Tag Archives: Health

10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Written by Kris Gunnars, BSc (via HealthLine)

Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.

Many high-quality studies show that it has major benefits for your body and brain.

Here are the top 10 evidence-based health benefits of turmeric.

1. Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Share on Pinterest

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.

It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.

Recently, science has started to back up what Indians have known for a long time — it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties (1Trusted Source).

These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.

However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high. It’s around 3%, by weight (2Trusted Source).

Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day.

It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods.

Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, you need to take a supplement that contains significant amounts of curcumin.

Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% (3Trusted Source).

The best curcumin supplements contain piperine, substantially increasing their effectiveness.

Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.

SUMMARY

Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies used turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin.

2. Curcumin Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound

Inflammation is incredibly important.

It helps your body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage.

Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over your body and kill you.

Although acute, short-term inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it becomes chronic and inappropriately attacks your body’s own tissues.

Scientists now believe that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source).

Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.

Curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory. In fact, it’s so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source ).

It blocks NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of your cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. NF-kB is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases (1011Trusted Source).

Without getting into the details (inflammation is extremely complicated), the key takeaway is that curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level (12Trusted Source1314).

SUMMARY

Chronic inflammation contributes to many common Western diseases. Curcumin can suppress many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.

3. Turmeric Dramatically Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body

Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.

It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons.

Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA.

The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect your body from free radicals.

Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure (15Trusted Source16Trusted Source).

In addition, curcumin boosts the activity of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes (171819Trusted Source).

In that way, curcumin delivers a one-two punch against free radicals. It blocks them directly, then stimulates your body’s own antioxidant defenses.

SUMMARY

Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own but also stimulates your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

4. Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

Back in the day, it was believed that neurons weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood.

However, it’s now known that this does happen.

Neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain they can also multiply and increase in number.

One of the main drivers of this process is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain (20Trusted Source).

Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease (2122).

Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF (2324).

By doing this, it may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function (25Trusted Source).

It may also improve memory and make you smarter, which seems logical given its effects on BDNF levels. However, controlled studies in people are needed to confirm this (26).

SUMMARY

Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain.

5. Curcumin Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the world (27Trusted Source).

Researchers have studied it for many decades and learned a lot about why it happens.

Unsurprisingly, heart disease is incredibly complicated and various things contribute to it.

Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process (28Trusted Source).

Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels.

It’s well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of your endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors (29Trusted Source).

Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study found that it’s as effective as exercise while another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin (30Trusted Source31Trusted Source).

In addition, curcumin reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which play a role in heart disease as well.

One study randomly assigned 121 people, who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, either a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day, a few days before and after the surgery.

The curcumin group had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital (32Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.

6. Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.

There are many different forms of cancer, which still have several things in common. Some of them appear to be affected by curcumin supplements (33Trusted Source).

Curcumin has been studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level (34Trusted Source).

Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer) (35Trusted Source).

Multiple studies indicate that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in test animals (36Trusted Source37Trusted Source).

Whether high-dose curcumin (preferably with an absorption enhancer like piperine) can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be studied properly.

However, there is evidence that it may prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system like colorectal cancer.

In a 30-day study in 44 men with lesions in the colon that sometimes turn cancerous, 4 grams of curcumin per day reduced the number of lesions by 40% (38Trusted Source).

Maybe curcumin will be used along with conventional cancer treatment one day. It’s too early to say for sure, but it looks promising and is being intensively studied.

SUMMARY

Curcumin leads to several changes on the molecular level that may help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer.

7. Curcumin May Be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia.

Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet.

Therefore, preventing it from occurring in the first place is of utmost importance.

There may be good news on the horizon because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier (39Trusted Source).

It’s known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and curcumin has beneficial effects on both (40).

In addition, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques (41Trusted Source).

Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people is currently unknown and needs to be studied properly.

SUMMARY

Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.

8. Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplements

Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries.

There are several different types, most of which involve inflammation in the joints.

Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound, it makes sense that it may help with arthritis.

Several studies show this to be true.

In a study in people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug (42Trusted Source).

