Dosage and Method: Turmeric

turmeric powder in coconut oilHow:  Always with fresh ground black pepper (see below why) and some fat or oil as it is lipophilic (oil soluble).  I use coconut oil.

How much:  For adults the official recommendation is up to 1.5 g. daily which will be about one very slightly rounded teaspoon which can be divided over two to three doses daily.  Therapeutic doses are considered to be 2-3 g. See cautions below.  Not recommended for small children under two.  For older children and those over 65, start with a low dose. There are varying opinions as to the dosage and confusion between the active ingredient curcumin and turmeric doses.

According to research, piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper will increase significantly the bio-availability of curcumin by 2000% (or put differently, 20 times more bio-available.).  Turmeric has poor bioavailability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal walls.  Piperine works via various mechanisims that enhance absorption off ALL nutrients.

Tea/drinks:  Some people like to take it as a tea, adding a little coconut oil and black pepper.   Others like to take it in warm milk with honey (Golden Milk recipe here) or hot cocoa.

Capsules:  Curcumin (the active ingredient in Turmeric) is available in capsule form.  Personally, I am not a fan of taking herbs (or spices) in such a concentrated active-ingredient-only-form.  This is not what nature intended nor herbal medicine traditions which understood the importance of the synergy of the whole plant matter, be it seeds, leaf, bark or root.  However, please consider organic turmeric which it may be quite helpful for therapeutic short term uses as a massive dosing therapy.  ‘Short term’ is the key word.  See cautions below.

Food:  A great way to take it, a curry is perhaps the best food method – but do you eat curry daily and with medicinal amounts of turmeric? I doubt it.  However, I have added turmeric throughout the day in my yoghurt, muesli, some soups, salad dressings and other dishes.  It gets a bit ‘old’ after a while and invariably I return to my favourite way which is in yogurt.

Fat/oil:  This is my modus operandi and part of my morning routine.  One teaspoon of coconut oil (turns solid in winter so I warm it a little) to  1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.  I add a good few turns of black pepper (for the piperine). This is most likely about 1/8 teaspoon. I repeat this in the afternoon.  These two doses will equal the recommended dose of  1g daily.  Of course you can use any non-inflammatory oil, however coconut oil is my personal favourite.
Lately, I have been using one dollop of full fat real yogurt (about one tablespoon) without the coconut oil to which I stir in the rest.

Many people follow the attitude that ‘more is better’.  This is a huge mistake as turmeric is BEST absorbed in smaller doses throughout the day.  Huge doses at once will simply be wasted.  Bio-availability of the curcumin is a real problem that must be taken seriously.  Take it as suggested WITH the black pepper as explained above and the dose you take will be far better absorbed.

Please reread all the above information before you comment.  I will not answer comments that obviously show not having read this article fully (such as: how much should I take or I just take it with water, is this ok?).  I will gladly answer any other questions you may have for your unique health situation, if I can.

Caution regarding therapeutic doses:

    • Turmeric is used to lower blood sugar and may be problematic for diabetics taking diabetic medicines and hypoglycemics.
    • Turmeric also lowers blood pressure in high doses.  Do not take with herbs that have similar effect nor with chemical drugs such as antihypertensives that artificially lower the blood pressure.
    • It lowers the LDL (‘bad cholesterol) and raises the HDL (‘good cholesterol) and will boost the effect of chemical cholesterol lowering drugs.  Taken together, not a good idea.  Consider your choices. See statement in bold below.
    • It is a blood thinner and not to be taken in conjunction with such chemical blood thinners such as warfarin, coumadin, clopidogrel, or even aspirin, do not ingest turmeric in any form in more than low doses.
    • Therapeutic doses of turmeric taken with moderate to high doses of Ginko biloboa or garlic, all of which have blood thinning properties, should not be taken at the same time.
    • If you do take high doses of turmeric, stop at least a week prior to surgery (because it is a blood thinner).
    • May cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
    • People having problems with the gall bladder or gall stones should avoid therapeutic doses of turmeric as it increases the bile production.
    • High doses may stimulate uterine contractions and menstrual flow.

It is worth considering that many people have successfully either weaned themselves off chemical drugs or at least lowered the doses over time. This also means, avoided the inevitable side effects of long term pharmaceuticals.  Consult with a health practitioner who is knowledgeable in natural methods, especially turmeric.

Warning!  Super food turmeric may seriously improve your health.  Read more about turmeric benefits – Spice:  Turmeric – Beyond Curry

Be sure to purchase your herb and spices from non-irradiated, organic and reliable sources for the full health benefit.  Grocery store herbs are good enough for seasoning but most likely have been radiated.  One company I have come to trust is “Simply Organic”.

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Therapeutic doses of most any herbal preparation is seldom intended for long term use and were never intended to be used in that way.  Obviously, long term chemical ‘solutions’ have also negative effects.  Many herbalists and Naturopathic practitioners recommend taking breaks of a few weeks from any long term herb use.  However, some people eventually ease themselves off of pharmaceuticals and are happy with the results using natural methods and just as importantly, a healthier lifestyle.  Your health practioner (read my interpretation of that and my disclaimer here) should be consulted.

