ulcers in high doses. As a topical treatment, it can cause skin irritation. Caution is advised when turmeric is taken by people known to have gallstones; consult your health care provider first.
- Risks.Pregnant women should not use turmeric supplements. Talk to a doctor before using turmeric supplements regularly if you have any medical conditions, including gallbladder or kidney disease, bleeding disorders, diabetes, or immunity problems. Since turmeric can potentially increase bleeding, stop taking it at least two weeks before any surgery.
- Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using turmeric supplements. They could interact with medicines like aspirin, NSAID painkillers, statins, diabetes drugs, blood pressure medicines, and blood thinners. They might also interact with supplements that decrease clotting, like ginkgo, ginseng, and garlic.
Given the lack of evidence about its safety, children and women who are breastfeeding should only use turmeric supplements if a doctor recommends it.
Fundukian, L., ed. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, third edition, 2009.
Mills, S. and Bone, K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 2000.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: “About Herbs: Turmeric.”
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: “Herbs at a Glance: Turmeric.”
Whats the deal with….CBD and turmeric?
If CBD and turmeric offer potential benefits for inflammation, could it make sense to combine both?
15th August 2021
Both CBD and turmeric are thought to have great benefits for inflammation and ridding the body of toxins. They are now being combined as food, capsules, oil and coffees. But how does it work?
Turmeric is the spice that gives curries a vibrant yellow colour. It comes from the root of a plant called Curcuma longa. For centuries the compound curcumin contained in turmeric has been used in Indian medicine as an anti-oxidant. It also may have potential anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it perfect for helping to boost the similar properties that are associated with CBD.
There have been a few recent reviews and trials on turmeric for knee pain and arthritis.
A review from this year on turmeric for anti-inflammatory has revealed it may help with osteoarthritis (OA). The researchers concluded that over the ten studies examined when compared with a placebo, there appears to be a benefit of turmeric on knee OA pain and function.
In a small study from 2020 on 70 patients diagnosed with knee arthritis, it was discovered that those taking turmeric reported less knee pain.
CBD has also shown potential for soothing arthritic pain. In one study, researchers treated arthritic rats with a topical form of CBD. The rats showed a difference in inflammation levels and their condition was less developed.
It is unknown how CBD and turmeric combine. As they have main similar properties, it could be beneficial to combine both for certain conditions such as osteoarthritis.
One difficulty with taking turmeric is that it is incredibly hard to absorb due to its hydrophobic nature. This causes the molecules to stick together when they come into contact with water in the body. It is thought that adding pepper to turmeric will increase the absorption rate by 2000 percent.
Both CBD and turmeric have low bioavailability making it difficult to absorb them easily. However, they are both lipophilic which means adding fat can help them absorb better.
How to take CBD and turmeric
This is why CBD and turmeric as supplements come with an oil base. Different companies use different bases including rapeseed, hemp or flaxseed oil. Taking these compounds suspended in an oil automatically makes them more easily absorbed. The oil can be popped under the tongue for a few minutes before being swallowed.
Food and drink
Taking CBD and turmeric in food may be less effective than oil. Turmeric is often added to coffee as a latte which CBD can be dropped into. The lower level of fat in the drink, or in certain foods can make it unreliable for absorption but very tasty. Another problem is that the food has to travel through the digestive system first before any of the CBD or turmeric can be absorbed. Digestive acids and enzymes destroy some of the CBD before it can be absorbed. The small amount that gets through the intestinal wall will then be metabolised by the liver before it reaches the rest of the body.
Unfortunately, capsules are also subject to being passed through the digestive system. This could give a slower effect in comparison to the oil which is absorbed through the oral mucous membranes much faster.