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Turmeric - how healthy is the yellow root?

Turmeric and its main active ingredient curcumin are considered a miracle cure for health and well-being. The numerous benefits of the root have been known in Ayurvedic medicine in India and Chinese medicine for more than 5,000 years. Find out what turmeric can do in our new blog post.

What is turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), also known as yellow ginger, yellow root or Indian saffron, is a plant from the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). The root is therefore very similar to ginger, but is an intense yellow colour. It has a mildly spicy and slightly bitter flavour.

Turmeric originates from South East Asia and is often used fresh or dried in dishes there. In Western cuisine, however, it is more commonly used as the main ingredient of curry powder or food colouring.

What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?

The plant itself is called turmeric. The main ingredient of the yellow root is curcumin. Curcumin is a secondary plant substance and is known under the food additive number E100 as a colouring agent, for example in mustard and margarine, or as a spice. Curcumin gives the plant its typical yellow colour.

Why is the root so healthy

The content of essential oils and the active ingredient curcumin are the main reasons why turmeric is so healthy. Turmeric powder contains around 5% curcumin and other curcuminoids as well as up to 6% essential oils, which mainly consist of zingiberene, curcumol and tumerone.

As already mentioned, curcumin is a secondary plant substance - more specifically a polyphenol - and therefore has antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, it protects the body's cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. It also has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, digestive and removes heavy metals from the body. The ingredients in turmeric also stimulate the liver to release more bile acids. As bile acids bind dietary fats, the fat is made digestible. The root therefore helps against flatulence and bloating. As turmeric promotes bile flow, it is suitable for treating mild digestive disorders and gallbladder dysfunction. It can also be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and gastrointestinal ulcers.

Turmeric is also an ingredient in our gastrointestinal capsules.

Other areas of application include cancer, inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. In India, where many people consume turmeric on a daily basis, the incidence of certain cancers is significantly lower than in Europe. However, further scientific studies still need to be carried out in this context.

Why should you take turmeric together with pepper?

In addition to turmeric, Indian curry spice powder mixtures also contain black pepper. The main active ingredient in pepper, piperine, enhances the positive effects of turmeric, as it increases the absorption of curcumin by a factor of 20. It therefore always makes sense to add a pinch of black pepper to the yellow root. Ginger also appears to increase the bioavailability of curcumin.

As curcumin is fat-soluble, the root should be taken together with fat to improve absorption in the intestine. Taking olive oil, linseed oil or other oils at the same time improves the bioavailability of curcumin.


  • Chrubasik-Hausmann S. (2017) Cancer therapy with turmeric. Karl F. Haug Verlag in MVS Medizinverlage Stuttgart GmbH & Co KG