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Small selection of references:

  •  Shapiro K, Gong WC. Natural products used for diabetes. Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. 2002;42(2):217–226. [PubMed]
  •  Gobert CP, Duncan AM. Consumption, perceptions and knowledge of soy among adults with type 2 diabetes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2009;28(2):203–218. [PubMed]
  •  Jiang CS, Liang LF, Guo YW. Natural products possessing protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) inhibitory activity found in the last decades. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. 2012;33(10):1217–1245. [PubMed]
  • Nolan CJ, Damm P, Prentki M. Type 2 diabetes across generations: from pathophysiology to prevention and management. The Lancet. 2011;378(9786):169–181. [PubMed]
  • Aggarwal BB, Sundaram C, Malani N, Ichikawa H. Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2007;595:1–75. [PubMed]
  • Kolev TM, Velcheva EA, Stamboliyska BA, Spiteller M. DFT and experimental studies of the structure and vibrational spectra of curcumin. International Journal of Quantum Chemistry. 2005;102(6):1069–1079.
  • Perez-Torres I, Ruiz-Ramirez A, Banos G, El-Hafidi M. Hibiscus sabdariffa Linnaeus (Malvaceae), curcumin and resveratrol as alternative medicinal agents against metabolic syndrome. Cardiovascular & Hematological Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2013;11(1):25–37. [PubMed]
  • Goel A, Kunnumakkara AB, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin as “Curecumin”: from kitchen to clinic. Biochemical Pharmacology. 2008;75(4):787–809. [PubMed]
394 comments… add one
  • Connie Brazil 10/02/2016, 19:25

    I just started taking turmeric daily in my morning smoothie and was putting in a tablespoon. Now I see that might not have been the best idea to take that large of a dosage at once, don’t want to waste it. To make sure I understand I can just take 1/4 tsp of turmeric in powder form 3-4 times a day in my food and that would work? Busy schedule and trying to find the easiest way to get the right dosage in. Thank you very much for a wonderfully informative article.

    Reply
    • admin 10/02/2016, 21:41

      That is correct. 1/4 tsp. 1-2 times a day for general maintenance is sufficient. If you are addressing a specific health problem, then 3-4 times a day. Get creative about incorporating it! In scrambled eggs, mixed into peanut or almond butter as a spread, or into ANY spread…rice dishes…soups, stews, chili, smoothies and my favourite, in yogurt. Take a yogurt with turmeric to work as a snack. But don’t forget the pepper.

      Reply
  • Elmarie 09/02/2016, 21:09

    I noticed you cautioned against use with gallstones. I had my gallbladder removed 7 months ago (due to gallstones). What dosage is safe for gallbladder-less people?

    Reply
  • susan 09/02/2016, 18:15

    I’m trying to find an easy way to take this daily….would almond butter be a good substitute? If I mix 1/4 t turmeric, grind of blk pepper and mix with the almond butter and just eat it from the spoon??

    Reply
    • admin 10/02/2016, 08:16

      Susan, you can add it to anything you like…soups, stews, yogurt, fresh cheese and yes even nut butters. Why not? Me, I would spread it on a crisp bread and add a drizzle of honey, with the turmeric, pepper etc, a delicious combination.

      Reply
      • susan 10/02/2016, 16:33

        So the almond butter will be good as the fat? I had also read that heating it was recommended???

        Reply
        • admin 10/02/2016, 21:44

          Yes, heating it, as cooking with it in food or as the Golden Milk recipe is always better…then it becomes more bioavailable. Or one can make a cooked paste of it. I will be writing an article/report on the paste soon. Almond butter is excellent…certainly plenty of good ‘fat’…don’t forget the pepper. Add a little honey for a delicious spread.

          Reply
  • Valentina 04/02/2016, 02:24

    I have a question, I have read all the comments and your article, and just want to know in your opinion what is the better way to take turmeric : as golden milk, that is to heat turmeric or in a raw state, as I understand you take it twice a day : in the morning and later on, coconut oil, some pepper, and you do not warm it up. Do you take it with water? I do not want to use any kind of milk?
    Thank you so much, very informative article, I am reading all your health highlights

    Reply
  • Laurie 01/02/2016, 20:01

    Thank you so much for all of this info! So glad I stumbled upon it.

    I’ve been taking turmeric and pepper mixed in water for 2 months now and never had heard to take it with fat. Is 1/4 c. of dairy kefir enough of a fat?

    Also, does it matter if I take my turmeric and pepper (1/4 tsp. each) in kefir with my daily vitamins in the morning? I take fish oil, multi-vitamin, K2, calcium w/D, and glucosamine. The rest of the day I would just take it with my kefir (3x).

