Most studies on turmeric benefits use curcumin extracts so shouldn’t you be having curcumin supplements instead of turmeric? Taking curcumin in therapeutic dosages will need a doctor’s guidance and checks to ensure it doesn’t interfere with other medications or health conditions you have. You may consider this for specific illnesses. Turmeric root, powder, tea, and essential oil offer up a more organic and natural form of intake without any side effects in dietary dosages. So why not start by making turmeric a way of life rather than a pill you have to take? Your body and mind will definitely thank you for it.
You may know turmeric as the golden yellow spice which gives curry its color and flavor. But the medicinal qualities of this spice has been valued for thousands of years and leveraged in many ancient traditions. Curcuminoids, specifically curcumin, are active ingredients in turmeric which have potent therapeutic properties. Turmeric can be incorporated into your daily life in various ways – whether as whole turmeric or powder to spice up your curries and sauces or as turmeric milk to stand in for your lattes. But if you want something soothing and potent, with all the goodness of turmeric and yet whipped up in a jiffy, a cup of turmeric tea is the answer. To top it off, turmeric tea has a subtle flavor that anyone can enjoy. It even works beautifully with other herbal superfoods you’d want to have. Here are 15 research-based benefits for your body and mind that should make a turmeric tea drinker out of you!
1. Fights Cold And Infections
Golden turmeric milk is a time-tested remedy to fight cough and cold. But if you are vegan or allergic to milk or simply want something lighter, turmeric tea is just the ticket. Turmeric works as an antibacterial and antiviral agent and can fight infections of the respiratory system. For instance, research indicates that curcumin can stop the respiratory syncytial virus from multiplying.1 It even works as an expectorant and reduces sputum.2
2. Helps Ease Symptoms Of Allergies
Need another reason to drink turmeric tea? Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties. Research has found that curcumin can inhibit the release of histamine, a chemical that’s naturally present in our bodies. This chemical is responsible for many symptoms that are experienced during an allergic reaction whether it’s a running nose, watering eyes, or a scratchy throat.3 And its effect could go beyond just respiratory allergies. One animal study observed that when rats were treated with curcumin for 16 days, they experienced significant relief from symptoms of food allergy. Turmeric may not only come in handy in allergies but may also be able to counter other disorders like asthma and atopic dermatitis where allergic reactions play a part.4
3. Boosts Immunity And Fights Inflammation
Add a spoon of honey to your turmeric tea to boost its anti-inflammatory effect.
We are exposed to a wide range of harmful germs every day. Thankfully, our immune system is on the job, defending us from infection and disease. And a cup of turmeric tea may be just what you need to lend a hand and strengthen your immune system. Research indicates that turmeric is a strong immunomodulatory agent which can stimulate the immune system as well as fight inflammation. While inflammation is a response by your immune system to fight infection, chronic inflammation can be bad for you. In fact, inflammation has been implicated in a range of medical conditions, from heart disease and arthritis to Alzheimer’s. Curcumin, as well as polysaccharides present in turmeric, may account for turmeric’s beneficial effects.5 6 7
4. Eases Pain
Curcuminoids present in turmeric can reduce pain significantly. This effect is caused by curcumin’s capacity to inhibit the production of PGE2 which sensitizes neurons to pain. Curcumin also depletes substance P, which is a neurotransmitter that relays pain messages to your brain.8 Having turmeric tea regularly may be able to help you tackle not just the random once-off headaches or body pain but also chronic pain associated with conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and diverticulitis,
5. Relieves Indigestion
Turmeric has traditionally been used in ayurveda to improve digestion. During one study, powdered turmeric capsules were given 4 times a day – that is, after mealtimes and before bed –to patients suffering from indigestion. And it was found to be effective at easing indigestion and reducing flatulence. Curcumin helps with digestion by stimulating the production of bile in the gallbladder. 9 So go ahead and ease your tummy troubles with some turmeric tea.