Many other studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on arthritis and noted improvements in various symptoms (43Trusted Source44Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.

9. Studies Show That Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression

Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression.

In a controlled trial, 60 people with depression were randomized into three groups (45Trusted Source).

One group took Prozac, another group one gram of curcumin and the third group both Prozac and curcumin.

After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to Prozac. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best (45Trusted Source).

According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.

Depression is also linked to reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory.

Curcumin boosts BDNF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes (46).

There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (4748).

SUMMARY

A study in 60 people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in alleviating symptoms of the condition.

10. Curcumin May Help Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases

If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, it would have obvious benefits for longevity.

For this reason, curcumin has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement (49Trusted Source).

But given that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in aging, curcumin may have effects that go way beyond just preventing disease (50Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Due to its many positive health effects, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, curcumin may aid longevity.

The Bottom Line

Turmeric and especially its most active compound curcumin have many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

If you want to buy a turmeric/curcumin supplement, there is an excellent selection on Amazon with thousands of great customer reviews.

It’s recommended to find a product with BioPerine (the trademarked name for piperine), which is the substance that enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000%.

Without this substance, most of the curcumin just passes through your digestive tract.

8 Ways to Incorporate Turmeric Into Your Wellness Routine

Learn how turmeric, one of the most restorative spices, can improve your mental and physical health.

By Mina Dragani (via BE WELL)

Aside from being a spice to add to food dishes, turmeric is something you can incorporate into your wellness routine to boost your energy levels and general quality of life. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that can affect both your mental and physical health. In order to experience all of its notable benefits, it is important to mix turmeric with an activating agent like black pepper or cinnamon. 

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, and what gives the spice its fierce orange color. Its healing qualities help prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Also, turmeric is scientifically-proven to help cases of depression, anxiety, and arthritis. All in all, turmeric can do no wrong. 

Here are eight ways you can incorporate turmeric into your daily regimen.

Turmeric Latte

1611353754801152 turmeric latte

This Kourtney Kardashian-approved drink is like giving your body (and mind) a hug. It is the perfect energy-boosting beverage to start your day and can even quell feelings of anxiety. This is all due to the curcumin agent’s ability to heighten serotonin and dopamine levels. Consider taking a caffeine hiatus with this Turmeric Latte recipe:

Ingredients: 

  • Two cups of almond milk 
  • One teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 
  • two tablespoons of maple syrup

Directions: 

Simply warm the milk to your desired temperature, add ingredients, and enjoy. 

Healing Tumeric Tonic

1611354051970617 fermented turmeric tonic

This turmeric-based beverage can help when you are recovering from a sickness, experiencing aches and pains, or simply in need of an extra pick-me-up. This viral tonic recipe only calls for three central ingredients. It combines turmeric, ginger, and cayenne pepper to create a perfect trifecta of wellness. Here’s how to make a tumeric tonic:

Ingredients: 

  • One tablespoon of turmeric 
  • One tablespoon of grated ginger 
  • A dash of cayenne pepper (or black pepper) 
  • One whole lemon 
  • Three cups of water
  • Optional: two tablespoons of maple syrup for sweetness

Directions:

In a saucepan combine turmeric, ginger, lemon juice, maple syrup (optional), cayenne, and filtered water. Bring to a simmer, strain, and then serve. 

Tumeric Oatmeal

1611354132737177 turmeric oatmeal

Turmeric oatmeal is a tasty way to get your wellness fix. Simply add a teaspoon of turmeric into your favorite oatmeal recipe and indulge in its added health benefits. Starting your morning off with a detoxifying ingredient like turmeric will aid your digestion throughout the day. Garnish with some berries for an antioxidant-packed meal. 

Tumeric Face Mask

1611683756210078 kora turmeric face mask

Outside of being consumed via food and drink, turmeric is similarly excellent for your skin. There are a number of turmeric-based face masks on the market at the moment, like Kora Organics’ Turmeric BHA Brightening Treatment, but a DIY version will also suffice. Turmeric has the ability to give your skin a natural glow due to its rich antioxidants. Additionally, it has strong healing properties that can remedy acne scarring and treat conditions like psoriasis. Have an at-home facial with this DIY face mask recipe: 

Ingredients: 

  • One tablespoon of plain Greek Yogurt
  • One tablespoon of honey 
  • One tablespoon of turmeric 

Directions: 

Mix all ingredients and apply to face for no longer than 15 minutes.

