Living and Wellness Does Turmeric Benefit Your Health? Learn Myth from Fact By UPMC, May 9, 2017 Turmeric is a spice found primarily in Asian cuisines, used for both cooking and its medicinal properties. You may already be familiar with this gold-hued spice, especially if curry is a part of your diet. In the last few years, turmeric has become something of a health trend — you may have read about it while flipping through the pages of a glossy magazine. But do the health claims behind the turmeric really hold up? Health Benefits of Turmeric Turmeric has long been used in India to treat a variety of conditions. The main active ingredient in turmeric is the chemical curcumin, which is found in the plant’s root. Curcumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that is helpful in treating arthritis, as well as general joint pain and swelling. And while some turmeric proponents claim the spice can treat a variety of health ailments, there is little evidence of its effectiveness. What Can Turmeric Treat? Turmeric may help decrease swelling and joint pain associated with arthritis The level of the chemical curcumin found in turmeric is relatively low. To receive any of the health benefits associated with turmeric, you may need to take additional supplements that contain more concentrated levels of curcumin. Talk to your doctor before incorporating turmeric into your diet or taking it as a supplement. How to Take Turmeric Turmeric is considered safe to eat and use as a supplement as long as you follow the recommended doses. Some people have found that taking too much turmeric or, taking it for too long, can cause side effects such as painful stomach aches. You can increase the amount of turmeric in your diet through turmeric teas or foods that contain the spice, including curry.