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Turmeric (Haldi): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More!

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) belongs to the family Zingiberaceae and might be one of the most valuable herbal medicinal plants.1 Turmeric is also referred to as Indian saffron due to its brilliant yellow colour.2 Turmeric contains a yellow pigment called curcumin or diferuloylmethane, which is the principal ingredient responsible for its properties.1,3

turmeric benefits

Turmeric is distributed throughout subtropical and tropical regions of the world. It is extensively cultivated in Asian countries, especially in China and India. It grows up to a height of one meter and has a short stem.1

Nutritional Value of Turmeric:

There are more than 100 components present in turmeric. The major component present in the root is a volatile oil consisting of turmerone. Other colouring agents like curcuminoids are also present in turmeric. Curcuminoids contain curcumin demethoxycurcumin, dihydrocurcumin, and 5′- methoxycurcumin, which are natural antioxidants. Turmerone, arturmerone, and zingiberene are the components responsible for the aroma of turmeric. Turmeric also contains a great amount of ω-3 fatty acid and α-linolenic acid (2.5%).2 In 100 grams of turmeric, the nutrients found are:4

  Energy    312 Kcal
  Fat  3.25 g
  Carbohydrate  67.1 g
  Protein  9.68 g
  Total dietary fibre  22.7 g
  Glucose  0.38 g
  Sucrose  2.38 g
  Fructose  0.45 g
  Magnesium  208 mg
  Iron  55 mg
  Potassium  2080 mg
  Phosphorous  299 mg
  Zinc  4.5 mg
  Sodium  27 mg
  Copper  1.3 mg
  Manganese  19.8 mg
  Vitamin C    0.7 mg
  Selenium  6.2  µg
  Riboflavin  0.15 mg
  Niacin  1.35 mg
  Thiamin  0.058 mg
  Vitamin B-6  0.107 mg
Table 1: Nutritional value of turmeric4


Also Read: Multani Mitti: Uses, Benefits & More!

Properties of Turmeric:

Turmeric might possess properties like:

  • It might be an antioxidant
  • It might help lower blood sugar levels (antidiabetic)
  • It might be a hypolipidemic (cholesterol-lowering)
  • It might help alleviate inflammation (anti-inflammatory)
  • It might be effective against microorganisms (antimicrobial)
  • It might have hepatoprotective (liver-protecting) properties
  • It might have nephroprotective (kidney-protecting) properties
  • It might act as an anticoagulant (inhibits blood clotting)1

As a doctor, I often come across patients who inquire about natural remedies for managing arthritis. One popular option that has gained attention is turmeric. It’s interesting how turmeric, a spice commonly found in our kitchens, may be loaded with potential benefits for arthritis and other conditions.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Reetha: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More!

Potential Uses of Turmeric:

Potential uses of turmeric for heart diseases:

Turmeric (Haldi) might exhibit cardioprotective (heart-protective) effects mainly due to its potential antioxidant, antidiabetic, antiplatelet, and cholesterol-lowering activities. Turmeric’s cholesterol-lowering effect might be attributed to reduced cholesterol intake by the intestines and enhanced cholesterol conversion to bile acids in the liver.1 However, heart diseases are to be treated by a specialist. Kindly consult a doctor for heart conditions.

Potential uses of turmeric for the digestive system:

Constituents of turmeric might have positive effects on the gastrointestinal system. According to a study, the intestinal spasm may be inhibited by sodium curcuminate, a constituent of turmeric. Another component of turmeric called p-tolymethylcarbinol might enhanced secretin, bicarbonate, gastrin, and pancreatic enzyme secretion. As per an animal study, turmeric might be helpful against the formation of ulcers that might be induced by factors like stress, alcohol, indomethacin (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), reserpine and pyloric ligation (a condition that leads to gastric acid accumulation in the stomach) by increasing gastric wall mucous in animals when exposed to these gastrointestinal insults.5

Turmeric might stimulate bile secretion, hence potentially helping improve the body’s ability to digest fats. This might aid in better digestion and may also help in the elimination of toxins from the liver.5 However, more research is required to prove such claims.