Turmeric Rice

1611354327154657 turmericricerecipe

Turmeric rice is something we tend to enjoy without realizing its evident health benefits. This flavorful rice is popular within Indian cuisine and pairs well with proteins like chicken or tofu. Contrary to its fiery color, turmeric will not add a powerful spice to your food, it has a mild yet delicious taste. Elevate your go-to rice dish by adding two teaspoons of this body-loving ingredient. 

Turmeric Wellness Shots

1611354516016402 ginger turmeric wellness shots

After a long weekend, a turmeric wellness shot might be just what you need to get back on your feet. This simple concoction will give you energy, immunity, and if you’re lucky, absolve you of your weekend mishaps. On top of that, wellness shots can aid digestion and improve blood circulation. Here’s a recipe to try out for yourself:

Ingredients: 

  • One orange 
  • Two lemons 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh turmeric
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/8 tsp fresh black pepper
  • A dash of cayenne pepper

Directions: 

Use a blender or juicer to mix ingredients into a liquid consistency. Then strain through with a nut milk bag or mesh strainer. Divide into glasses and enjoy! 

Tumeric Supplements

1611354648076176 turmeric supplements

Daily supplements are the easiest way to incorporate turmeric into your daily life. People who have taken turmeric supplements have seen noticeable changes in their mental and physical health. Turmeric does wonders for your mind as it focuses on supporting the happy chemicals in your brain. Select a reputable brand, and see if you notice any differences. 

Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Tea (Golden Milk)

1611354909812313 turmeric golden milk recipe image

Golden Milk Tea is one of turmeric’s most common uses. This Instagram-worthy beverage can assist in lowering cholesterol levels, quell excessive bloating, and remedy chronic headaches. Another surprising benefit of Golden Milk is that it contains no caffeine, meaning you can enjoy a cup at any time of the day without experiencing jittery side effects. There are many renditions of the Golden Milk recipe, but it is important to begin your preparations with a turmeric and black pepper paste. Get L’OFFICIEL’s recipe for the healthy beverage here.

Turmeric For The Skin: 6 Benefits, DIY, Cautions & More

By Alexandra Engler (via MindBodyGreen)

There are certain ingredients that pass the test of time because they really provide the benefits that come attached to their mystic. Then there are the ingredients that span multiple categories—showing up in medicine, beauty, food, and so on—because they function as an impressive multitasker. Turmeric happens to be both. 

The golden spice is beloved in ayurvedic tradition, and since many other cultures have picked up on its benefits. This is even true of modern-day well-being, which puts turmeric on a much-deserved pedestal. 

It’s also, we might add, a much wowed-about skin care ingredient. So if you see it pop up on the ingredient list of your favorite face mask—or are curious about trying it as a DIY active—read up on the laundry list of benefits, below. 

What is turmeric?

This yellow ayurvedic ingredient holds an esteemed place in well-being and skin care circles alike. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory herb made from the root of Curcuma zedoaria (a cousin to ginger) that’s been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments and is native to Southeast Asia. The primary active in the herb is curcumin. Traditionally (and in modern iterations, too), it has been used as an ingredient in meals (it’s what gives curry powder its hue), as a healing tonic or supplement, and even formulated into ancient skin elixirs for beautifying rituals.

“In India turmeric is used heavily in cooking, beauty, and herbal remedies because it is really thought to be a hugely beneficial root. The two benefits I hear the most are brightening and reducing inflammation,” says ayurvedic beauty expert Michelle Ranavat, founder of Ranavat Botanics.

What’s great about the ingredient is experts, research, and anecdotal evidence all agree: It’s a multitasking wonder. “From joint pain, acne, to even hormone imbalances, curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory that packs a punch,” says Taz Bhatia, M.D., integrative medicine physician and mbg Collective member.

