Dosage and Method: Turmeric

turmeric dosage and methodConfused by conflicting information about dosage and method for turmeric?  You are not alone.  It’s one of the most asked questions I received in the past from my readers.  Dosage really depends on your goal, whether for a particular health problem or for maintenance.

How:  Always with fresh ground black pepper (see below why) and some fat or oil as it is lipophilic (oil soluble).  I use coconut oil.  For optimal absorption, always take it with food.

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.  For these amounts, a few good grinds of pepper is sufficient (roughly 1/16 tsp. per 3 g. turmeric).  It’s not rocket science so don’t worry about exactness.

If you are just starting out with turmeric powder, try 1/4 tsp. twice a day for several days before increasing to the suggested dose.

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.). “Piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bio-availability of curcumin.”  Turmeric has poor bioavailability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal walls.  Piperine works via various mechanisims that enhance absorption of 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.  Note:  There is much confusion about turmeric capsules on many websites and even companies selling them.  Read the label.  Is it whole turmeric powder or in large letters TURMERIC or turmeric extract but somewhere in smaller print ‘curcumin’? Turmeric extract is curcumin.

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 yogurt, 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 where the flavour nearly disappears.  There is no problem for pregnant or breastfeeding women to take turmeric in normal amounts for cooking.  Asian and Indian women have been doing it since millennia.

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 to clarify the article or those you may have for your unique health situation, if I can.

Caution regarding therapeutic doses (of turmeric powder and in particular curcumin supplementation):

    • 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’s either one or the other.
    • 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.
    • Theraputic doses of turmeric can act as a blood thinner and is 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.  In normal usage and doses, it is on a par with aspirin or Ibuprofen and is not a problem.
    • 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 therapeutic doses of turmeric, stop 48 prior to surgery (some sites advise 2 weeks…this is not necessary).
    • May cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
    • If you are having problems with bile duct obstruction,  gall bladder or gall stones,   avoid therapeutic doses of turmeric as it stimulates the liver to produce more bile.
    • If you are susceptible to kidney stones, curcumin can increase calcium oxalate excretion.
    • High, therapeutic doses may stimulate uterine contractions and menstrual flow.  In other words, if you are pregnant do not take therapeutic doses, however normal use is fine.
    • Therapeutic doses may lower blood sugar.  This is not a problem for diabetics who regularly check their sugar levels and can adjust their insulin or food intake accordingly.

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 therapeutic 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 practitioner (read my interpretation of that and my disclaimer here) should be consulted.

**Since turmeric is primarily a food supplement and considered an adaptogenic herb by many herbalists especially by Ayurvedic practitioners, it is considered an exception to the rule.  “Taking a break” from therapeutic doses of turmeric simply means reduce the amount to normal maintenance of roughly 1/4 tsp. once or twice daily for a few weeks.  Add it as a condiment to your food.  Thus, turmeric can be taken daily by varying the dose every few months.  You can also add equal amounts of ginger powder during lower dose periods.  Read about ginger here. Follow links at the bottom of that article for more on ginger.**

Warning!  Super food turmeric may seriously improve your health.

More related posts: Turmeric – Take It With Food and Why       Turmeric – Does Your Supply Pass the Test

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”.

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, about your dosage and method.


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]
553 comments… add one
  • 21/10/2016, 09:42

    Sweet blog! Ӏ found itt whilе searchinng on Yahoo News.

    Dο үοu hɑve any tips on hoow tto ɡеt listed іn Yahoo News?

    I’ve Ьeen tryingg for a wɦile bսt I nevr seem tto ǥеt thеre!


    • admin 21/10/2016, 11:50

      Glad you like my blog. Getting on Yahoo News is really a matter of which search term and popularity, I think of a particular post. This post on dosage and method is the most popular on my site. So anyone searching for the key word turmeric dose or turmeric dosage, my site shows up on first page in either Yahoo News or Yahoo Search. Good luck!