    Lastly, is any turmeric in the spice aisle good enough if it says 100% organic? I found it pretty cheap at WalMart–Wild Oats brand.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • admin 09/02/2016, 11:28

      Hello Laurie,
      The fat in the kefir should be sufficient and taking it with your vitamins seems like a good idea. As far as shop turmeric, I think if it says 100% oranic, this will be your deciding factor. Sounds good to me!

      Reply
  • ajay 30/01/2016, 11:23

    hiii ,i want to kwn tht turmic can help to reduce brain tumar if yes so plz tell me how much turmic should take in a day ..bt my Gall Bladder have removed by operation cause stone

    Reply
    • admin 09/02/2016, 12:44

      Hello Ajay,
      There are promising studies regarding turmeric (specifically, the curcumin in turmeric) regarding all tumors including brain tumors. Unfortunately, I have no clue as to what the protocol is or how much to take. I did not that on youtube there are videos regarding this subject. Perhaps do a search there and contact the person who uploaded them…they may have more info for you. Sorry I could not help.

      Reply
  • Maria Driscoll 29/01/2016, 03:14

    I am thrilled to have a heaping tablespoon or teaspoon with crunchy peanut butter….it is a very yummy treat..now adding pepper…my feet feel better ( burning feet, or neurotomy) I swear its better!

    Reply
    • admin 09/02/2016, 14:54

      Thanks for sharing with us your success. All the best to you!

      Reply
  • Teresa 26/01/2016, 01:56

    Hi, I am suffering from Postherpetic neuralgia (Pain After Shingles) and my doctor has recommended pharmaceutical drugs for pain such Lyrica. I was wondering if Turmeric would possible help with this condition. What would be your recommended dose, in high amounts or slowly increase over time.

    Thanks,
    Trese

    Reply
    • admin 09/02/2016, 15:02

      Hello Teresa,
      Sorry I did not see your post earlier. My sympathies regarding the shingles. Pregabalin (trade name Lyrica) can be addictive and should not be stopped suddenly and I have found not adverse interaction with turmeric. I can only tell you what I would do in the same situation and that would be to start slowly with turmeric and increasing by 1/4 tsp each week. Then I would pay close attention to how I feel after a few weeks before I start tapering off the Pregabalin. Don’t be impatient with this, take your time and be gentle to yourself. Give it time and follow the suggestions for how to take turmeric, never forgetting the black pepper.
      Add it to your food, soups, stews etc.
      Hope this helps. Be sure to read my disclaimer!

      Reply
  • Sonal Shah 17/01/2016, 19:33

    Hi, this is Sonal here.. Just read your post. I have a question.. I take 1tsp ground turmeric mixed with 1tsp coconut oil and 1/8tsp ground black pepper and I have this twice day. Which means I have 2tsp of ground turmeric a day.. Is this method correct for osteoarthritis, knee and joint pain and radiating chest pain? Looking forward for the help. Also would like to Know how long it takes to show its effects in the body..? Currently I am taking steroids. I badly want to stop taking steroids its harming me. Looking forward for your reply.. Thanks in advance..

    Reply
    • admin 09/02/2016, 15:12

      Hello Sonal,
      Too much turmeric at one time is not beneficial and in a way is a waste. It is much better to take 1/4tsp with some oil/pepper 3-4 times a day than what you are taking. Use 1/4 tsp three times a day and observe how you feel before increasing it.. If you can, add 1/8 tsp cayenne or ginger to your blend and observe. I think you will notice some improvement. Wishing you all the best for getting off the steroids!

      Reply
  • Victoria 12/01/2016, 14:47

    I take red rice yeast, fish oil, and CoQ10 to control my cholesterol. Can turmeric be taken with this?

    Reply
  • Neata 04/01/2016, 20:11

    I’ve been using golden milk for arthritis of thumbs. . Not helping yet. This seems much easier way to take. Any benefit to heating the paste for golden milk?
    Very helpful article, thank you!

    Reply
    • admin 09/02/2016, 15:20

      I would drink the golden milk at night but during the day I would take 1/8 tsp.cayenne, cinnamon as you like it, 1/4 tsp. turmeric three times a day in whatever food you prefer, yogurt, porridge (oatmeal), soups, stews, veg dishes. The paste doesn’t need to be heated again as it has been cooked. Just stir it into whatever food. Thank you for your kind words!

      Reply
  • Larry Kelp 04/01/2016, 04:45

    I get a fresh made vegetable juice every day at whole foods, with spinach, kale, celery, beet and ginger. To this I add a handful of turmeric root, bought there at the store and added to the drink. Evidentally you are saying this is too much? I am assuming I should just put one small root section into the drink. Am I right?

    Reply
    • admin 10/02/2016, 22:22

      Yes, it is too much at one time. Cut root: 1.5-3 grams a day that is roughly 2.5 cm. or about 1 in. slice of the root. Just blend it (not juice it as you will be missing some components of the root that work synergistically with curcumin) with your drink or smoothie.

      Reply

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