Should We Stop Touting Turmeric So Much?

If you sprinkle in some magical golden turmeric, it must be automatically healthy, right?

New research published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry says maybe not. As reported on by Nature, turmeric contains curcumin, a molecule that gets a lot of play for its medicinal properties, but also gives “false signals in drug screening tests.”

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While this isn’t totally new information, scientists have now published a very comprehensive look at exactly how the molecule acts. The results: There’s no evidence it has therapeutic properties. What’s more, the body doesn’t easily absorb the key compound, so even if it had some benefits, you most likely aren’t getting them. “Curcumin is a cautionary tale,” said Michael Walters, a medicinal chemist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and lead author of the review.

Celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson says she agrees with some of the research, but there’s more to the story. “Turmeric contains many chemical compounds beyond curcumin. Due to differences in manufacturing technologies, research results will vary, and thus, will be skewed.”