6 science-backed benefits of turmeric for the skin.

On that latter point: Why does turmeric make an appearance in so many skin care items for so long? Well, it has pretty impressive skin-benefiting qualities. We should note that because turmeric’s power is thanks to the curcumin, much of the research is geared around that—but can be applied to turmeric as well. 

  1. Anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the root of many skin woes, like eczema, rosacea, acne, and premature lines and wrinkles. See, inflammation does a number on your skin, including breaking down collagen, triggering breakouts, and spurring chronic conditions. So to keep skin feeling supple and bright, it’s vital to keep inflammation down. One way to do this is through anti-inflammatory topicals, such as turmeric. Turmeric inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory genes, blocking the inflammatory response pathway. Turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties offer a protective benefit.
  2. Antioxidant. Free radicals are a naturally occurring part of your body; however, they can become problematic fast. These unstable molecules harm healthy ones in the body, and when they become rampant it leads to oxidative stress (something your skin absolutely does not want). Turmeric has been shown to increase the body’s natural antioxidant capacity, boosting your defense system against free-radical damage.
  3. Antimicrobial. The ingredient also has an impressive ability to balance good bacteria and bad bacteria on the skin, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. While this can help skin health generally, specifically it’s beneficial for dealing with acne, as one of the components of breakouts is an overabundance of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. 
  4. Soothes skin conditions. Thanks to all of the above characteristics, turmeric has been shown in preliminary research to treat specific skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Researchers in these studies note that more work is needed to see the actual application method for efficacy—and whether it should be combined with other treatments and modalities—but it’s a promising start. 
  5. Aids in wound healing. Wound healing is an underrated benefit of many botanicals, including turmeric. Your body’s ability to heal itself is paramount to skin health, and unfortunately, this declines with age. Curcumin has been shown to aid this process by reducing inflammation and neutralizing oxidation, which allows the skin to repair itself faster with less residual damage. 
  6. Brightens. Perhaps the most commercially marketed benefit of turmeric is that it can help brighten tone and relieve dark spotsthanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “This combination is hugely important because often, certain kinds of hyperpigmentation occur due to past inflammation. Using an ingredient like turmeric breaks the cycle,” says Ranavat.

How to use turmeric for the skin at home.

There are many impressive ways to use the active in your skin care routine. But before we dive in, a quick debrief on the type of turmeric used in topicals (or things you put on your skin) rather than the type of turmeric you ingest. Food-grade turmeric is the type you’ll find in little spice jars at any standard grocery store, and that’s the type you’ll use for food or drink. This type, however, causes stains easily. This is why many people who regularly use turmeric as a topical ingredient use something called kasturi turmeric, which does not come with coloring issues—this type, however, you cannot eat and tends to be harder to find. 

The conclusion? Just be mindful of the type you’re using and how you’re using it. 

1. Golden milk 

You can improve your skin from the inside out with this much-beloved marigold-hued tonic. In its most basic iteration, golden milk is a hot or cold beverage that’s made by combining either turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root with the milk of your choosing (almond, coconut, cashew, etc.). Often, several more flavor-boosting ingredients are added to the recipe such as black pepperginger, cinnamon, and honey. The milk has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe skin internally, neutralize free radicals, and fight signs of premature aging. In fact, board-certified family medicine physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., says she drinks a family recipe regularly: “There is definitely truth and power in turmeric,” she notes. 

2. DIY mask

Two-ingredient turmeric face masks are oh-so-easy to whip together. We recommend using a base of yogurt: “Mixing turmeric with yogurt as a base gives a nice texture to spread on your face as a mask,” says Marisa Plescia, research scientist at clean beauty e-tailer NakedPoppy. “Plus, yogurt is full of probiotics that could help balance the skin’s microbiome.” Then mix in ⅛ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric. Apply an even layer to the skin, leave on for 10 to 20 minutes, then remove with warm water. Always remember to seal in the moisture with a cream or oil so you don’t dry your skin out further. 