6. Eases Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
Irritable bowel syndrome is a tricky condition. We don’t yet know what lies at the root of it and it can cause chronic digestive problems ranging from abdominal discomfort or pain to bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. But turmeric may be helpful here as well. One large study which looked at 207 patients found that when they took a turmeric extract daily for 8 weeks, both the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome as well as scores of pain and discomfort were significantly reduced. The participants also reported that their bowel pattern changed favorably.10
7. Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Turmeric can play an important role in keeping your heart healthy. It can stop blood platelets from aggregating or clumping together, thus reducing the chances of dangerous blood clots on the walls of your arteries which can block blood supply. Lab studies have also found that this spice inhibits the angiotensin-converting enzyme which plays a part in making your blood vessels narrow. Inhibition of this enzyme can relax your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is another marker of heart disease.11 12 Studies even show that curcumin can prevent damage to your arteries by high blood pressure to an extent.13 So have a cup of warming turmeric tea every day – your heart will thank you for it!
8. Improves Physical Function And Pain In Osteoarthritis
When you have osteoarthritis, the tissue that covers the ends of your joints get damaged, resulting in pain, loss of motion, and swelling. But a bracing cup of turmeric tea may be able to help. Curcuminoids present in turmeric are anti-inflammatory and have a protective effect on your cartilage. In one study, people with mild to moderate osteoarthritis in the knee saw considerable improvements in physical function and pain after being treated with curcuminoids for 6 weeks.14
9. Helps Reduce Blood Sugar
Another common but chronic condition that turmeric tea can help manage is diabetes. Animal studies have observed that supplementation with curcumin lowered blood sugar in diabetic rats. But that’s not all. It also reduced the oxidative stress they experienced. Oxidative stress has a major role to play in many diabetes complications.15 So while having a healthy diet and regular exercise are important to manage your blood sugar levels, a daily cup of turmeric tea might also chip in nicely.
10. Counters Neurodegenerative Diseases
Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which makes it particularly beneficial for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Another way in which curcumin may be beneficial is through its anti-protein aggregation effects. In people with degenerative conditions, proteins tend to fold themselves improperly and clump together. Curcumin is able to act against this effect. Research has found that curcumin can delay the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. It can also slow down the degradation of neurons and improve memory.16 17 Invest in your long-term brain health by making turmeric tea a part of your daily routine.
11. Improves Cognitive Function
Do you forget where you left your keys once too often? Some turmeric tea may be able to help. One study found that people with memory problems who took a curcumin supplement that was easily absorbed by the body saw improvements in memory and attention. In fact, tests found that over 18 months, memory improved by 28%. These benefits are attributed to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects on the brain as well as its ability to decrease the accumulation of amyloid protein.18
12. Helps Alleviate Depression
Turmeric can help those suffering from depression. One study found that when patients were given curcuminoids and piperine in addition to standard therapy for 6 weeks they fared much better than those who just had conventional therapy. Piperine is a compound present in pepper which improves the absorption of curcumin. So how does curcumin work? It has been found to increase levels of two neurotransmitters – serotonin and dopamine – which influence mood.1920 So sip on a cup of warming turmeric tea and watch your mood lift.
13. May Tackle Anxiety
Anxiety is another mood disorder that turmeric might be able to tackle. Research that looks at the effect of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant curcumin in people suffering from anxiety has been extremely positive. One study found that it significantly reduced mean Beck Anxiety Inventory scores which are used to measure anxiety levels.21 So treat yourself to delicious turmeric tea to soothe your worry and anxiety.
