Health & Spirit

The truth about turmeric

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

When 13th-century explorer Marco Polo visited China, he was captivated by the culture's use of the bright-yellow root vegetable turmeric, which he described as having "the properties of saffron, yet it is not really saffron."

It was another 600 years until the hard-to-describe flavor of turmeric (musty, pungent, bitter, gingery, aromatic, orangey) became popular in the U.S. These days, Instagram-fueled fans advocate the spicy root and its active ingredient curcumin for everything from teas, smoothies and curries to cures for joint pain, gastrointestinal woes and cancer.

The recipes -- they're flavor-licious! Add turmeric to your applesauce and oatmeal; sprinkle it in salad dressings; stir it into soups or stews. Check out Sanjay Gupta's calming, creamy tea recipe at!

Modern research is preliminary -- more research is needed -- and most positive studies have been done in the lab. If you do try supplements, the Cleveland Clinic says: "Check the label for a product manufactured using phytosome technology. Combining phosphatidylcholine with curcumin results in a 29-times improved absorption rate over standard curcumin extracts." They also suggest building up slowly to a dose of 500 mg of turmeric -- after you ask your doc if there are any contraindications with medications you take for your health. In addition, advises, for supplements or cooking, that you grind or grate turmeric root yourself or look for bright yellow/orange powder. That's the best way to avoid contamination with lead, which has been found in many imported brands.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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