Can Turmeric Aid in Addiction Recovery? Does It Provide Other Benefits?


Turmeric is a plant native to India. A member of the ginger family (Latin name Curcuma longa), we’re more familiar with the deep yellow rhizome than one might first realize, considering that it’s long been added to mustard to give it that telltale golden hue. Today it’s become a highly popular flavoring and herbal supplement, though it’s long been used in ancient Eastern medicine.

Turmeric is also known as Indian Saffron, Curcuma, Yu-Jin, Nisha, and more. Turmeric is most commonly known for its pleasant peppery flavor. However, it has numerous other health benefits.

Traditional Chinese healers use it to treat ailments like flatulence problems, colic, toothache, and chest pain. Moreover, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, which make it helpful for drug or alcohol addiction treatment. However, you should know that turmeric is considered an alternative medicine because it is yet to get Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval (just like many other supplements).

Can Turmeric Aid in Addiction Recovery?

Turmeric can be used as a supplement to help with addiction recovery. The FDA hasn’t approved it for medical purposes. However, various research shows an increased chance of addictive behavior if your brain portrays inflammatory signs.

Research from the University of Colorado Boulder concludes that it is better to understand the role of inflammation in treating substance use disorder. It recommends that addiction treatment focuses on brain chemicals, inflammation, and your body’s immune system.

Hungary’s Institute of Experimental Medicine also researched the link between inflammation and addictive behavior. Lead researcher Krisztina J. Kovacs suggests that an addict’s diet has inflammatory triggers. If you eliminate these triggers, you will remove inflammatory pathways in the brain and better recover from drug or alcohol dependence.

What Is the Role of Turmeric in Addiction Recovery?

Turmeric has a chemical known as curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. The chemical helps you to produce more anti-inflammatory compounds like cortisol naturally. Thus, if you include turmeric in your diet, it will reduce neuroinflammation and help reduce addictive behavior development.

Furthermore, turmeric helps ease alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms because it is a natural detoxifier, digestive aid, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory ingredient. Research shows that turmeric has a direct role in preventing acute opioid dependence and tolerance.

Does Turmeric Provide Other Benefits?

Yes, turmeric has numerous other benefits. Research shows that it is possibly useful for:

  • Osteoarthritis: Turmeric helps to reduce pain and improve the function of people with osteoarthritis. Some research shows that turmeric is as good as ibuprofen when relieving pain among people with arthritis. However, there are better medications for treating osteoarthritis like diclofenac.
  • Depression: There is minimal research on the role of turmeric in depression treatment. However, the little available research shows that it can reduce depression symptoms for people with another antidepressant prescription.
  • Cancer: Turmeric exhibits suppressive activity against the growth of tumors in the skin, colon, duodenal, gall bladder, and forestomach. Moreover, it also radiosensitizes cancer cells.
  • High body cholesterol: Turmeric helps to lower the level of triglycerides, but there are conflicting results on how turmeric affects cholesterol levels. Furthermore, there are many turmeric products, and it is hard to know which has the best results.
  • Hay fever: Turmeric contains curcumin, which shows the potential to reduce symptoms of hay fever, including congestion, runny nose, itching, and sneezing.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Turmeric has shown the potential to reduce liver injury markers among individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • The average decline in thinking and memory skills: Some research suggests curcumin improves the attention and memory of individuals undergoing mental decline. However, some research shows that individuals without cognitive decline do not benefit from turmeric.
  • Asthma: Turmeric’s use alongside a primary asthma treatment could reduce the need for rescue inhalers.

What Is the Appropriate Dosage and Precautions for Turmeric?

There are many forms of turmeric available for adults only. You can take it as a fluid extract, capsule, or tincture. It would be best to take a standard dose of curcumin powder measuring 400mg or 600mg three times a day.

The recommended dosage for the fluid extract is 30 to 90 drops in a day. You should take 1.5 to 3g per day of turmeric in cut root form. Moreover, you can add bromelain to enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric.

When Should You Be Wary of Turmeric?

Turmeric is a common natural spice without any significant side effects. However, you should consult your physician before you take a turmeric supplement if you have:

  • Liver disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Acute bilious colic
  • Painful gallstones
  • Obstructive jaundice

Furthermore, turmeric slows down blood clotting. Thus, anyone with an upcoming surgery should avoid turmeric at least two weeks before the surgery. Doctors usually advise pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid all herbal supplements, including turmeric.

Turmeric is a spice that contains a chemical known as curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties. Neuroinflammation is one of the factors that cause alcohol and drug addiction. Turmeric can help treat addiction as an alternative education because of its anti-inflammatory properties.