Turmeric is a popular spice made from the rhizome, or root, of the Curcuma longa plant.

Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and is a member of the Zingiberaceae, or ginger, family. People have used it as an herbal remedy for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

India grows 78% of the global supply of turmeric.

This article looks at a range of potential health benefits of drinking tea with turmeric.

Fast facts on turmeric tea:

  • The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin.
  • Curcumin gives turmeric its characteristic yellow color.
  • Curcumin is proven to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

Curcumin has low bioavailability, which means the body has a hard time accessing and absorbing the compound. For this reason, turmeric supplements, with their guaranteed high concentrations of curcumin, are popular.

There are a number of ways a person can make turmeric tea. They can, for example, brew:

  • grated turmeric root
  • pure turmeric powder
  • store-bought turmeric tea, either loose-leaf or in a tea bag

There is no specific recommended daily intake of turmeric. Based on available research, the suggested daily intake depends largely on the condition a person wants to treat.

Most research involving adults supports the safe use of 400–600 milligrams (mg) of pure turmeric powder 3 times daily.

Generally, research has shown that curcumin doses of 4,000–8,000 mg per day or even as high as 12,000 mg per day are safe.

Grating the turmeric yourself is the best way to ensure the purity of a product.

Turmeric tea may have numerous benefits, but research on the impact of turmeric on different areas of health is still ongoing. There is no guarantee that turmeric can help with, let alone cure, any health issue.

However, some possible benefits include the following:

1. Reduces arthritis symptoms

As an anti-inflammatory, curcumin may help reduce the most prominent symptoms of arthritis.

A 2017 study found that out of 206 adults in the United States with self-reported rheumatoid arthritis, 63% used non-vitamin supplements to manage their symptoms, with turmeric being the most popular product.

2. Boosts immune function

According to research, curcumin may be able to improve immune function with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.

Research has also shown that curcumin acts as an immune modulator, helping regulate immune cell function against cancer.

3. Helps reduce cardiovascular complications

Numerous studies have shown curcumin to have beneficial heart health properties, because it acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Research has shown that curcumin may help thin the blood, reduce cholesterol, and prevent the narrowing of arteries. This can offer a protective layer from different cardiovascular problems. In addition, it may help reduce the aftereffects of different types of heart damage.

4. Helps prevent and treat cancer

One of the most clinically established therapeutic properties of curcumin is its anti-cancer action.

As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, curcumin is thought to lower the risk of cells in the body becoming damaged, reducing the risk of cell mutations and cancer.

Furthermore, numerous studies have found that curcumin has anti-tumor properties, limiting the growth of tumors and the spread of cancerous cells.

According to a 2014 medical review, more than 2,000 published articles use the keywords “curcumin” and “cancer.”

Researchers are currently investigating the use of curcumin as a cancer treatment alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

5. Helps manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

People have long used curcumin in traditional medicines as a treatment for many digestive conditions. Research shows that the spice’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help modulate gut bacteria.

However, more research is necessary to determine the impact of curcumin in cases of IBS and other intestinal inflammatory conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

6. Prevents and treats Alzheimer’s disease

According to studies, curcumin may help lower the risk of several neurodegenerative conditions.

Experts believe that its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties reduce cellular damage, inflammation, and amyloid deposits, or plaques, that occur with these conditions.

Curcumin may also be able to slow down or prevent some of the age-associated protein changes that scientists link to neurodegeneration.

7. Protects against liver damage and gallstones and manages liver conditions

Several studies have shown that curcumin can protect against liver damage.

Potential liver and gallbladder benefits of curcumin include increasing the production of the digestive fluid bile and protecting liver cells from damage from bile-associated chemicals.

8. Helps prevent and manage diabetes

Traditional medicines have used turmeric for diabetes for thousands of years.

Several studies using animal and human models have shown that curcumin supplementation may have antidiabetic properties.

9. Helps treat and manage lung conditions

Researchers suspect that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin may help alleviate the symptoms of chronic or long-lasting lung conditions.

A 2017 medical review concludes that although the clinical evidence is limited, curcumin might help treat asthma, pulmonary and cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or injury, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

10. Helps with weight loss

A 2019 meta-analysis found that using turmeric can help people with metabolic disorders significantly lower their body mass index.

It may also help reduce leptin, which is a hormone that regulates appetite and fat storage in the body.

A person can brew turmeric tea using pure turmeric powder or grated or ground, dried turmeric.

Fermented turmeric preparations, commonly sold as tea products, claim to have higher concentrations of biologically available, or absorbable, curcumin.

Below is a 1-cup recipe for turmeric tea:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of water or milk
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper

Directions

  1. Bring water or milk to a boil.
  2. Add the other ingredients to the boiling liquid.
  3. Steep for 10–15 minutes.

After completing these steps, a person may want to strain the tea into a container and allow it to cool before drinking.

Extra additions

Many people put additional ingredients into their turmeric tea to improve the taste or help with turmeric absorption.

For example, a person can use either cow’s milk or plant-based milk of their choice. Other additives can include:

  • coconut oil
  • ghee, which is clarified butter
  • black pepper
  • lemon or lime
  • ginger
  • cardamom
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • basil
  • anise
  • vanilla
  • maple syrup

A person can also mix the spice powder with another brewed tea, such as green tea or black tea.

What are the side effects of drinking turmeric tea?

Curcumin is generally safe to consume. However, in rare cases, consuming too much may lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, yellow stool, rash, nausea, and headaches.

Can I drink turmeric tea every day?

Although experts consider curcumin to be generally safe, there is not enough research to establish whether drinking turmeric tea every day is safe or harmful.

Is it okay to drink turmeric tea at night?

Research from 2020 indicates that the time of day at which a person consumes turmeric may not make much difference in terms of the spice’s antioxidant effect on the body. However, more research is necessary on this subject.

Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin. Research shows the spice may have several health benefits and may help the body limit or avoid a number of health conditions.

However, research has not sufficiently validated all the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin.

Making curcumin tea is relatively easy. A person can use curcumin powder or brew a store-bought tea. A variety of additions can enhance the tea’s flavor.

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