3. Spot treatment

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it may help calm breakouts—especially the angry, red kind. The best part is that making yourself a little spot treatment is easy and fairly customizable. You can choose from a base of yogurt (the good bacteria can help your body deal with the bad bacteria that’s causing the breakouts), aloe (which has soothing properties, too, as well as hydrating ones as not to cause dry scabs post-zit), or apple cider vinegar (a popular acne-fighter in its own right, thanks to the natural alpha-hydroxy acids). To make it, simply add a dash of the powder to your selected base, blend, and apply to affected areas. Leave it on for about 15 minutes, rinse, and continue with your standard face routine. 

Products

Of course, you can simply buy products with the golden active in it. Here, our favorites.

<img src="https://mindbodygreen-res.cloudinary.com/images/w_767,q_auto:eco,f_auto,fl_lossy/org/f267iosewkjxf4q14/ranavat-botanicals-face-serum.png&quot; alt="ranavat botanicals face serum" title="<p>Ranavat Botanicals Radiant Rani Brightening Saffron Serum

Ranavat Botanicals Radiant Rani Brightening Saffron Serum 

$135 BUY NOW

<img src="https://mindbodygreen-res.cloudinary.com/images/w_767,q_auto:eco,f_auto,fl_lossy/org/qhxa44rgfkjxf6fkd/the-inky-list-tumeric.png&quot; alt="the inky list tumeric " title="<p>The INKEY List Turmeric Brightening Moisturizer

The INKEY List Turmeric Brightening Moisturizer

$12.99 BUY NOW

<img src="https://mindbodygreen-res.cloudinary.com/images/w_767,q_auto:eco,f_auto,fl_lossy/org/rola99c3vkjxf80c3/uma-oil-mask.png&quot; alt="uma oil mask" title="<p>UMA Absolute Anti Aging Face Mask

UMA Absolute Anti Aging Face Mask

$70 BUY NOW

<img src="https://mindbodygreen-res.cloudinary.com/images/w_767,q_auto:eco,f_auto,fl_lossy/org/1lhwfdutwkjxf9dmr/gleamin-face-mask.png&quot; alt="gleamin face mask" title="<p>Gleamin Vitamin C Clay Mask

Gleamin Vitamin C Clay Mask

$39.99 BUY NOW

Cautions 

As always with any new product or DIY experiment, do a patch test before slathering on; just because you can consume the spice doesn’t mean your skin will tolerate it the same way. Sometimes people can have unexpected reactions to the topical treatment, especially if you have sensitive skin

Finally, we’d be remiss not to discuss traditional turmeric’s bright orange hue, which makes for a beautiful mask, sure, but turmeric is also notorious for staining (your clothes and your skin, it turns out). To avoid tinging your face orange, use just a small amount of the spice in your DIY adventures. Or, you can find the aforementioned kasturi turmeric and avoid this problem altogether. 

And the worst-case scenario: The staining is only temporary. So don’t freak! “Curcumin, the main component of turmeric, is oil-soluble,” says Plescia. So a gentle oil cleanser should be able to remove the pigment, even if it does take a couple of times for it to totally clear. Even if you leave the stain alone completely, the sebum in your skin will lift off the pigment eventually. 

As for ingesting the spice, if you take too much curcumin, it can cause bleeding and bruising, says Yufang Lin, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic. So stick to the typical dosing, which is usually around 500 milligrams max per day. “Allergic reaction and intolerance—such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and reflux—are possible,” Lin adds, but this is extremely rare. 

The takeaway. 

There’s a reason this ingredient has stuck around—and keeps on popping up, for that matter: It’s a soothing, anti-inflammatory miracle addition to any skin care routine.

12 Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba (Plus Side Effects & Dosage)

Written by Ansley Hill, RD, LD (via HealthLine)

Ginkgo biloba, or maidenhair, is a tree native to China that has been grown for thousands of years for a variety of uses.

Because it’s the only surviving member of an ancient order of plants, it’s sometimes referred to as a living fossil.

While its leaves and seeds are often used in traditional Chinese medicine, modern research primarily focuses on ginkgo extract, which is made from the leaves.

