What is Turmeric Extract?

A.E. Freeman

Turmeric extract is a dietary supplement that comes from the rhizome of the turmeric plant, which is a member of the ginger family. It can come in either powdered form, which differs from the ground spice found in supermarkets due to its higher potency, or in liquid form. Turmeric extract has a long history of use as a medicine in India and other Asian cultures. Studies and trials conducted in the West in the early 21st century suggested that the extract may have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Although turmeric only came to the attention of the western world in the late 20th and early 21st century, it has been a part of Indian culture for thousands of years. Many people living in India consume turmeric daily — not as a supplement but as a flavoring in their meals. Turmeric also plays a key role in Ayurvedic medicine — an ancient system of medicine — as a supplement used to treat muscle pain and arthritis. The plant has also been used for many years in China to treat chest pain and skin disorders. While turmeric extract is consumed in India, it is applied topically in China.

Taking too much turmeric may result in gastrointestinal distress.
Taking too much turmeric may result in gastrointestinal distress.

Health benefits of turmeric extract may be due to the presence of curcuminoids — fat-soluble pigments found in the plant that cause it to be a bright yellow color. The main curcuminoid in turmeric is curcumin, which may help fight cancer and inflammation. Curcumin found in turmeric extract may also help to prevent the build-up of plaque in the brain, thereby potentially slowing the progression of diseases like Alzheimer's. Taken with other supplements meant to lower cholesterol, such as fish oil or garlic, turmeric extract may help lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol. It may also lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

Although turmeric extract may have some health benefits, it may present some risks as well. Some people may be allergic to the plant, particularly people who are allergic to ginger root. If a person takes too much turmeric at once, he or she may experience gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhea and nausea. It may also cause uterine contractions in pregnant women and increase bleeding in people, and therefore should not be taken prior to surgery. Additionally, a person who has a condition like diabetes or arthritis and who is considering using turmeric extract should speak with his or her doctor first to make sure the supplement is safe to use with his or her current medication.

Many people living in India consume turmeric daily.
Many people living in India consume turmeric daily.

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Discussion Comments


@fBoyle-- If you don't mind the flavor of turmeric spice, you can add it to your meals. Turmeric extract supplements are more effective but they're also more expensive. If you can afford it, you might want to take both.


@fBoyle-- I take 500mg turmeric rhizome extract capsules twice a day. I did start with 500mg a day and then increase it later on. I don't know if there is any benefit of this though, I might have been just fine starting with 1000mg a day.

I have not had any negative side effects from turmeric extract. In fact, I have been feeling a lot better since I started taking it. There are improvements in my colitis symptoms. My digestion problems and cramps have decreased considerably. I do think that it's because of the turmeric extract.


I want to start taking turmeric extract for inflammatory bowel disease. I've heard that turmeric has benefits for bowel health, and I know about its anti-inflammatory benefits.

I just don't know what dose to take. Is anyone here using turmeric extract?

What dose are you on? Did you start with a lower dose and then increase it over time? Does turmeric extract have any side effects?

I'd appreciate any information and suggestions on this.

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