Turmeric may hold the key to treating indigestion as effectively as pharmaceutical drugs, a groundbreaking new study has revealed.
About the spice: Derived from the Curcuma longa plant native to Southeast Asia, turmeric has been used to treat various ailments for centuries. Its active compound curcumin has long been hailed for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Despite its historical use in India’s Ayurvedic traditional medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, no comparative studies with mainstream medications have been conducted until now.
About the study: The research, published by Thai scientists in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, is the first of its kind to shed light on the potential therapeutic benefits of the culinary spice. The researchers looked into the cases of 206 patients aged 18-70 with recurrent indigestion from Thai hospitals between 2019 and 2021.
The participants were divided into three groups: one receiving turmeric (in the form of two 250mg capsules of curcumin taken four times a day), one taking omeprazole (a proton pump inhibitor used for indigestion treatment) and a third group receiving both turmeric and omeprazole.
Promising findings: After 28 and 56 days of treatment, patients in all three groups reported similar improvements in their symptoms. While no serious side effects were reported, some overweight patients taking turmeric showed signs of liver function deterioration. The researchers concluded that this trial “provides highly reliable evidence for the treatment of functional dyspepsia,” highlighting the possibility of incorporating turmeric into clinical practice.
The road ahead: The study’s authors acknowledge the study’s limitations, including its relatively small scale and the absence of long-term monitoring data. They note that larger and more extended studies are required to provide a more comprehensive understanding of turmeric’s potential benefits.