- Scientists discovered turmeric is as effective as a drug for treating symptoms
- The golden-orange spice contains a naturally active compound called curcumin
The spice that gives curry its yellow colour could be an unlikely cure for indigestion, research suggests.
Scientists have discovered that turmeric – a common spice that many have in their kitchen cupboards – is as effective as a drug for treating symptoms.
The golden-orange spice is derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and contains a naturally active compound called curcumin.
This is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and has long been used as a medicinal remedy in South East Asia.
Researchers from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand enrolled 206 patients aged 18-70 with recurrent upset stomach, also known as dyspepsia.
Scientists have discovered that turmeric – a common spice that many have in their kitchen cupboards – is as effective as a drug for treating symptoms
A third received two large capsules of turmeric four times a day, a third received omeprazole – an indigestion drug – while the final third received both.
Patients in all three groups had similar indigestion scores at the start of the trial, which lasted 56 days in total.
Analysis revealed there were similar reductions in symptom severity and pain for all groups.
The findings, published in the BMJ, may justify considering turmeric in clinical practice, the team said.
The natural spice may be preferable over medication as drugs such as omeprazole which, when used for a long time, can be linked to a higher risk of fractures, micronutrient deficiencies and a heightened risk of infections.
‘Dyspepsia is a common disorder and patients usually try behavioural and diet modifications, and over-the-counter drugs, before seeing a physician,’ the team wrote.
‘Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, is currently used for the treatment of dyspepsia in countries in South East Asia but there is still uncertainty.
‘In this…trial, oral curcumin was found to be safe and well tolerated. Patients with functional dyspepsia treated with curcumin, omeprazole and curcumin plus omeprazole had similar significant symptomatic improvement.’
Turmeric is also believed to help fight off infection, protect against allergies, boost memory and lift our mood.