Ginkgo supplements are associated with several health claims and uses, most of which focus on brain function and blood circulation.

Here are 12 benefits of ginkgo biloba.

1. Contains Powerful Antioxidants

Ginkgo’s antioxidant content may be the reason behind many of its health claims (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

Ginkgo contains high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids, which are compounds known for their strong antioxidant effects (34Trusted Source).

Antioxidants combat or neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals.

Free radicals are highly reactive particles that are produced in the body during normal metabolic functions, such as converting food to energy or detoxification.

Yet, they also have the potential to damage healthy tissues, contributing to accelerated aging and disease development.

Research on ginkgo’s antioxidant effects is promising. However, it remains unclear exactly how it works and how effective it may be at treating specific diseases.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo contains potent antioxidants, which fight the damaging effects of free radicals and may be behind most of its health claims.

2. Can Help Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to injury or invasion by a foreign substance.

In the inflammatory response, various components of the immune system are recruited to fight against the foreign invader or heal the injured area.

Some chronic diseases trigger an inflammatory response even when there is no illness or injury present. Over time, this excessive inflammation can cause permanent damage to the body’s tissues and DNA.

Years of animal and test-tube research shows that ginkgo extract can reduce markers of inflammation in both human and animal cells in a variety of disease states (2Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source).

Some specific conditions in which ginkgo extract has shown to reduce inflammation include:

  • Arthritis
  • Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

While this data is encouraging, human studies are needed before drawing concrete conclusions about ginkgo’s role in treating these complex diseases.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo has the ability to reduce inflammation caused by various conditions. This may be one of the reasons it has such broad health applications.

3. Improves Circulation and Heart Health

In traditional Chinese medicine, ginkgo seeds were used to open “channels” of energy to different organ systems, including the kidneys, liver, brain and lungs.

Ginkgo’s apparent ability to increase blood flow to various parts of the body may be the origin of many of its supposed benefits.

One study in people with heart disease who supplemented with ginkgo revealed an immediate increase in blood flow to multiple parts of the body. This was attributed to a 12% increase in levels of circulating nitric oxide, a compound responsible for dilating blood vessels (7Trusted Source).

Similarly, another study showed the same effect in older adults who were treated with ginkgo extract (8Trusted Source).

Additional research also points to ginkgo’s protective effects on heart health, brain health and stroke prevention. There are multiple potential explanations for this, one of which may be the anti-inflammatory compounds present in the plant (9Trusted Source10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).

More research is needed to fully understand how ginkgo affects circulation and heart and brain health.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo can increase blood flow by promoting the dilation of blood vessels. This may have applications for the treatment of diseases related to poor circulation.

4. Reduces Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders and Dementia

Ginkgo has been repeatedly evaluated for its ability to reduce anxiety, stress and other symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline associated with aging.

Overall, research results are inconsistent in this area.

Some studies show a marked reduction in the rate of cognitive decline in people with dementia using ginkgo, but others fail to replicate this result.

A review of 21 studies revealed that when used in conjunction with conventional medicine, ginkgo extract may increase functional capabilities in those with mild Alzheimer’s (12Trusted Source).

Another review evaluated four studies and found a significant reduction in a spectrum of symptoms associated with dementia when ginkgo was used for 22–24 weeks (13Trusted Source).

These positive results could be related to the role that ginkgo may play in improving blood flow to the brain, especially as it relates to vascular types of dementia.

Overall, it’s too soon to definitively state or refute ginkgo’s role in treating dementia, but recent research is beginning to make this piece clearer.

SUMMARY

It cannot be concluded that ginkgo treats Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but it might help in some cases. The chances of it helping seem to increase when used alongside conventional treatment.

5. Improves Brain Function and Well-Being

There is some speculation that ginkgo may enhance brain function in healthy individuals.

A handful of small studies support the notion that supplementing with ginkgo may increase mental performance and perceived well-being (14Trusted Source15Trusted Source).

Results from studies like these have given rise to claims linking ginkgo to improved memory, focus and attention span.

However, a large review of research on this relationship concluded that supplementing with ginkgo did not result in any measurable improvements in memory, executive function or attention capacity (16).