Potential uses of turmeric for the oral cavity:

Turmeric might be helpful against tooth decay and is used in the preparation of toothpaste due to its potential antibiotic, astringent (causing the contraction of cells to reduce bleeding from minor abrasions) and anti-inflammatory activities. It might help against bacteria responsible for the development of cavities and may also help tone the gums.5 However, more research is required. Therefore, kindly consult a doctor and do not self-medicate.

Potential uses of turmeric for the eyes:

A cataract is an eye disease caused by the oxidation of the lens in your eyes. The internal consumption of turmeric might help reduce the oxidation of the lens. Hence, it may be helpful in cataracts. It may also be helpful in relieving eye pain.5 However, do not self-medicate and kindly consult a doctor for problems related to the eye.

Potential uses of turmeric for the respiratory system:

Turmeric might be effective in arresting nosebleeds, clearing the sinuses, and restoring a quicker sense of smell. Turmeric may also help with cough, sinusitis, and dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing).5 However, these effects need to be ascertained by further research.

Potential uses of turmeric for infections:

A variety of bacteria, disease-causing fungi, and parasites might be inhibited by turmeric extract and the essential oil of Curcuma longa. The aqueous extract of turmeric might exhibit antibacterial effects. The growth of several bacteria like staphylococcus, lactobacillus, and streptococcus might be suppressed by curcumin. Ether and chloroform extracts of turmeric exhibit antifungal potential. Turmeric might also possess antiviral properties. All these properties of turmeric may help fight against infection-causing microbes.5

Potential uses of turmeric for detoxification:

Detoxification is the process of elimination of toxic substances from the body. The active constituent of turmeric, curcumin, might bind with heavy metals like lead and cadmium and decrease the toxicity of these metals. Turmeric may also be effective in dealing with poisoning and the purification of blood.5 However, these effects need to be further researched. Kindly do not self-medicate. Consult a doctor.

Potential uses of turmeric for the skin:

Turmeric might help purify and nourish the blood which may lead to healthy and glowing skin. It might be effective for skin diseases like acne, eczema, etc. due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It may also help against premature ageing. Turmeric is also a constituent of sunscreens and cosmetics.5 However, its effects on skin need to be further researched.

Other potential uses of turmeric:

Curcumin might be a powerful scavenger of oxygen-free radicals. The antioxidant property of curcumin is comparable to that of vitamin E, and C. Curcumin may significantly inhibit the generation of reactive oxygen species. The derivatives of curcumin, such as bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin, also contain antioxidant properties. Pre-treatment with curcumin might help reduce oxidative stress caused due to ischaemia (a condition in which is there is restricted blood flow in a particular body part).1

Though there are studies that show the potential use of turmeric in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need of further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of turmeric on human health.  

I find it is very fascinating how a natural ingredient like curcumin might potentially support cognitive function. In a recent clinical trial, researchers discovered that taking 90 milligrams of curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, twice a day for 18 months had a positive impact on memory performance in adults who didn’t have dementia.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Urad Dal: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and more!

How to Use Turmeric?

Turmeric can be taken as a supplement or utilised as a spice. Turmeric can be incorporated into your diet by adding it to various foods like:

  • Soups
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Smoothies
  • Rice
  • Milk6

Turmeric is available in different forms like:

  • Powder
  • Stick
  • Liquid
  • Paste, etc.7

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

Let me share a gripping discovery. A study found that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, might be effective in reducing symptoms of depression. It’s also believed that curcumin may help increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which are important chemicals involved in regulating mood. Isn’t it stunning how natural ingredients might potentially have such powerful effects on our mental well-being?

