CNN — A good treatment option for indigestion may already be in your spice rack, according to a new study.
The study, published Monday in the medical journal BMJ, compared how more than 150 people with dyspepsia, or indigestion, responded to either the drug omeprazole, turmeric — which contains the compound curcumin — or a combination of the two.
Turmeric has been used by people in Southeast Asia to treat stomach discomfort and other inflammatory conditions, Pongpirul said. Its medicinal use dates back hundreds of years, according to the National Library of Medicine.
In the United States, its primary medicinal use has been as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant dietary supplement to relieve osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome, he added.
But this is the first clinical trial that directly compares curcumin/turmeric to omeprazole in treating dyspepsia, Pongpoirul said.
Questions about tumeric’s impact
It makes sense that research would investigate turmeric’s impact on indigestion, because its compound curcumin has been studied in a wide variety of inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis, said Dr. Yuying Luo, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of gastroenterology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Some studies have shown that curcumin was helpful in conjunction with other medications, she added.
Should you start taking tumeric?
Should you up the turmeric in your diet for better digestion? Talk to your doctor first, Luo said.
There have been a few case studies of curcumin and liver injury, and it is important to make sure turmeric doesn’t interact poorly with any of the other medications you are on, she added.
“Consumers should be aware of side effects of curcumin extracts such as allergy and bleeding risk, especially for those who take anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications,” Pongpuri said.
How to spice up your pantry the Mediterranean way
That said, curcumin and turmeric is “generally considered safe when consumed in the amounts typically found in food,” he added …