HealthHub Login

Turmeric vs Curcumin

By The Lucy Rose Clinic

May 21, 2020

There are a gazillion products on the market – and isn’t it funny how they ALL claim to the most potent form? Confusing!

Curcumin has been heralded as the most potent part of turmeric and isolated, leading to many patented versions and ultimately an expensive product. But this belief has been kiboshed with new scientific evidence.

In fact, we are now going back to the effectiveness of the whole root as a healing food.

Types and formulations

Lets get our science googles on!

Since the isolation of curcuminoids from the turmeric rhizome (root), the manufacturing process has focused on extracting, isolating and concentrating these constituents which are highly hydrophobic. Even with the assistance of added ingredients and fancy technologies we have seen little improvement in the delivery of curcuminoids to the plasma (blood).

In short, curcumin is known to have poor absorption through the gut wall and into the blood stream.

Turmeric root contains 235 compounds including phenolic compounds, terpenoids, diarylheptanoids (curcuminoids), monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, triterpines, sterols andalkaloids.4 Curcuminoids (curcumin, demothoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and cyclocurcumin) are mainly found in the rhizome alongside the volatile oils sesquiterpenes (tumerone, zingiberene, curcumin) and small amounts of monoterpenes (cineol).

The presence of these additional compounds alongside curcumin have been shown to improve the absorption and efficacy of curcuminoids. For example, a cell study in intestinal Caco-2 cells found the presence of tumerones enhanced the absorption of curcumin.

A review of the essential medicinal chemistry of Curcuma longa reveals that the benefits are very much the sum of its parts. While the curcuminoids curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin certainly have essential actions, the volatile oils, fibre, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates contain compounds with high therapeutic value.

These compounds include tumerones which can increase the transport of curcumin into GIT epithelial cells; curdione that has an inhibitory effect on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2); biscurone is reported to downregulate tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α); Ukonan A, B, C & D exhibit immunomodulatory effects; β-Elemene can inhibit tumor growth in GIT cells; and Calebin A which may induce apoptosis in human gastric and colon cancer cells.

It’s no wonder we have such a fail with supplements that use isolated curcumin alone!

If you’re thinking, “My curcumin supplement is definitely helping me” then just imagine what 235 compounds could do!

It’s true that people report some relief with these products, I am just saying that there are more potent and effective natural remedies out there that you can access through a naturopathic prescription.

Turmeric in FOOD

Turmeric in cooking has been used as a culinary spice and a medicinal food in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. Turmeric is warm and bitter in taste. It is frequently used to colour and flavour the curry powders, mustards, butter, and cheese.

To activate dried turmeric powder, cook in ghee or coconut oil and add some black pepper and fresh ginger. Lidips (fat) are needed to transport the properties into the tissues of the body – so 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of hot water won’t get absorbed. It needs heat and fat.

If using fresh rhizome, you roughly need 3 times the amount to dried powder to get the same potency.

Cooking with turmeric daily is excellent practice for best health.

However, if you still suffer with aches and pains, then this dietary approach may not suffice, and you may need a more potent and specialised plan.

Healing Properties

It’s healing properties are impressive:

  • antioxidant
  • antiviral
  • antibacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-carcinogenic
  • anti-mutagenic
  • anti-inflammatory

But too much can actually cause imbalance due to its bitter nature.

Provides Relief from Arthritic Pain

Anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help in treating arthritis:osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Free radicals are also destroyed as turmeric has anti-oxidant properties as well.

Aids In Digestion

Turmeric is actually good for your liver and assists digestive processes. It is also known to reduce symptoms of bloating and gas.

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)

Clinical research shows that taking a curcumin product daily for 2 months significantly reduces nasal symptoms including sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion compared with placebo in people with allergic rhinitis.


One clinical trial shows that taking turmeric extract 0.7 grams orally twice daily for 3 months can reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides compared to placebo in overweight hyperlipidemic patients aged 15-45 years-old.

The list of amazingness goes on!

Like I said at the start, I could write about this for a month.

I think we all agree that this is an amazing natural remedy.

Which is my favourite form?

You may be wondering which my preferred supplements are.

It actually depends on the patient.

For strong pain, I always make a herbal tincture that contains the therapeutic window of turmeric along with other individually chosen herbs.

I love the herbal tincture because the entire root is used to make the liquid, meaning all the required compounds are present.

It is one of the ingredients in the mix made for our patient who left this testimonial… >>>>

I hope this article helped you build a greater understanding of turmeric and curcumin, and how to navigate the promises given by the ads and blurbs on the many supplements on the market.

If you are dealing with any chronic health condition, best outcomes are achieved by working with a natural health practitioner who uses functional testing to discover the cause of your health imbalances, and develop an individual treatment plan to address the findings.

I have naturopaths available for a FREE chat so you can see if we are the right fit for you, you are welcome to book a call in – click here for an appointment.

Or call us on 1300 THYROID.

We hope to see you soon to show you natural ways to be PAIN FREE!


Related Content


Does PCOS end at menopause?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age. It is characterised by hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction, and polycystic ovaries. While

Read More

Thyroid and ADHD Connection

Children’s health can be complex, influenced by the growth of the mind & body, and today’s article explores the potential link between thyroid and ADHD,

Read More