7 Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric

You may know that turmeric is the "golden spice" in Indian cuisines, but it's been used for centuries for its healing properties. See what it can do to improve your health and try this comforting, healing "golden milk" recipe.

You may know turmeric as a common spice in many ethnic cuisines (it’s what gives Indian curries their bright yellow color), but you may not know that this versatile south Asian botanical, Curcuma longa, has been revered for thousands of years for its medicinal properties.

Turmeric: The Golden Yellow Root

Turmeric comes from the roots of a perennial herbaceous plant related to the ginger family. Its beautiful gold-yellow color was first used to dye fabrics and today, while a widely known spice, it is used as a safe coloring for many food and beverages including cheese, popcorn, orange and lemon drinks, cakes, cereals, relishes, pickles, mustard, canned broths, gelatins, and more. It’s even added to various cooking oils to increase their shelf life because of turmeric’s antioxidant properties.

The Healing Powers of Turmeric

Turmeric has been an integral part of oriental and Ayurvedic (“whole body”) medicine for centuries. More than 6,000 studies conducted on turmeric and its active component, curcumin, reveal that it has vast healing properties. Check out this list of 7 amazing health benefits of this spice:

  1. Anti-inflammatory – Studies have shown that turmeric effectively reduces inflammation better than ibuprofen and aspirin, without adverse health risks. Understanding that inflammation is a precursor for most diseases in the body such as cancer, arthritis, and high cholesterol, makes turmeric the natural choice for reducing inflammation. Research supports turmeric’s effectiveness at relieving joint pain and inflammation associated with all types of arthritis. In fact, those who suffer from Lyme disease (which has symptoms that mimic arthritis) are often prescribed turmeric and golden milk (recipe below) for relief.
  2. Anti-Cancer – Curcumin and turmeric have been shown to fight colon cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. There’s no risk of adverse side effects that drugs often pose.
  3. Gut Healer – Taken in supplement form, turmeric supports the healing of stomach issues, bowel disease, and various digestive problems.
  4. Improved Brain Function – Inflammation impacts the brain as much as it does the rest of the body. Turmeric improves brain function, reduces “brain fog,” and symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
  5. Anti-Depressant – Studies show that turmeric relieves stress, anxiety, and depression, helping us relax, improve mood, and achieve inner balance. Diffusing turmeric essential oil can help you unwind and reduce stress.
  6. Liver Support – Turmeric cleanses and supports the health of our liver. It protects this vital, detoxifying organ against toxicity.
  7. Cold Remedy – Turmeric boosts immune function, which is key when fighting a cold or other viral illness.

Ways to Use Turmeric

golden milk latte with spices and turmeric

Quality turmeric products are available where natural or health foods are sold in various forms: fresh root, ground, liquid extract, essential oil, and capsules.

The extract should be certified and organically grown. It can be taken with water or in a spoon of coconut oil or honey between meals.

To reap the vast health benefits of turmeric, you’ll want to incorporate it frequently into your meals. Toss a dash of organic, ground turmeric into scrambled or deviled eggs, salad dressings, cream sauces, noodles, gravy, soup, rice, pickles, and chicken and fish entrees. Ground or freshly grated turmeric root can be added to herbal teas or blender beverages.

Absorption of Turmeric

Turmeric is best absorbed by the body when fat is added (like coconut oil). Additionally, black pepper (as seen in the recipe, below) also increases turmeric’s bioavailability thanks to piperine, a compound that gives black pepper its pungency. (Why does black pepper work? Because one of the ways our liver gets rid of foreign substances is by making them water soluble so they can be more easily excreted. But piperine inhibits that process, allowing for more absorption. Even just a pinch of black pepper does the job!).

Try warming up with this healing drink which incorporates all the goodness of turmeric into one lightly-spiced delicious beverage.

Golden Milk Latte

In addition having a comforting ritual of drinking something warm before bed, this warm and cozy golden milk latte can help you relax so you can get to sleep.


2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 (1-inch) piece turmeric, unpeeled, and sliced into thin slices, or use 1 tablespoon dried organic turmeric
1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon raw honey or sweetener of your choice
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (don’t omit—the fat is important to get turmeric’s benefits)
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


Whisk milk, cinnamon stick, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Serves 2.

Learn more about turmeric and four other spices that heal…

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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Manak Gupta

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this informative article on the health benefits of turmeric. The section on its potential effects on brain health and cognitive function caught my attention.

I was wondering if you could elaborate on whether there are any ongoing clinical trials or studies exploring the use of turmeric as a potential preventive or therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, do you have any recommendations on the optimal dosage of turmeric for individuals interested in supporting brain health? Thank you for sharing this valuable knowledge!

Manak Gupta, naction.org editor

Sheila Sheffield

Any curtains medicine that you should not take with it.


Turmeric is not suitable for those readers who take blood thinners ie: Coumadin (warfarin) . The combination can cause potentially life threatening bleeding.


In order for turmeric to be bioavailable to the body ( for humans and dogs, horses, etc) it needs to be heated to release the starches. Golden paste is the best. Check out Doug English vet from Australia, for the recipe. It’s literally a miracle food!


Will turmeric help with the mac bug a lung infection .

Susan Higgins

Hi Ray, that’s a great question. I’d check with your doctor first.

Marsha Grimm

A note to my previous post…..This is a liquid capsule. The label says: “Solgar has transformed poorly absorbed curcumin from a fat-soluble to a water-soluble phytonutrient making it immediately body ready, faster absorbed, and more active than ever before. It is so advanced, just 40mg of curcumin in one softgel delivers the equivalency of nearly 75 (100mg) capsules of standardized curcumin extract.” It provides total curcuminoids 48mg + Curcumin 40mg per lable. Like I said, it works for us and we are pleased to have found such a good quality product. Hope this is helpful.

Marsha Grimm

Margaret, my husband and I have been using Full Spectrum Curcummin by Solgar. We have joint issues and this brand has been very helpful to us. I had a thumb that I could not bend 100% and it clicked and stopped at the first joint. After a week it started to get better and I have had no problem or pain with any of my joints since we started taking it. I highly recommend it. It is not cheap, but the old saying goes “you get what you pay for”. Good luck.

Margaret Craig

Could someone recommend a reputable brand of/for liquid turmeric? I have read that one must take at least 1000mg per day,and has to be at least 95% curcumin
Thank you.I would appreciate the help since many in the health field are not open to products they don’t sell!

Jack McWhirter

After taking Ibuprofen to relieve pain from arthritis for many years, I am taking three 1500mg Tumeric Curcumin tablets per day and that replaces the Ibuprofen very well.

Jo Frye

Thank you. I keep forgetting to use it and I have plenty on hand.
I appreciate the reminder – and that recipe!

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