  • nancy 08/10/2016, 20:25

    I just have the powders,Im just starting would like to know how much I need to take I’m in a lot of pain,I have fibermyalga and I need to know what to mix with it to make it tase good.also need to lose about 20 lbs will it help with weight lose.Im 57 and do have differferent health problems please let me know. thank you.Nancy

    • admin 09/10/2016, 02:08

      Hello Nancy,
      So sorry about your fibromyalgia pain. I have been coming across more information that supports the use of ginger along with the turmeric (and of course the oil/fat source and freshly ground black pepper) in the cases of severe pain such as with fibromyalgia.

      If you are just starting with turmeric, then I suggest you start off slowly with the 1/4 tsp. twice daily and increasing to 3 times daily. If needed, then increase the 1/4 tsp until you reach YOUR (therapeutic) dose that helps you. Please re-read the section ‘How much’ for more information.

      Turmeric is a food supplement, so really you can add it into anything, any recipe. I like adding it into my full fat yogurt (which will have enough fat for the turmeric to be better absorbed) to which I add cinnamon as well as cayenne or ginger, scrambled eggs, tuna salad…soups, mashed potatoes, tomato sauces of all kinds etc etc. I also often add an extra few shakes of my ginger powder, not in place of the pepper but in addition to it.

      People into smoothies add it as well – but don’t forget a little healthy oil and the pepper as well. So you see, you are only limited by your own imagination.

      You mentioned other health problems. Not knowing which ones, I can only advise you to let your health practitioner know about you taking turmeric. If they haven’t a clue about it, be sure to mention that it IS the most studied herb with thousands of abstracts and studies both on animal and humans. It’s certainly not the latest trend.

      Let me know how you get on, Nancy or send me a message. (Thanks also for subscribing!)

  • Leonora Co 08/10/2016, 19:36

    I thank God for your very helpful website and by emailing me some tips for a healthy life. I just got an arthritis more than one month ago the doctor’s prescription does not work so, I turn to the internet to find what is the best home remedy for arthritis. I found your website and follow your instruction Turmeric mix with fresh ground black pepper and coconut oil it is wonderful drug just one day the pain was gone. I praise Jesus for this wonderful plant. By the way, the pain was in my right hip it was very very painful that I could hardly walked.

    More Blessing To You From The Almighty God!

    • admin 09/10/2016, 01:24

      You really made my week, Leonora. I am so happy for you that you are having success with turmeric and that my website is helpful to you. I love hearing from readers about their success stories. Thank you again for your kind words and thank you also for subscribing!

  • Luke 05/10/2016, 19:02

    Do you know how long turmeric takes to dissolve in fat/oil?
    I’m mixing it into single cream, but I don’t know how long it should be left before drinking.
    Also, I’ve read about the benefits of taking it mixed in Honey. But, honey is not a fat/oil, is it? How does honey improve its absorption?


    • admin 05/10/2016, 19:20

      Hello Luke,
      Turmeric dissolves very quickly in cream, not to worry. What is important is that both fat and turmeric are present in the stomach. Not a problem.

      Good for you that you pointed out the ‘honey’ problem. A lot of ‘so called’ health sites seem to think that the wonderful benefits of honey must be the perfect match for the wonderful benefits of turmeric…only their superficial knowledge just isn’t enough. Honey does nothing for turmeric to enhance its absorption or bio-availability at all. Honey is between 17 to 24% water. As you know turmeric is hydrophobic, but is lipidphilic. The honey simply helps with the taste for some. Like so many other trendy sites into smoothies, but are low/no fat oriented, they add the latest interesting ingredient without really understanding it.
      Bravo that you do. Great questions, thanks for asking…and don’t forget the freshly grated pepper!

  • Lillian 29/09/2016, 23:11

    I take 1/8 teaspoon every morning with an egg. No shoulder pain whatsoever. I feel great. Why the pepper? Thank you

    • admin 29/09/2016, 23:26

      Hi Lillian,

      Please re-read the information in the gray box. Glad it works for you as is…imagine how much more you could get out of it with a fresh grating of pepper over your egg? Turmeric benefits go well beyond just pain management.