While supplementing with ginkgo may improve mental capability, there are no guarantees.

SUMMARY

Some research shows that ginkgo may improve mental performance in healthy people, but the data is inconsistent.

6. Can Reduce Anxiety

Some research indicates that supplementing with ginkgo may reduce symptoms of anxiety.

A handful of animal studies have observed reductions in anxiety symptoms that may be attributed to the antioxidant content of ginkgo (17Trusted Source18Trusted Source).

In one study, 170 people with generalized anxiety were treated with either 240 mg or 480 mg of ginkgo or a placebo. The group treated with the highest dose of ginkgo reported a 45% greater reduction in symptoms of anxiety, compared to the placebo group (19Trusted Source).

While supplementing with ginkgo may reduce anxiety, it’s still too early to draw any definitive conclusions from the available research.

SUMMARY

Some research shows that ginkgo may help treat anxiety, though this is likely due to its antioxidant content.

7. Can Treat Depression

A review of animal studies suggests that supplementing with ginkgo may help treat symptoms of depression (18Trusted Source).

Mice who received ginkgo before an unavoidable stressful situation were less emotionally affected by the stress than the group that did not receive the supplement.

The study indicated that this effect was related to ginkgo’s anti-inflammatory properties, which improve the body’s ability to cope when stress hormone levels are high.

Nonetheless, depression is a complex condition that may have a variety of root causes.

More research is needed to better understand the relationship between ginkgo and how it may affect depression in humans.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo’s anti-inflammatory effects give it the potential to treat depression. More research is needed.

8. Can Support Vision and Eye Health

Very little research has investigated how ginkgo relates to vision and eye health. However, early results are promising.

One review showed that people with glaucoma who supplemented with ginkgo experienced increased blood flow to the eye, but this didn’t necessarily translate to better vision (20Trusted Source).

Another review of two studies evaluated the effect of ginkgo extract on the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Some participants reported an improvement in vision, but this wasn’t statistically significant across the board (21Trusted Source).

Many of these positive results seem to be related to increased blood flow to the eye.

It’s unclear if ginkgo would improve vision in those who don’t already suffer from vision impairment.

More research is needed to determine whether ginkgo can increase vision capacity or slow the progression of degenerative eye disease.

SUMMARY

Some early research shows that supplementing with ginkgo may increase blood flow to the eyes but not necessarily improve vision. More research is needed.

9. Can Treat Headaches and Migraines

In traditional Chinese medicine, ginkgo is a very popular treatment for headaches and migraines (22Trusted Source).

Very little research is available on ginkgo’s ability to treat headaches. However, depending on the root cause of the headache, it may help.

For example, it’s well known that ginkgo has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. If a headache or migraine is caused by excessive stress, ginkgo may be useful.

Additionally, if a headache is related to reduced blood flow or constricted blood vessels, ginkgo’s ability to dilate blood vessels may improve symptoms.

On the contrary, some migraines are caused by the excessive dilation of blood vessels. In this situation, ginkgo may have little to no effect.

But these examples are just inferences and don’t substitute hard evidence.

If you want to try ginkgo for your migraines, it’s unlikely that it will cause much harm. Just be aware that it may not necessarily help.

SUMMARY

Because of its ability to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, ginkgo may be an effective treatment for some types of headaches.

10. Can Improve Asthma and COPD Symptoms

Some research indicates that ginkgo may improve symptoms of asthma and other inflammatory respiratory diseases like COPD.

This is attributed to the anti-inflammatory compounds in ginkgo, which may allow for reduced inflammation of the airways and increased lung capacity (23Trusted Source).

One study in 75 people evaluated the use of ginkgo extract alongside glucocorticosteroid medication therapy for managing asthma symptoms (24Trusted Source).

The levels of inflammatory compounds in the saliva of those who received ginkgo were significantly lower than those who received traditional medication alone.

Another study in 100 people evaluated the use of a mixture of Chinese herbs, which included ginkgo, for treating COPD symptoms.

Those who used the herbal formula reported a considerable reduction in cough and bronchitis at a three-month follow-up, compared to the control group (25Trusted Source).

