Turmeric Versus Curcumin
For more than 2500 years turmeric has been used by cultures in both the area of India and China as a spice and as a medicine. Turmeric is harvested from the root of an herb that goes by many names, but has the scientific name of Curcuma longa. The root is dried and formed into a powder that is used as a spice in curry as well as other dishes. Its yellow color has also been found useful as a dye in many cultures. However, the greatest benefit in history has been medicinal. Physicians throughout history have recognized its power to aid in healing a variety of ailments.
Today scientific research as been able to confirm the value of this herbal root and understand that its medical properties are directly related to the effect it has in reducing inflammation.
Science has also begun to understand that the active ingredient that produces the anti-inflammatory effect comes from curcuminoids. There are several types of curcuminoids found in turmeric and together they are referred to as curcumin. Although the words curcuminoids and curcumin are often used synonymously, technically the word curcumin refers to all curcuminoids. When you purchase a curcumin supplement, there are usually more than one curcuminoid present.
It is important to understand the difference between curcumin and turmeric when you have decided on using one as a supplement. Turmeric supplements are essentially the spice itself. It is usually sold in tablet form, but is no different the using the spice yourself. What you want to have is the active ingredient of curcumin for your diet. Turmeric only contains at best six percent and as low as two percent curcumin. This percentage of curcumin is not enough to get a strong enough dose to make a significant difference in your health,.
Curcumin from turmeric does not absorbed well into your body and it takes more turmeric than is practical to ingest to get a strong benefit. This is the reason curcuminoids have been extracted from turmeric, so you can get a stronger, concentrated dose of this valuable chemical compound. All of the research that has been done, showing the value in turmeric, points specifically to the effect of curcumin itself and not the turmeric. You can use turmeric as a spice and enjoy it for its flavor, but for health related use, you are much better off using the curcumin extract than turmeric,.
There are turmeric extracts available on the market that are essentially curcuminoids, but you have to be careful. There are turmeric supplements that are available that are essentially turmeric and there are the extracts that are curcuminoids. It is the turmeric extracts that contain approximately 95 percent curcuminoids that are considered to be a curcuminoid supplements.
There is also significant differences between turmeric extracts on the market. There are curcuminoid supplements that have been formulated to help increase absorption into your body, and these are the better extracts to use for a dietary supplement.
Recent advances in science have allowed for this amazing compound to be properly absorbed into the body and delivered to the proper location. This technology is called Phytosome Technology and you can now find it utilized in optimized Curcumin products.
 Shishodia, S., et al. "Curcumin: Getting Back to the Roots," Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci.: 1056, 206-217, 2005.
 Kotwal, G.J., et al. Natural Products and Molecular Therapy, First International Conference. New York, NY: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1056, 2005.