Beyond being a staple spice in many dishes, people used turmeric in naturopathic medicine to treat conditions from indigestion to depression. More recently, people believe the spice may treat irritable bowel syndrome.
This article will review the evidence behind the claims that turmeric can help symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), include some background on turmeric, discuss how people may use it, and if there are any risks.
Though people need more research, some studies suggest that curcumin, a type of turmeric, could potentially help ease symptoms of IBS.
In fact, a
One 2018 study found that taking capsules containing turmeric extract and fennel essential oil for 2 months significantly improved digestive symptoms and quality of life in 211 people with IBS.
Plus, a small 2019 study showed that a supplement containing curcumin, green tea, and selenomethionine was effective at improving subjective satisfaction with bowel habits in 22 people with IBS.
Turmeric, IBS, and ulcerative colitis
People linked turmeric with benefits for other digestive system disorders, including ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that causes diarrhea and abdominal pain.
One small 2015 study found that adding curcumin to the regular treatment routine had a positive impact on the symptoms of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.
There are some positive findings relating to the use of turmeric in reducing IBS symptoms, and these effects may also extend to other digestive disorders. However, experts need more research to determine whether turmeric can have any real benefits for the treatment of IBS.
For centuries, people used turmeric as a natural remedy for everything from colds to digestive problems to infections. Its potential healing properties come from curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory compound.
The cause of IBS is unknown, and there are currently no available cures. People typically manage IBS symptoms using medicine and lifestyle changes that tend to involve changes in diet.
Experts consider curcumin safe to consume for most people on a short-term basis. They need to complete further research on long-term curcumin consumption needs.
High doses of curcumin
If a doctor recommends that an individual take a turmeric or curcumin supplement, it is important to find a trusted brand that received third-party testing and does not include any added ingredients. It is also vital for a person to take the correct dosage, as laid out by a doctor or the manufacturer.
- abdominal pain
- digestive problems
- blood thinning
It is currently unclear whether curcumin supplements are safe during pregnancy, so it is important for people who are pregnant to speak with doctors before trying any supplements.
People with diabetes need to avoid consuming turmeric, as it can lower blood glucose levels. It may also interact with some medications, such as blood thinners or diabetes drugs, so it is important that individuals talk with their doctors before taking curcumin supplements.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements, so the organization cannot guarantee the safety and contents of turmeric products.
People commonly use turmeric to flavor foods, from savory curries and soups to sweet cakes and smoothies. They can purchase it as a powder or in its root form.
It is also possible to take curcumin supplements, which are widely available in health food stores.
Unlike turmeric in other forms, the supplements are highly concentrated doses of curcumin, so people need to read the instructions and ask their healthcare professionals how much is safe to consume.
Turmeric showed promise in initial studies for its positive effect on some IBS symptoms. In most cases, including turmeric or curcumin supplements as part of a healthful diet will not pose any health risk for people with IBS.
Whether turmeric has any real benefits for IBS symptoms remains unclear, and experts need to perform further research in this area.