At this point, it cannot be determined if this improvement can be attributed to ginkgo alone, or if it was a synergistic effect of the other herbs used in the treatment group formula.

While these results are encouraging, more research on this specific application of ginkgo is needed.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo may treat symptoms associated with respiratory diseases because of its anti-inflammatory effects. More research is needed.

11. Reduces PMS Symptoms

Preliminary research indicates that ginkgo may help treat both the physical and psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

One study in 85 college students revealed a 23% reduction in reported PMS symptoms when consuming ginkgo (26Trusted Source).

Interestingly, the placebo group in this study also experienced a slight reduction in PMS symptoms, though it was much lower at 8.8%.

Further research is needed to better understand the cause and effect relationship between ginkgo and PMS symptoms.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo may help reduce PMS symptoms, but more research is needed.

12. Treats Sexual Dysfunction

Some sources indicate that ginkgo may treat sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction or low libido.

Ginkgo has the ability to improve blood levels of nitric oxide, which improves circulation via the dilation of blood vessels (7Trusted Source).

As a result, ginkgo may also be useful for treating various symptoms of sexual dysfunction by improving blood flow to those areas of the body.

Some research has investigated using ginkgo to treat sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs). Results indicated that ginkgo wasn’t any more effective than a placebo in these cases.

Additionally, there may be an interaction between ginkgo and SSRI medications, which could render them less effective.

One study evaluated the use of ginkgo to increase sexual desire and contentment in women who were concurrently undergoing sexual psychotherapy (27Trusted Source).

The combination of ginkgo and therapy were effective over a longer term compared to a placebo, but supplementing with ginkgo alone was not.

The rationale for using ginkgo to treat sexual dysfunction makes sense, but research does not support it at this time.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo may improve symptoms of sexual dysfunction due to its impact on blood flow. However, research has not proven it to be effective.

Potential Side Effects

It’s important to talk to your doctor before including ginkgo in your routine.

For most adults, the risk associated with taking ginkgo is relatively low, but there are cases in which ginkgo could cause serious harm.

If you are allergic to plants that contain alkylphenols or taking certain medications, you should not take ginkgo.

Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash/allergic reaction

Ginkgo has the potential to interact unfavorably with certain medications. Some interactions could increase the risk of bleeding.

Possible adverse medication interactions include:

  • Blood thinners (Warfarin, aspirin)
  • SSRIs/MAOIs/antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft)
  • NSAIDS (ibuprofen, Tylenol)

SUMMARY

As with any supplement, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking ginkgo biloba and stop use if you develop any negative side effects or adverse medication interactions.

Dosage and Supplement Forms

Ginkgo biloba is commercially available in the following forms:

  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Liquid extracts
  • Dried leaves/tea

Most of the current research reflects results used with purified ginkgo extract. Do not eat raw ginkgo seeds, as they are poisonous.

One of the limitations of the studies on ginkgo is that they did not use standardized dosing.

However, the bulk of the evidence seems to support the safety of taking 120–240 mg divided into several doses throughout the day.

There is no clearly defined maximum dosage, but it’s wise to start with a lower dose and work your way up to ensure tolerance.

Most research has not evaluated doses greater than 600 mg per day, so it’s probably not a good idea to exceed this amount.

Remember, it can take up to six weeks before you begin to notice any effects.

SUMMARY

Ginkgo comes in various forms and seems to be most effective when taken in several doses throughout the day that total 120–240 mg.

The Bottom Line

Ginkgo biloba has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities and an ability to improve circulation.

Together, these characteristics have the potential to affect numerous body systems and diseases, although the science behind it still has some catching up to do.

While ginkgo has been used for centuries, it’s not completely understood how it works. Much of the available research is inconsistent or inconclusive, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

As with any herbal supplement, there are risks involved. Ginkgo could lead to serious health complications if you are allergic or taking certain medications.

If you’re thinking of including ginkgo in your regimen, be sure to consult your doctor first.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORINGALLY PUBLISHED ON HEALTHLINE