Curcumin, the active ingredient in the table spice turmeric, has dozens of proven health benefits.

It has moderate effects as a long-term cognitive enhancer and has been studied for its effects on cancer, heart disease, depression, and arthritis.

Curcumin is available in a more powerful concentration in supplement form.

The names turmeric and curcumin are used interchangeably, and supplements may be sold under either moniker.

What is Curcumin?

Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, and curcumin is the most potent of these substances.

Like other antioxidants, curcumin hunts damaged molecules called free radicals that may kill cells. Antioxidants safeguard healthy cells from free radicals and may reduce existing damage they’ve caused.

Some holistic health experts consider curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties a viable force against cancer cells.

Curcumin has reduced the growth of cancer cells in lab animals, and may prevent cancer from developing in humans.

Curcumin is a natural blood thinner, as it stops platelets from clumping and forming blood clots. It’s also efficient at improving the endothelium, or blood vessel lining.

Endothelial dysfunction is one of the causes of heart disease, and curcumin may work as well as exercise to improve endothelial function.

Available online, in drugstores and health food stores, curcumin supplements are often sold with piperine (black pepper) and other curcuminoids added.

It’s sold in capsule, powder or liquid form. When buying turmeric or curcumin powder, make sure you’re purchasing medicinal turmeric, not the food-grade spice.

Other names

Diferuloylmethane, Turmeric extract, Curry Extract, Curcuma,

Editor’s Note

I learned about the health properties of curcumin after adding the powdered supplement to tea and smoothies.

For a year before that, I simply stirred in a spoonful of turmeric spice into my tea. While this made tea taste more interesting, I didn’t see health benefits until I started using a curcumin-rich supplement powder.

Curcumin (Curcuma longa) has been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years. Turmeric, the spice that makes Indian food taste so good, only contains three percent curcumin, and for health purposes, you need to use medical-grade curcumin/turmeric, not the same turmeric you use when you make Tandoori chicken.

You’ll get some health benefits from eating food-grade turmeric (or putting it in shakes and tea), but only medical-grade curcumin will give you the results you need. Take curcumin extract supplements for better brain function and other health benefits.

To guarantee better absorption, I use a curcumin supplement with black pepper, or piperine, as the supplement version is called. T