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Side Effects of Turmeric (Haldi):

Turmeric has been established safe for use. However, despite this safety record, there have been some side effects. When taken in excess, the following side effects have been reported:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Rashes
  • Yellow stools
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Increase in the levels of serum alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase

Alkaline phosphatase is an important enzyme that is associated with the presence of liver, bone and other diseases. Lactate dehydrogenase is an enzyme that is indicative of any tissue damage or disease.8

I would like to suggest considering turmeric as a potential natural remedy for muscle soreness after exercise. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, may possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce post-exercise muscle inflammation and soreness. While more research is needed to fully understand its effects, incorporating turmeric into your routine might be worth trying.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Precautions to Take With Turmeric:

The right dose of turmeric for you depends on your overall health. It is essential to talk to your physician before taking turmeric. Although the risk of side effects and drug interactions are unlikely, it is recommended that you stop consuming turmeric if you experience any ill effects.

Turmeric might cause bloating, and it is also advisable to avoid turmeric if you have gallbladder disease.6

Also Read: Serrano Peppers: Unraveling the Research-Based Health Benefits

Interactions With Other Drugs:

Turmeric might interact with blood-clotting medications. Hence, it is important to consult your doctor before consuming turmeric with these medications.6

Also Read: Tagar: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is turmeric?

Turmeric (Haldi) is a spice that is obtained from the root of the Curcuma longa plant that is a part of the ginger family. The primary active constituent of turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric might have many health benefits.6

What are the other names of turmeric?

Turmeric is known by different names like turmeric root, Indian saffron, Curcuma longa, Curcuma aromatica and more.9

Can turmeric be used to boost memory?

Turmeric might help enhance memory in adults without dementia (loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities). Curcumin might also help against Alzheimer’s disease.6 However, such effects need to be proved by more research.

Can turmeric be used during pregnancy?

Turmeric might not be safe for use during pregnancy when taken in excess amounts. Hence, you must consult your doctor before taking turmeric during pregnancy.9

Can turmeric be used as first aid?

Turmeric might have haemostatic property (ability to arrest bleeding) and a great healing property due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. According to animal studies, turmeric exhibited a potential healing effect on septic and aseptic wounds in animal models.5 However, more research is required to prove such claims.


  1. Hamid Nasri, Najmeh Sahinfard, Mortaza Rafieian, Samira Rafiean, Maryam Shirzad, Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei; Turmeric: A spice with multifunctional medicinal properties. Journal of herbmed pharmacology.2014 3(1):5-8. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285776797_Turmeric_A_spice_with_multifunctional_medicinal_properties/link/57a9a18c08aef3001528b9bb/download
  2. Sahdeo Prasad and Bharat B.Aggarwal; Chapter 13 Turmeric, the golden spice. Traditional medicine to modern medicine. Herbal medicine: Biomolecular and clinical aspects. 2 edition. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
  3. Singletary, Keith PhD; Turmeric potential health benefits. Nutrition today. 2020 55(1): 45-56. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2020/01000/turmeric__potential_health_benefits.9.aspx
  4. U.S Department of Agriculture. Spices, turmeric, ground. [Internet] Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172231/nutrients
  5. Preeti Rathaur, Waseem Raja, P.W Ramteke and Suchit A. John. Turmeric: The golden spice of life. International journal of pharmaceutical sciences and research. 2012 3(7):1987-1994. Available from: https://ijpsr.com/bft-article/turmeric-the-golden-spice-of-life/
  6. Cleveland clinic. 7 Health benefits of turmeric. [Internet] Available from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/turmeric-health-benefits/
  7. AshishBhalla1, PonniahThirumalaikolundusubramanian2, JefferyFung3, GabrielaCordero-Schmidt4, SariSoghoian5, Veronica KaurSikka6, Harinder SinghDhindsa6, SurjitSingh1; Chapter 6- Native Medicines and Cardiovascular toxicity. Heart and toxins. 2015. 175-202. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124165953000062
  8. Susan J. Hewlings and Douglas S. Kalman; Curcumin: A review of its effects on human health. MDPI. 2012 Oct 6 (10): 92. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/
  9. National center for complementary and integrative health. Turmeric. [Internet] Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric

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