14. Fights Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress plays a role in the development of illnesses such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, cataract, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases as well as aging. But antioxidants can counter the effects of free radicals which cause oxidative stress. And curcumin is known to be a potent antioxidant.22 23
15. Protects Your Liver
Your liver works really hard to remove toxins from your body. However, it’s not immune to injury by toxic substances. Turmeric may be able to help out here too. Curcumin has been found to reduce injury to the liver caused by a range of toxins from harmful chemicals, alcohol, and nicotine to an iron overdose. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this potent compound are thought to play a part in this beneficial effect. 24 25
16. Fights Cancer
Many studies have shown that curcumin, present in turmeric, has anticancer effects. It can kill cancer cells and suppress tumor growth. It has been found to have a bracing effect on bowel , breast, skin, and stomach cancer cells. The antioxidant property of curcumin, as well as its ability to inhibit enzymes which play a role in inflammation, is thought to account for its anticancer effects. 26 27
How To Prepare Turmeric Tea
Now that you know it pays to incorporate turmeric into your everyday cooking and have drinks like turmeric tea milk regularly, here’s what you need to get started. Making a cup of turmeric tea is the easiest thing in the world! All you need to do is mix ½ a teaspoon of turmeric powder into a cup of boiling tea and allow it to steep for about 5 minutes. Also add a pinch of pepper, since it contains a compound known as piperine which helps your body use turmeric. You can also add a dash of honey to sweeten the deal.28
Amp Up Your Turmeric Tea With Other Superfoods
You can also add other spices while brewing your cup of tea to complement the potent health benefits of turmeric. Here are a few you could consider:
- Ginger: Add this spice to your turmeric tea if you’re looking to control blood sugar. Ginger improves insulin sensitivity and will work in tandem with blood sugar-lowering turmeric.29
- Nutmeg: Add this to your turmeric tea to make a potent mood booster. Like turmeric, nutmeg also has antidepressant effects.30
- Cinnamon: Add it to your turmeric tea to make a heart-healthy brew. Like turmeric, cinnamon has been found to be beneficial in tackling cholesterol and high blood pressure. 31
|↑1||Obata, Kazufumi, Takashi Kojima, Tomoyuki Masaki, Tamaki Okabayashi, Shinichi Yokota, Satoshi Hirakawa, Kazuaki Nomura et al. “Curcumin prevents replication of respiratory syncytial virus and the epithelial responses to it in human nasal epithelial cells.” PLoS One 8, no. 9 (2013): e70225.|
|↑2||Benzie, Iris FF, and Sissi Wachtel-Galor, eds. Herbal medicine: biomolecular and clinical aspects. CRC Press, 2011.|
|↑3||Kurup, Viswanath P., and Christy S. Barrios. “Immunomodulatory effects of curcumin in allergy.” Molecular nutrition & food research 52, no. 9 (2008): 1031-1039.|
|↑4||Shin, Hee Soon, Hye-Jeong See, Sun Young Jung, Dae Woon Choi, Da-Ae Kwon, Min-Jung Bae, Ki-Seung Sung, and Dong-Hwa Shon. “Turmeric (Curcuma longa) attenuates food allergy symptoms by regulating type 1/type 2 helper T cells (Th1/Th2) balance in a mouse model of food allergy.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 175 (2015): 21-29.|
|↑5||Jagetia, Ganesh Chandra, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. ““Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin.” Journal of clinical immunology 27, no. 1 (2007): 19-35.|
|↑6||Chandrasekaran, Chinampudur V., Jothie R. Edwin Kannan Sundarajan, Giligar M. Gururaja, Deepak Mundkinajeddu, and Amit Agarwal. “Immune-stimulatory and anti-inflammatory activities of Curcuma longa extract and its polysaccharide fraction.” Pharmacognosy Research 5, no. 2 (2013): 71.|
|↑7||Playing with the fire of inflammation. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑8||Sahebkar, Amirhossein, and Yves Henrotin. “Analgesic efficacy and safety of curcuminoids in clinical practice: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Pain medicine 17, no. 6 (2015): 1192-1202.|
|↑9||Thamlikitkul, V. I. S. A. N. U., N. Bunyapraphatsara, T. Dechatiwongse, S. Theerapong, C. Chantrakul, T. Thanaveerasuwan, S. Nimitnon et al. “Randomized double blind study of Curcuma domestica Val. for dyspepsia.” J Med Assoc Thai 72, no. 11 (1989): 613-620.|
