Super Food: Let’s Talk Turmeric

I have to admit, when I was asked to write a post about turmeric, I had no idea how much it has been studied in terms of helping with everything from arthritis to migraines to Alzheimer’s!

Super Food: Let's Talk Tumeric

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is often found in curries and other spicy dishes from India, Asia, and the Middle East. The spice contains a compound called curcumin that has been used by Ayurveda practitioners for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.

Sampling of Studies

In 2012, a study published in AYU, An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, reported on three Alzheimer’s patients exhibiting irritability, anxiety, and agitation among other symptoms. Findings indicated that behavioral issues had improved significantly after being treated with less than a gram of turmeric daily for a period of three months. The study concluded turmeric, when combined with routine therapy, increased quality of life and improved performance of activities of daily living in patients studied.

Several years ago, ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Ph.D., published a comprehensive summary of over 700 turmeric studies that support the Ayurveda research. This herbal antidote was found to counteract symptoms of Alzheimer’s by blocking formation of beta-amyloid, the sticky protein substance believed to have a hand in cell and tissue loss indicative of an Alzheimer’s brain. In addition, turmeric reduced inflammation of neural tissue associated with the disease.

The Journal of Neuroscience had also previously published a study that supports the AYU findings, calling the alternative treatment promising. Tests conducted on mice suggested that the herb did indeed reduce plaques in the brain.

Please Pass the Turmeric

So the logical question is, how do we get turmeric into our diet? The most obvious way, of course, is to enjoy curry dishes as often as possible. Also consider adding a bit to your smoothie or whipping up some turmeric tea. We found the following recipe on Dr. Andrew Weil’s website. He suggests experimenting with ingredients until you find a pleasing balance of flavors:

Dr. Weil’s Turmeric Tea:

  1. Bring four cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup. Add honey, ginger, and/or lemon to taste.

Ground turmeric is commonly used, but Weil suggests experimenting with freshly grated turmeric for a little added zing. Supplements are also available in tablet and soft gel form and can typically be found wherever vitamins are purchased.

The Debate on Alternative Treatments

Efficacy of natural treatments is a hot topic, and no matter which side you’re on, this discussion often results in intense debate. As with coconut oil, for everything you read that touts its effectiveness, you’ll likely find something that disputes that claim.

One statistic that bodes well for this herbal treatment is that India has one of the world’s lowest rates of Alzheimer’s. Could that be directly correlated to the country’s high consumption of turmeric? No one knows, but there are ongoing trials studying this very subject, and it’s likely we’ll be hearing more. Until then, always discuss any potential treatments with your physician. Even natural, alternative treatments can cause negative interactions with prescribed medications.

What are your thoughts on herbal or other alternative treatments?  We look forward to hearing your opinions!

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • chelsiahart

    I need to work this into my diet.

  • Cherri

    I’ve been using tumeric capsules daily for the past year for arthritus joint pain and find it relieves some of my pain. I plan to add it to my mom’s diet as she has Alzheimer’s. Maybe it will help spare me in the future from the ravages of this dreadful condition.

    • Ann Napoletan

      Glad to hear it has helped with your joint pain. I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this with your mother. it’s such an awful, awful disease….

  • Anna

    The efficacy of turmeric is greatly increased when it is paired with black pepper. There are several products that combine these two ingredients, such as Nutmeric, and they are really good!

    • Ann Napoletan

      Anna, thanks for the information – that’s great to know.

  • Damo

    Hi Anna
    is there a tablet or capsule that you would recommend that is not full of additives,as an easy way to take turmeric

    • Gail Doyle

      Turmeric used for alzheimers the easiest way to use it would be the quick way.. 1/2 to a tsp daily in a glass of water..4 to 6 ozs of water. If alzheimers is advanced consult your physician on safe does amount.

      • Donisia

        My husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimers, 3 years ago. He was taking coconut oil but it made him put on weight. Would it be more effective taking capsules/tablets as to the ground turmeric in water

        • Naomi

          Taking turmeric in milk is so much better because it will actually dissolve in milk, try it….

  • Paulagaye

    I started using tumeric 2 weeks ago. One teaspoon in juice or water, after one week I noticed the morning ache in my ankles disappeared but more exciting than that was my horrible knotting blurple inflamed varicose veins had settled right down and were 80% better than they had been in 20 years. Also my mind is sharper. I love it, I think it is the miracle spice.

  • Deanna Clark

    Sanjay Gupta yesterday on TV said the low incidences of dementia and alzheimer’s in his home country owed much to the traditional teas and food…he mentioned tumeric, ginger and cinnamon….and in the foods, pepper, too. Imagine avoiding alzheimers AND enjoying such blessed spices!

