The science behind Turmeric

By: Belle Hartles |

The widely used ancient botanical spice, a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, not only adds
colour and flavour to meals, but also acts as a medicinal herb, due to the makeup of bioactive
ingredients (curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin). Curcumin
contains the most nutrients in the spice and makes up approximately 70% of turmeric
Studies have proven the ingredient’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic,
antibacterial, and antiviral abilities (Rathaur et al., 2012). As safety evaluation studies have
confirmed that turmeric is well tolerated at a very high dose without any toxic effects, it has
the potential to be developed into modern medicine for the treatment of various diseases
(Rathaur et al., 2012).
Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory properties can significantly reduce
inflammation and swelling in the human body. The curcumin in turmeric has been found to
be as effective as cortisone, an injection used to relieve inflammation, and phenylbutazone, a
widely used anti-inflammatory medication, for cases of acute inflammation (Cronin, 2003).
Stress can affect the body in numerous ways, not only through causing short-term negative
effects, but also increasing the risk of developing long-term illnesses. Stress relief from the
use of turmeric was observed through a test on animals. It was proven to be capable of
increasing serotonin, cortisol levels, and dopamine concentrations (Xia et al., 2007).
Much like ginger, turmeric has also been found to deliver relief from gastrointestinal
disorders, such as dyspepsia, helicobacter pylori infection, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel
syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. In a phase II clinical trial, people with
diagnosed peptic ulcers were given supplements over a 12 week period. At the end of the
period, 76% of patients were relieved of their symptoms and their ulcers were absent (Arun
& Nalini, 2002). Patients were also treated with curcumin for symptoms of gastritis and
dyspepsia, with symptoms decreasing significantly within 1-2 weeks (Arun & Nalini, 2002).
IBS, a condition affecting 1 in 7 New Zealanders (Health Navigator New Zealand, 2022),
with common symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation, was found to be a
condition that could also be treated by turmeric supplements. An 8 week trial was carried out
with participants noticing a 60% reduction in symptoms after only 4 weeks (Cheng et al.,
For healthy skin, turmeric is an essential herb. Turmeric purifies the skin through increasing
the level of the enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST), which is essential to detoxification
(Rathaur et al., 2012). As the ingredient promotes circulation of the blood, this also aids with
nourishing the skin to provide a natural glow. Its anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties help
to detoxify the body, healing skin problems such as eczema, severe acne, and works as an
anti-aging substance. For these reasons, turmeric is commonly used in many cosmetic
products and sunscreens.
There has also been found to be a link between the use of turmeric and cognitive function.
In a study carried out with a hypothesis that the use of ginger and turmeric would effectively
reduce the negative effects of fatty oils on the brain, test results were successful. The lipid-

soluble from both ginger and turmeric revealed that during the heating process of common
fatty cooking oils, such as canola and sunflower, the compounds found in the spices were
able to counteract the cognitive decline induced by the oils (Tinello et al., 2020).
Black pepper is another ingredient we have made sure to include in the Glow shot, essentially
due to its compatibility with turmeric. The two ingredients paired together allow for greater
absorption of the curcumin in turmeric to occur, increasing the nutrients and health benefits.
In a study observing the interactions between the ingredients, it was found that 20mg of
piperdine (from black pepper) combined with 2g of curcumin increased the absorption of
curcumin in the body by 2000 percent (Shoba et al., 1998).