|↑10||Bundy, Rafe, Ann F. Walker, Richard W. Middleton, and Jonathan Booth. “Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 10, no. 6 (2004): 1015-1018.|
|↑11||Turmeric. University of Maryland.|
|↑12||Lekshmi, P. C., Ranjith Arimboor, V. M. Nisha, A. Nirmala Menon, and K. G. Raghu. “In vitro antidiabetic and inhibitory potential of turmeric (Curcuma longa L) rhizome against cellular and LDL oxidation and angiotensin converting enzyme.” Journal of food science and technology 51, no. 12 (2014): 3910-3917.|
|↑13||Hlavačková, Livia, Andrea Janegová, Olga Uličná, Pavol Janega, Andrea Černá, and Pavel Babál. “Spice up the hypertension diet-curcumin and piperine prevent remodeling of aorta in experimental L-NAME induced hypertension.” Nutrition & metabolism 8, no. 1 (2011): 72.|
|↑14||Panahi, Yunes, Ali‐Reza Rahimnia, Mojtaba Sharafi, Gholamhossein Alishiri, Amin Saburi, and Amirhossein Sahebkar. “Curcuminoid treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double‐blind placebo‐controlled trial.” Phytotherapy research 28, no. 11 (2014): 1625-1631.|
|↑15||Arun, N., and N. Nalini. “Efficacy of turmeric on blood sugar and polyol pathway in diabetic albino rats.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 57, no. 1 (2002): 41-52.|
|↑16||Darvesh, Altaf S., Richard T. Carroll, Anupam Bishayee, Nicholas A. Novotny, Werner J. Geldenhuys, and Cornelis J. Van der Schyf. “Curcumin and neurodegenerative diseases: a perspective.” Expert opinion on investigational drugs 21, no. 8 (2012): 1123-1140.|
|↑17||Mishra, Shrikant, and Kalpana Palanivelu. “The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview.” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology 11, no. 1 (2008): 13.|
|↑18||Small, Gary W., Prabha Siddarth, Zhaoping Li, Karen J. Miller, Linda Ercoli, Natacha D. Emerson, Jacqueline Martinez et al. “Memory and brain amyloid and tau effects of a bioavailable form of curcumin in non-demented adults: a double-blind, placebo-controlled 18-month trial.” The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 26, no. 3 (2018): 266-277.|
|↑19||Panahi, Yunes, Roghayeh Badeli, Gholam‐Reza Karami, and Amirhossein Sahebkar. “Investigation of the efficacy of adjunctive therapy with bioavailability‐boosted curcuminoids in major depressive disorder.” Phytotherapy research 29, no. 1 (2015): 17-21.|
|↑20||Kulkarni, Shrinivas K., Mohit Kumar Bhutani, and Mahendra Bishnoi. “Antidepressant activity of curcumin: involvement of serotonin and dopamine system.” Psychopharmacology 201, no. 3 (2008): 435.|
|↑21||Esmaily, Habibollah, Amirhossein Sahebkar, Mehrdad Iranshahi, Shiva Ganjali, Akram Mohammadi, Gordon Ferns, and Majid Ghayour-Mobarhan. “An investigation of the effects of curcumin on anxiety and depression in obese individuals: a randomized controlled trial.” Chinese journal of integrative medicine 21, no. 5 (2015): 332-338.|
|↑22||Pham-Huy, Lien Ai, Hua He, and Chuong Pham-Huy. “Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health.” International journal of biomedical science: IJBS 4, no. 2 (2008): 89.|
|↑23||Menon, Venugopal P., and Adluri Ram Sudheer. “Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.” In The molecular targets and therapeutic uses of curcumin in health and disease, pp. 105-125. Springer, Boston, MA, 2007.|
|↑24||Rivera‐Espinoza, Yadira, and Pablo Muriel. “Pharmacological actions of curcumin in liver diseases or damage.” Liver International 29, no. 10 (2009): 1457-1466.|
|↑25||Salahshoor, Mohammadreza, Sabah Mohamadian, Seyran Kakabaraei, Shiva Roshankhah, and Cyrus Jalili. “Curcumin improves liver damage in male mice exposed to nicotine.” Journal of traditional and complementary medicine 6, no. 2 (2016): 176-183.|
|↑26||Turmeric. Cancer Research UK.|
|↑27||Curcumin. National Cancer Institute.|
|↑28||DeVivo, Niika. “Herbs to the rescue”. The Yoga Journal (2006).|
|↑29||Mozaffari-Khosravi, Hassan, Behrouz Talaei, Beman-Ali Jalali, Azadeh Najarzadeh, and Mohammad Reza Mozayan. “The effect of ginger powder supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Complementary therapies in medicine 22, no. 1 (2014): 9-16.|
|↑30||Dhingra, Dinesh, and Amandeep Sharma. “Antidepressant-like activity of n-hexane extract of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) seeds in mice.” Journal of medicinal food 9, no. 1 (2006): 84-89.|
|↑31||Singletary, Keith. “Cinnamon: overview of health benefits.” Nutrition Today 43, no. 6 (2008): 263-266.|