bowl of turmeric spice

Turmeric and its most active ingredient curcumin have gotten attention for their anti-inflammatory properties. We have heard from readers that this yellow spice used in curry powder and mustard can help alleviate arthritis pain. One reader offered the following experience.

“After reading about turmeric in your column, I started using one teaspoon in my scrambled eggs each morning. My arthritis has greatly improved, and I have far less pain when I walk. I work in my yard every few weeks, weeding, hoeing, mowing and pruning. Usually I am sore for days after this work. But this last time, since I started taking turmeric, I had no soreness the next day.”

Investigators are also studying the potential role of curcumin against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis and cystic fibrosis. Putting turmeric powder on cereal (as one reader did) or in scrambled eggs might taste a tad strange. One woman told us that she takes turmeric pills instead and they relieved her arthritis pain. When she stopped temporarily, the pain returned. She resumed taking turmeric pills and the pain disappeared.

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  1. Ljq

    Several people have asked about suffering diahrea when taking curcumin, but nobody as ever answered. I have been taking 500g now for about 3 weeks, but I’m scared to increase it because of the diahrea. Will it stop once my body adjusts? Has anyone found they can increase the dosage in time?

    • Leigh

      About the diarrhea, yes I think your body will adjust and it should stop. I take at least 2,000 mgs per day, sometimes a bit more. Always with a meal, always with black pepper. I take that much because that’s what works to stop the inflammation from arthritis in my hands. I’ve been on it for about 4 years now. It’s amazing how well it works. I split that dose morning and evening. The amount of black pepper needed is fairly small, maybe 1/8 tsp. I just grind some fresh pepper into my hand. When I started the black pepper with it about 6 months ago, it really made a difference. I also take D3.

    • terry

      I started taking one 450 mg capsule each day and within two days noticed change in joints–much less soreness and swelling. However after taking it for 2-3 days I developed severe diarrhea. I quit taking it 2 and a half days ago and loose stools still present although getting better. How long did it take for the stomach problems to stop for those that had this–would love to continue. BTW I also take a Proton Pump Inhibitor due to reflux and other stomach problems–could this be affecting it??

  2. sankar

    will curcumin develop kidney stones or uti?

  3. Mari-Jo

    I have taken homemade pills I make of turmeric mixed with black pepper capsules for 2 years now. It has cured the arthritis in my hands and (knock wood) I haven’t been sick with a cold in that time frame, also. I take two capsules a day with fish oil.

    • Janet
      United States

      I have been making my own turmeric capsules in the 00 capsule size. How many do you take a day and how much black pepper do you add?

    • donna
      Boston, Ma

      How long do you think it will be before seeing results? I have been on prescribed medicines with side effects. I just bought turmeric 30mg with pepper and take 2 caplets two times a day. Although it has been only 2 days. I still have a lot of pain and inflammation. When I was on medication it took about a month to see results. Do you think it will take the same amount of time with turmeric before I see results? Thanks.

      • Terry Graedon

        It could take just as long for turmeric to take effect as the medications.

      • Shelly

        30mg is not enough turmeric to notice any pain relieving benefits. I take 2000-3000mg per day for arthritis (and other chronic pain issues). I will not notice any results if I take less than 1500mg per day. You need to incorporate either black pepper or virgin coconut oil with your dosage as well, to reap the full rewards turmeric has to offer. Surprisingly, coconut oil (it must be cold pressed, virgin) tastes delicious stirred into coffee or hot cocoa, so I will usually take my turmeric with some coconut oil to help my body better absorb all the wonderful things turmeric has to offer. If you stuff your own capsules, you can look into adding ground black pepper directly to the turmeric before filling your capsules, although I would do a little research first to see what the proper ratios are before doing so (this is why I have chosen to go the coconut oil route). Hope this helps!

  4. Skeeter

    I’ve started buying root turmeric from Chinatown in London. I dice it and mix it with porridge or rice. Too soon to know how it works…..

  5. Mary

    how long does it take for Turmeric to work, for you to know it does? HELP

  6. Jay A Clark

    What, if any, legitimate, scientific studies have been done to determine specific, effective dosages, based upon actual study groups of believable sizes?
    Testimonials don’t tell how much of what concentration to take for what specific conditions.
    If Natural Health treatments want to truly be of service, they need test results that are equal to or better than conventional medicine. Otherwise, it is just Medieval guess work.
    People’s Pharmacy response: There’s a good bit of animal research and some human tissue work. We definitely need good clinical trials. You might find this review of interest:

    • Shelly

      There have been extensive studies with curcumin (found in turmeric) proving it’s effectiveness for fighting inflammation, depression (beat prozac in a blind study), cancer, and many other illnesses.

      The trick is proper absorption, and thats where the black pepper or coconut oil (or any other healthy fat) come in. Both black pepper and coconut oil, when taken with turmeric, help the human body process and absorb the curcumin. If you’re ingesting your turmeric via cooking with the root/spice, try adding coconut cream to your dish (curries and what have you), rather than coconut milk, as the cream has a higher fat content and will aid in absorption.

  7. jbw

    I see where several people asked if they could take turmeric with prednisone but I saw no answer. Please let us know.

    • Shelly

      Your doctor will be able to tell you if taking the two will have any adverse affects. I always ask my doctor before starting a new herbal remedy and he cross references whatever I bring up in his database for adverse effects and drug interaction warnings. I’m sure your doctor can do the same for you. Good luck!

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