  • allison 29/09/2016, 06:34

    Why does it say that turmeric can only be taken short term? I read this on one other site, also. “Considered safe for use up to eight months.” But no one says why!

    This supplement is helping me so much… I really don’t want to go off it and feel chronic pain again.

    • admin 29/09/2016, 13:27

      Good question, Allison, and is one I have been reconsidering for a while. So your question has prompted me to expand on the difference between therapeutic and maintenance doses and turmerics unique qualities being more and more accepted as an adaptogenic herb. Have a look at the second yellow info box I have added.

      Here is a link to my article on adaptogenic herbs (which turmeric is).

      As to why so many sites claim short term use? Frankly, I think it is a matter of repeating the same mis-information found elsewhere and not digging deeper. What triggered my researching deeper on this subject is the fact that turmeric is taken by most Indians daily…in some form or another, varying it seems from 1/4 to 1 tsp. daily per person depending on which region in India.

      Another reason for this mis-information – and one I find highly annoying – is that many of those sites give superficial info on trending topics, cherry picking information without really understanding. An example are sites that confuse curcumin with turmeric. High dose curcumin, long term is another matter entirely. I cover this and more much deeper in my Ultimate Turmeric Guide and Protocol. Click here for more info on my guide.

    • admin 30/09/2016, 18:58

      Allison…I just saw that you subscribed. Don’t forget to confirm via the email you’ve received! Thanks for signing up!

  • Holly 29/09/2016, 02:34

    Does anyone know how many milligrams or grams of turmeric powder you are getti g in one tsp if turmeric “paste”?
    I have severe rheumatoid arthritis and have been taking 6 grams daily of standardized capsules, however 1 tsp of golden paste three times daily seems to be working better.

    • admin 29/09/2016, 22:53

      Hello Holly,
      Your question is difficult to answer because it really depends on how much water was used to cook the paste, how much starch content your particular turmeric powder has (higher starch content means absorbs more water) which is further diluted by the oil. Frankly, don’t worry about how many milligrams there are in a tsp. of the paste. What is more important is what amount of the paste works for you.
      I am not surprised if you are having a better response to the paste compared to the capsules (assuming you mean curcumin capsules). The whole powder contains all the other constituents such as the turmerones – also very potent. Plus heat treated turmeric is by far better absorbed and more bioavailable.

      In fact, I would suggest you see how you do on less. For example 3/4 tsp. morning, 1/2 tsp. afternoon and 3/4 tsp. at night…eventually trying 1/2 tsp. three times daily.

      Hope this helps!

  • Marian 26/09/2016, 09:30

    Hi, I have just registered on your very helpful site, I have bookmarked the page so I can quickly return to it any time. I have found the information very helpful, I was taking turmeric capsules for my arthritic joints but I am now converted to using fresh ingredients. I just thought I would share something, this morning for my breakfast I had porridge made with almond milk, I added 1/4 teaspons turmeric, 1/4 teaspons honey, 1/4 teaspons coconut oil and about 4 good grinds of black pepper. I admit I was dubious about weather I could stomach it but it was great, a slight earthy taste but other than that I enjoyed it. I will have the same dose at lunch and in the evening. Would I need to increase this dosage at all or will this be sufficient?

    • admin 27/09/2016, 17:06

      Hello Marian,
      Thank you for subscribing…yes, I did see that you registered 😉
      When I make porridge (cooked oatmeal in US) I would use either almond or oatmilk myself and perhaps more coconut oil and honey than you and the black pepper of course as well. I love it that way in cooler weather. I add it to anything, my muesli (see recipe section) soups, stews, dishes with mayonnaise. I either use 1/4 tsp per person since my husband and I both take it or just have it as a condiment at the table.

      Regarding your question, the 3/4 tsp. you are taking daily is most likely perfect for the normal aches and pains of arthritis etc or other inflammatory issues. If for maintenance reasons most likely you could cut back to two doses daily. Even for preventative purposes it is suggested that one or two doses daily is sufficient. These are just general guides as turmeric is a food supplement and all of us are very unique in our needs.

      Not knowing your particular reason for taking it, I hope this helps!


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