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 non-inflammatory oil as it is lipophilic (oil soluble).  I use coconut oil.  For optimal absorption, always take it with food.  Non-inflammatory oils come from the fruit of a plant and not the seeds (such as walnut, olive or coconut).

How much:  For adults the official recommendation is up to 1.5 g. daily which will be about one very slightly rounded half teaspoon which can be divided over two to three doses daily.  Therapeutic doses are considered to be 2-3 g.  Understand that there is no official, set ‘dosage’ as is understood for pharmaceuticals – only suggestions.  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 bio-availability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal walls.  Piperine works via various mechanisms 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 whole turmeric powder which may be quite helpful for therapeutic short term uses as a massive dosing therapy.  ‘Short term’ is the key word.  See cautions below.  Turmeric has other active ingredients which have impressive benefits and are finally being studied.   This is a subject I cover in my ebook the Ultimate Turmeric Guide and Protocol in detail.   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.  ‘Standardized to 95%’ means it is curcumin, not whole turmeric powder. 

**Contact me for the free report Curcumin Capsules:  Are You Wasting Your Money?**

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  1/4 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.**

This article is but a fraction of the deeply researched information in my 54 page Ultimate Turmeric Guide and Protocol.  Please click on the graphic for it on this page for more info.

Warning!  Super food turmeric may seriously improve your health.

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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.

More related posts: 

Turmeric, Curcumin – Aren’t They the Same?

Spice: Turmeric – Beyond Curry

Turmeric – Take It With Food and Why

Turmeric – Does Your Supply Pass the Test       

Is Raw Turmeric Better Than Powdered?    Junk Journalism: Turmeric and Co.

Turmeric Golden Milk – A Life Changing Nourishing Drink

Inflammation & Turmeric: Just Symptomatic Relief?

Turmeric, Curcumin – Aren’t they the same?

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.

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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]
638 comments… add one
  • Terri 23/03/2017, 17:35

    I’m just starting turmeric capsules. Thank you for answering my fat intake question. I have Coconut oil but I am trying to finish some instant oatmeal. The oatmeal contains 2.5g fat, can I just eat that or should I use the coconut oil, also?

    Reply
    • admin 24/03/2017, 12:55

      Hello Terri,

      Well, 2.5g is very roughly 1/2 tsp. so if you are taking 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder it should suffice. However, coconut oil is so delicious (and highly beneficial) in oatmeal…why not add a tsp. of it anyway.

      I realize you said you take capsules, but this is not a good way to take turmeric, albeit it seems convenient. That is one of the subjects I cover and explain in detail in my ebook The Ultimate Turmeric Guide and Protocol.

      Reply
  • Linda 19/03/2017, 00:07

    Hello, I am about to start taking tumeric for the anti-inflammatory/arthritis effect. My question is about Ginko Biloba, you indicated not to take it at the same time, I am currently taking 360 mg- is this dose too high? Should I not take any amount if I start tumeric? I appreciated your advise, thank you the article.

    Reply
    • admin 19/03/2017, 12:48

      Hello Linda,
      You are welcome!

      360mg of GB would be considered a moderate dose and in any case would be best taken half dose twice daily (130mg x 2). I would take the turmeric separate from the GB doses, and if you are starting with turmeric start off as suggested in this article…and always with food.

      GB, on the other hand you can take without food…so take it between meals.

      GB and turmeric is more of a concern when someone needs to take high therapeutic doses of turmeric. Btw, if you are taking GB because of concern about cognitive decline, you may find that you can eliminate it or lower the dose when taking turmeric. And, I strongly suggest you look into taking coconut oil daily. This has broad benefits not in the least helping with the neuro transmitters in the brain, which in turn certainly helps with mental clarity…but without the possible complications of taking GB (blood thinning effect).

      GB certainly has its traditional benefits, but…unrefined coconut is an excellent replacement as demonstrated by the most resent research. (I personally used to take GB some years ago as well as my husband…but since turmeric and coconut oil became our basis, we no longer need GB.)

      I hope this helps!

      PS: Have you read my latest article on coconut oil?

