Turmeric is known since centuries for its impressive list of health benefits. However, many people
have a confusion between turmeric and curcumin. Find out what is curcumin, how it is different from
turmeric and which of these is the most helpful to reduce inflammation.
Turmeric – Oldest Spice
Turmeric is one of the oldest and talked about spice for its impressive list of health benefits. Whether
beautiful skin, or to get rid of cough and cold, or for healing wounds – turmeric is the 1st thing to come
our mind. However, Turmeric and Curcumin There is a lot of confusion between both. These both terms are
usually used interchangeably which is incorrect. Let’s find out why?
It is a spice that comes from the root Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family, Zingaberaceae. In
Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine), tumeric has been used for its medicinal properties for various
indications and through different routes of administration, including topically, orally, and by inhalation.
For many health concerns curcumin is used such as skin and digestive issues.
❝ 500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day is advised for its anti-inflammatory
effects. When using the spice on its own there are 200 milligrams of curcumin in one teaspoon of fresh or
ground turmeric. ❞
Curcumin – The Golden Pigment
It is the naturally occurring golden pigment in turmeric spice. It is responsible for giving turmeric its
Anti-inflammatory characteristic. The major curcuminoid is called curcumin (diferuloyl methane), which makes
up approximately 90% of the curcuminoid content in tumeric, followed by demethoxycurcumin and
bisdemethoxycurcmin. Curcumin is about 2-6% of most turmeric, it is known for its anti-inflammatory,
anti-tumor and antioxidant effects.
Extraction of Curcumin
Curcumin is extracted from turmeric by a scientific method known as chromatography, which separates each of
the curcuminoids and allows curcumin to be isolated. The amount of curcumin is lowest in turmeric root
at around 3%, higher in turmeric extract, of which can contain up to 95% curcumin and then there’s 100%
curcumin extracted from turmeric.
Mechanism of action
Curcumin has the ability to suppress the acute and chronic inflammation. Therapeutic properties of curcumin
is associated with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is a low molecular weight
polyphenol with molecular formula of C21H20O6.
Free radical mediated peroxidation of membrane lipids and oxidative damage of DNA and proteins are believed
to be associated with a variety of chronic, pathological conditions. The anti-inflammatory effect of
curcumin is mediated through its ability to inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (cox-2), lipoxygenase (lox). Inducible
nitric oxide synthase (i NOS) are important enzymes that mediate inflammatory process.
What works better for reducing inflammation?
curcumin-or-turmeric-article image A large number of studies on curcumin were identified. These included
studies on the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and antifungal properties of curcuminoids. A human trial with
25 subjects using up to 8000 mg of curcumin per day for 3 months found no toxicity from curcumin. Five other
human trial using 1125-2500mg of curcumin per day have also found it safe.
These studies found that anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is very powerful as compared to turmeric.
The studies have identified a number inflammatory molecules which are inhibited by curcumin like
phospholipase, lipogenase, cyclooxygenase 2, leukotrines, thromboxane, prostaglandins, nitric oxide,
collagenase, elastase, hyaluronidase, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), , tumor necrosis factor
(TNF), interleukin-12 and interferon inducible protein.
Research has proven that extracted curcumin has more antioxidant activity as compared to turmeric powder.
It has very poor oral bioavailability (a low percentage of what consumed is absorbed) but bioavailability
can be increased by taking it with other agents such as black pepper extract, called piperine.
❝ Research says that extracted curcumin has more antioxidant activity when compared to
turmeric powder ❞
500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day is advised for its anti-inflammatory effects. When using
spice on its own there are 200 milligrams of curcumin in one teaspoon of fresh or ground turmeric. The
of fresh turmeric required for its anti-inflammatory effect would require ingesting ridiculous amounts of
turmeric which may not be practically possible. So, it is ideal to consume curcumin extract with high purity
Curcumin has been demonstrated to be safe and anti-inflammatory activity. It may exert its anti-inflammatory
activity by inhibition of a number of different molecules that play a role in causing inflammation.