I’m confused about curcumin and turmeric. Aren’t they basically the same thing? Or is one better?
Your confusion is understandable! The answer is that curcumin and turmeric have some of the same benefits…as well as their own unique ones. What’s common to both are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice commonly used for flavoring, especially in curries and Middle Eastern dishes. Sometimes called “Indian saffron,” turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, a relative of the ginger family. Turmeric also is used as a traditional treatment in Indian and Chinese Traditional Medicine for a range of conditions, including arthritis, laryngitis, bronchitis and diabetes. Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric. It is one of the family of antioxidants called curcuminoids and is the component of turmeric that has been most extensively studied. In fact, research finds that curcumin can reduce ulcerative colitis flare-ups and postsurgery pain…help with anxiety and depression…help prevent type 2 diabetes…and may be a preventive for several types of cancer, including cancers of the prostate, breast, skin and colon. Turmeric has been less well-studied. Nevertheless, research finds that it prevents heart attacks after bypass surgery…reduces skin irritation after radiation treatments…helps control cholesterol…helps reduce obesity…fights fungal infection…and reduces gall bladder disease. Other research finds that turmeric (and curcumin) reduce the joint pain, swelling and inflammation of arthritis. So to answer which you should take—turmeric or curcumin—to get the most benefit, you should take both.