      Reply
      • Linda 21/03/2017, 02:15

        Well this is great information regarding GB, yes I took it for mental clarity due to the menopause fog (ugh) and your information is great news- I would really like to get off of the GB if tumeric is a good replacement. Also, I will read your article of coconut oil- sound very intriguing!

        Thanks again!

        Reply
        • admin 21/03/2017, 08:47

          You are welcome!

          Reply
  • Wilfried Wagner 09/03/2017, 02:00

    I read your very informative artikle. My question is, is it save to take a 1/4 tsp. Turmeric with 6 oz. Water while I’m taking a 1/2 3.2mg. Carvedilol in the morning, which is a beta blocker. Thank you

    Reply
    • admin 09/03/2017, 21:16

      Hello Wilfried,
      I have not been able to find any information to contraindicate taking turmeric together with a beta blocker. Please reread my article (especially the text in green) for the answer to the rest of your question! 😉

      Reply
  • Lukasz 08/03/2017, 15:15

    It is hard to find good info about turmeric. I am glad i found your site.

    I am taking Turmeric in a way which i believe is healthy but a lot of info on the internet is making me question my routine. My main concern is that I am taking the turmeric raw…
    I have grated the fresh turmeric and mixed it with linseed oil, grated fresh ginger and grinded pepper. Then I use 2 teaspoons of this mixture in a cup and mix it with a tomato paste and fill up with hot water. This results in a tasteful tomato soup. But is it safe to use it in this way? Maybe it is better to cook the mixture before using it?

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my question…

    Reply
    • admin 08/03/2017, 17:34

      Hello Lukasz,
      Thank you for your kind words and welcome to my site.
      First off, linseed oil notoriously goes rancid quickly even as it is leaving the production factories. Unless you purchase guaranteed refrigerated from transport to shop storage the short answer is: don’t use it. ALWAYS, freshly grind linseed just before you wish to use it or no more than 24 hours refrigerated and mix it into or sprinkle over your food.
      Oil: fruit oils are best, such as coconut or olive oil.

      Tomato paste, excellent idea and I often use it as a spread myself…high lycopene and more. Is your soup ‘safe’? Certainly. But is the potential of the (raw) turmeric maximized? No. Hardly at all.

      Raw turmeric or not? Did you see the link at the end of this article regarding raw or powdered turmeric? Please read that for your answer, then read my Junk Journalism: Turmeric and Co. article for my stance on the trendy (but useless from a health stand point) junk articles one finds online about turmeric.

      Please consider clicking on the graphic for my ebook which will take you to more information. The reason I wrote it is so that I could answer in greater detail questions such as yours, backed by the research.

      I may have not told you what you wanted to hear ( 😉 ) but you are welcome to my time, Lukasz!

      Reply
  • Connie Newell 02/03/2017, 18:53

    Am so glad I stumbled onto your article. Have been just recently using turmeric for health benefits. Have not read until now about not using it with certain meds specifically BP med and Cholesterol med. i take both. So that info is not being put in other articles about it.
    My question though is, I like to drink this cold, iced. Since the coconut oil wont work like that would it be ok to eat a few healthy nuts with it? If yes, About how many? Say almonds.

    Reply
    • admin 03/03/2017, 00:15

      Hello Connie,
      I am glad you noticed that solid information is often lacking on the internet regarding turmeric. There is indeed a lot of junk info ‘out there’ which prompted me to write a deeply researched ebook to cover just about all the questions my readers have. And most importantly, answers to questions they didn’t know they should be asking. If you are interested in more info about it, just click on the little advert for it on any page.

      I’m giving you a long answer here regarding your short question. One can take turmeric anyway one wants…it is a food supplement. So if iced turmeric drink is your thing…no problem. And no problem with your meds either.

      However, if you seek to use turmeric for its health benefits, then consistently, a few doses daily taken as suggested in this article will be necessary. If you wish to target a health problem, then long term therapeutic doses are suggested, obviously with lifestyle improvements too. In either case, closely monitoring your BP and blood work, you may find you can ease off or at least reduce your drugs. Of course under supervision of your health practitioner who is interested in natural methods.

