There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the difference between turmeric and curcumin. As a matter of fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably, which is actually incorrect. So what is the difference between curcumin vs. turmeric?  We’ll break it down for you below.

Curcumin explained

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, and is also found in limited amounts in ginger. It is an anti-inflammatory molecule with anti-cancer properties, according to several noted studies.  Curcumin has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, as it is nontoxic and has a variety of therapeutic properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic functions.  Curcumin is a chemical contained within turmeric.  It belongs to a family of chemicals known as curcuminoids, which are compounds that have a bright orange-yellow hue.  As a matter of fact, the color of turmeric is due to the high levels of curcumin. Numerous clinical trials have been conducted on the use of curcumin in various disorders such as neurological, cardiovascular, metabolic, autoimmune and psychological conditions. Curcumin is used as a supplement in several countries, including India, Japan, the US, Thailand, China, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Nepal and Pakistan. We extract curcumin from turmeric to use as a natural medicine.

Turmeric defined

Turmeric is essentially a root. It belongs to the ginger family. Ginger and turmeric belong to the Zingiberaceae family and both of them are rhizomes. Rhizome is the stem that gets modified as the root.​ Turmeric is originally from India. China, India and many other parts of South East Asia grow and use Turmeric. It is a perennial herb that is native to India and has the scientific name of Curcuma longa.  It’s used as a spice, a dye, and as a medicine in many cultures, especially in Ayurvedic medicine. It can be taken in many forms from capsules and liquids. It can be grated directly from the root and is often made into teas and kombucha.

Should I take a curcumin supplement or a turmeric supplement?

Keeping in mind that curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. However, many natural health professionals like Dr. Andrew Weil, recommend turmeric over curcumin for his patients. Dr. Weil says, “I frequently recommend turmeric supplements, and I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendinitis, and autoimmune conditions.” Turmeric has a wealth of compounds that have unique as well as similar pharmacological properties as curcumin.

Pay attention to the source of your turmeric supplement

As you can imagine, not all turmeric supplements are the same. To ensure you’re getting a high quality product, choose one that is USDA Certified. Research the product and see if there are any 3rd party tests confirming the product purity and effectiveness.  Confirm that the product manufacturing utilizes Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), conforming to the highest standards to ensure safe and effective quality control and consistency, and is tested frequently for optimum potency. And of course, ask your doctor about any specific health concerns you may have before trying turmeric.

Still have questions about curcumin vs. turmeric?  Contact us! We’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have about turmeric, curcumin or our turmeric extract.