  • Stouara

    Indeed mixing turmeric root (grated) with pepper definitely gives me a speedy buzz similar to amphetamines, yet not as robot / edge inducing and especially not nerve damaging.

    It makes me calm, focused, confident and best of all makes my cerebral palsy nerve twitches barely a whimper. I feel I can walk with ease for the first time in my life without having to think about how to walk. I love this wonderful spice. It has added value to my life and to my body.

  • I start my day with green tea using water from my mr. coffee (no coffee, just the water). While that steeps I squeeze a lemon to which I add stevia, a quarter TSP of turmeric and of cayenne. Then blend with the green tea.

    A couple of times a week I’ll make a soup with veggies and brown rice, adding a half TSP each of turmeric and cayenne at the last couple of minutes, on low heat.

  • Yinka

    I make a drink of about a quarter of a glass of water + half – one teaspoon of turmeric + cayenne pepper or sometimes black pepper. I drink that every other day.
    My daily drink is half a lemon + apple cider vinegar in warm water. In the absence of fresh lemon, I use lemon & ginger tea + ACV. Fingers crossed, they will all have positive long term effects in my system.

  • Hana Dolgin

    Turmeric is an amazing plant that has many well-researched health benefits. In addition to the above-mentioned effects, it has been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial properties and more. See for a 100% organic vegan wild turmeric supplement containing powder and oil of turmeric, plus other ingredients for maximum absorption and potency. We also have 100% organic turmeric tea bags.

  • I read that there is a lot of research done to examine the potential role of turmeric as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. I have no experience with it, but turmeric can be one solution worth to try.

  • Colin

    I bought 2 kg bag of turmeric at the local Asian store. Mix in 1.5% black pepper. I got a cheap capsule loader and load my capsules, just over 500mg. I take two a day along with my Vit D3, and flaxseed. Primaraly to keep my prostate cancer from spreading. I am 80, fit and now free of cancer and showing very little signs of Alzheimers. Colin

  • Physician Naturals

    good article about turmeric / curcumin and Alzheimer… hope everybody got idea how much turmeric benefits Alzheimer’s. Now its time to act on it, and check where you can get natural source and best quality, So many recommendations from a number of ‘experts’ to take supplements, herbal remedies and essential nutrients in a daily pill or tablet form to to have exact dosage and availability… at you can get wide range of curcumin supplements with 10+ advanced formulations like Curcumin with pineapple, bromelain, black pepper, faxseed oil, green tea, curcumin with resveratrol.


    I started taking tumeric several months ago…research then says it has to be heated and black pepper has to be added. I make a “paste” of turmeric, coconut oil and black pepper…water added to paste consistency & keep it in my refrigerator. I put a large spoonful in a coffee cup…using my keurig, make vanilla cappuccino over it while stirring…not bad! Just wondering if you can take “too much”? Alzheimers is my FEAR…My Mom and her sister had the horrible disease!

    • Gillian Mulcahy

      I make the paste too, it’s been great with inflammatory pain from my previous back surgery years ago. I have also recommended it to friends with great feedback:)

  • Layla Forndez

    Hi, I’m Akbar from UAE. I had a hemmoragic stroke for 6 years on the right side. This was so tough for me because i never imagined myself in this way. I lost my speech and i was obviously useless because i could not perform any activity without any support, i could not walk, i used to enjoy driving but none of this i could do again. I was totally paralyzed. The worst part was the emotional aspect of it. I cry very easily and have no control over it because all the doctors or physiotherapist i met were not helpful at all. I am, however, very lucky that i was able to find a very effective alternative natural treatment to stroke that cured me completely. It has been two years now and i still can drive, i actually thought the cure was not permanent but now i am fully convinced and that is why i decided to write this. If you have stroke, cerebral palsy or any paralysis just contact Dr Joseph on (josephalberteo @ gmail. com) for more information or advise and i am sure his medicine can help you too. I hope this helps someone out there.dfv

  • ArmyAviator

    I have had back pain for years, as the result of being shot down in Iraq during the First Gulf War. I also have been diagnosed with arthritis in my knees. I began to take Tumeric with ground black pepper, when an Indian Physician helping out with our sports program told me that it is an excellent anti-inflammatory, and probably better than what the VA was giving me for pain. I use a 4:1 mix ratio (4 oz Tumeric/1 oz powdered black pepper). I have virtually NO pain now and can get our of bed in the morning, pain free! All I can say is if it’s just in my
    imagination, so be it. Something’s working and I think it’s the 4:1 Tumeric/Pepper mix!
    As an added bonus, my Indian Physician friend also told me that in India, there is a very low incidence of either Dementia or Alzheimer’s. An added bonus, but for now, I enjoy PAIN FREE daily life! I’m 49 now and feel like I’m 25 again.

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