Turmeric is a versatile spice, used in spice blends around the world including curry powder. It also has a reputation for being one of the healthiest spices out there.
But if you’ve ever looked for the capsule version of turmeric to use medicinally, you may have found yourself with a bottle of curcumin instead, or with a bottle of turmeric that says it includes curcumin. So what exactly is the difference between curcumin and turmeric?
The easiest thing to remember is that turmeric is a spice used an ingredient used in food, either in its fresh root form or in its powdered form, and that it can also be used medicinally. Curcumin is a chemical compound generally reserved for the medicine cabinet. But they’re closely related to one another.
Curcumin is actually a chemical compound that’s derived from turmeric. It’s kind of confusing, because the scientific name of turmeric is Curcuma longa. What you should remember is that while all turmeric contains curcumin, curcumin is one of many components that make up turmeric. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, and in some lab tests, it has even been found to be effective in reducing the size of tumors. According to WebMD, it helps protect against high cholesterol, diabetes, and more. NBC lists even more conditions it can help with, including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Turmeric only contains 2 to 8 percent curcumin by weight, so you’ll often find capsules of more highly concentrated curcumin, not turmeric, at the pharmacy. To get any of the health benefits of turmeric from diet alone, you’d need to eat almost a full gram of turmeric a day. Curcumin extracts make it easier to get more circumin in a smaller package. Curcumin supplements are often paired with piperine, a substance derived from black pepper, which helps the bloodstream absorb it, and it’s also beneficial to take it with a fatty food. If you’re in LA, try an avocado.
Keep watching the video to find out more about the real difference between turmeric and curcumin.