      So…if your iced turmeric drink is for quenching your thirst because you also like the flavour…don’t worry. The curcumin in it won’t be very useful anyway (won’t be very bio-available taken that way) and therefore no problem about your meds.

      However, if you drink it with food there is most likely some oil/fat in it. Add black pepper and the bio-availability is improved greatly. I explain the importance of food in the stomach and the necessary digestive process when taking turmeric to target health issues in my ebook. Taking a few almonds while drinking your tea just isn’t enough.

      You may wonder why then, the Golden Milk recipe is suggested as a good method to take turmeric in a drink. This is because the turmeric is gently simmered in the milk/water mixture first. This greatly improves the bio-availability – even when taken alone without a meal it will be beneficial. Black pepper and coconut oil (or other healthy fat) is added as well. I would suggest you prepare your tea by simmering it first, let it cool then drink it as you like it. As to how many almonds as a fat source…I haven’t an idea at all. It is thought that roughly half or less the amount of turmeric to oil is sufficient (ie 1/4 tsp. turmeric 1/8 or less of fat/oil).

      I hope this helps, Connie and welcome to my site.

      PS: I have several articles on cholesterol on this site. Please use the search option (small magnifying glass) to find them. I think they will be useful to you.

      Reply
  • Susanne Ward 21/02/2017, 08:24

    Can you please advise if it is ok to freeze turmeric root. Many thanks for your very helpful article.

    Reply
    • admin 21/02/2017, 14:56

      Hello Susanne,
      Yes, you can freeze turmeric rhizome (and ginger as well) without having to blanch them first. Just wash them well to free them of any dirt and use a good freezer bag that you can close with as little air in it as possible.

      If you are using the fresh/frozen rhizomes for culinary purposes, this is fine. If, however you are assuming that the fresh is superior for it health benefits over the dried form, then please read my article on the subject: http://epicureandigest.com/2017/01/06/is-raw-turmeric-better-than-powder/

      One of the reasons I wrote my Ultimate Turmeric Guide and Protocol is because of the plethora of mis-information on the internet about turmeric in general and the best way to take it, use it, when and why.

      Click on the image on any page for more information on my deeply researched ebook. You won’t find a reference/guide elsewhere that covers the info that I do…all in one 54 page ebook.

      Reply
  • Arthur 20/02/2017, 22:42

    I take warfarin daily to fight blood clots that already exist and to prevent further clotting. Is there a dosage that is safe to replace my 10mg dosage of warfarin daily? Thanks in advsnce!! You are incredibly knowledgeable and I am very new to herbal remedies and sick of common med side effects.

    Reply
    • admin 22/02/2017, 18:39

      Hello Arthur,
      Turmeric, in high therapeutic amounts or pure curcumin (‘doses’) is not a good idea when taken at the same time as warfarin as both are effective ‘blood thinners’ although each works via a different pathway.

      Because turmeric is essentially a food supplement with amazing health benefits and positive side effects, there is no set ‘dosage’ per illness, so no one can safely say take xx amount to replace warfarin.

      To wean off of any drug, it will take patience and a doctor willing to monitor very closely your blood work, starting with a base line for comparison as you increase amount and frequency of turmeric and reducing slowly the warfarin to reach a satisfactory blood work report. In this way, each patient will eventually find what works for them. This is the nature of natural methods, recognizing that every body and its needs are unique.

      I certainly can not give you medical ‘advice’ but I can pass on information to you and hope it inspires you to dig deep in your online and offline search.

      Can turmeric replace drugs such as warfarin? Yes. However, warfarin and co when taken to not only reduce the risk of blood clots but because it has been prescribed for (as an example) atrial fibrillation…then this is a different and more complicated matter.

      Turmeric taken for culinary purposes will not be sufficient enough to interact with warfarin…so no worries there. This article suggests what is considered ‘therapeutic doses’…but as I mentioned this is a highly individualistic guide only.

      If your doctor is resistant to your wish to try turmeric, you have every right to search for a second opinion. Look for a naturopathic doctor in your area who is willing to work with you. I hope this is helpful for you!

      (Thank you for your kind words, Arthur!)

      Reply

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