Curcuma intolerance: questions and answers

Curcuma Unverträglichkeit: Fragen und Antworten

Although turmeric has many beneficial effects on the human body and is proven to be effective in preventing disease, some people find themselves turmeric intolerance. It can be either congenital or acquired and manifests itself in unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, etc. What should you do in this case and how can such an intolerance be treated?

In this article, we would like to summarize the most important information on the subject of turmeric intolerance and give you a few tips on what you can do best if you suffer from intolerance.

the essentials in brief

  • Turmeric is a natural spice from the ginger family. It is used not only as a food but also as a medicine.
  • Turmeric intolerance can be diagnosed by a doctor and cannot be completely cured. But it can be treated permanently.
  • Curcuma should be avoided in case of intolerance, but can be replaced by other spices.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a plant that belongs to the ginger family. It originally grew in India and Southeast Asia. The turmeric plant grows in warm temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees and needs sufficient water. Turmeric is extracted from the root of the plant.

The turmeric roots can be found fresh, dried or powdered on the market. Turmeric is mostly used as a spice but also as a food coloring. That is why the plant is also known as the Indian saffron. (1)

Curcuma is used as a remedy in traditional Chinese medicine and in Ayurveda techniques. Nowadays, many studies are being conducted examining the positive effects of turmeric on the human body. (1)

What ingredients does turmeric contain?

Curcuma powder contains essential oils, resins, proteins and about 5 percent curcumin. In addition, the plant contains other curcuminoids that give the powder a special yellow color and are biologically active. Curcuminoids are extracted from the plant by solvent extraction. (2)

Turmeric contains many minerals that are relevant to our health. Among these are the following:

minerals Minerals per 100 g turmeric
potassium 2525 mg
magnesium 193 mg
calcium 182 mg
sodium 38 mg

Turmeric contains many sugar compounds and gives energy. The plant is also very rich in protein.

nutritional values Nutritional values ​​per 100 g turmeric
calorific value 1491kJ /356kcal
carbohydrates 58.2g
of which sugars 57.6g
Fat 9.9g
protein 7.8g
fiber 6.7g

Curcuma is also rich in vitamins and contains plenty of vitamins from the B group.

vitamin Vitamins per 100 g turmeric
vitamin C 26 mg
Vitamin B2 230 mg
Vitamin B1 150 mg

What positive effects does turmeric have?

Curcuma has been used in healing practices as a remedy for many years. In fact, as a result of the studies, it has been proven that turmeric has a positive effect on the body.

Curcuma as an anti-inflammatory agent

Short-term inflammation helps the body to fight against pathogens during regeneration so that they cannot penetrate the organism. However, chronic chronic inflammation has a negative impact on both the organs and the immune system. They can also promote or cause other diseases.

Curcumin is used to prevent and treat conditions such as metabolic disorders.

An ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, acts on the body as an anti-inflammatory and is used in medicine and to treat inflammation. Sometimes curcumin's effects are even compared to anti-inflammatory remedies. Turmeric powder contains only 3 percent of curcumin.

However, there are also high-dose turmeric extracts on the market that have a more efficient effect. (3)

Turmeric acts as an antioxidant

Free radicals cause oxidative damage. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. They react with organic substances and have a negative effect on our health.

Curcumin helps to neutralize free radicals and promotes the formation of endogenous antioxidants.

Free radicals can cause disease and accelerate the aging process. Antioxidants fight against free radicals. They bundle free radicals in the body and "neutralize" them.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin also has antioxidant properties. Thanks to its chemical structure, curcuminoids are able to neutralize free radicals.

Curcumin also activates the body's antioxidants. (4)

Turmeric reduces the risk of brain diseases

Nerve cells can network with each other and even multiply. A growth factor BDNF is important for this multiplication. This factor is also called neurotrophic factor. BDNF can be compared to a growth hormone that is activated in the brain. Some diseases like Alzheimer's can affect this growth factor.

Curcumin increases the concentration of BDNF in the brain and helps prevent brain diseases.

Curcuma is able to increase the concentration of the growth factor BDNF. In this way, curcumin helps to slow down the age-related limitations in nerve cell growth and even stave off brain diseases.

Alzheimer's disease causes insoluble plaques to form between neurons in the brain. These impair the normal functioning of the brain. Curcumin helps prevent the build up of these plaques.

That is why turmeric is also used in Alzheimer's treatments. (5)

Turmeric reduces the risk of heart disease

Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. They are very dangerous and complex. Various factors can cause and promote heart disease. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, curcumin favors the prevention of heart diseases.

Curcumin has a positive effect on heart health.

Curcumin is able to strengthen the functioning of the endothelium in the heart. The endothelium means a vascular coating that is responsible for the exchange of substances between the blood and the vessels. (6)

A normal function of the endothelium ensures the regulation of blood pressure and blood clotting. Impaired endothelial function often leads to heart disease. Curcumin is able to strengthen endothelium and thereby reduces the risk of heart disease. (6)

Curcuma to protect against cancer

Turmeric may help prevent and treat cancer. Curcuma is able to impair the development and growth of cancer cells.

It has been found that turmeric can inhibit the growth of metastases. Turmeric can also contribute to the death of cancer cells. The effect of turmeric on cancer is still being researched, but there is a trend towards the possible use of turmeric in cancer treatment. (6.7)

Turmeric calms the stomach

Curcuma can be used for digestive problems. She is also able to calm the stomach. Turmeric promotes fat digestion in the stomach and intestines. That is why there is no feeling of fullness or flatulence after the high-fat meal.

Turmeric benefits the digestive tract and is used in the treatment of inflammation of the digestive system. (8th)

How long does turmeric keep?

Turmeric is a natural spice in the form of a powder or extract. It has a shelf life of two to three years. Turmeric in powder form usually has a longer shelf life. However, it can be noticed how aroma diminishes after some time of storage.

However, if you have noticed that the turmeric color has changed, it is best to replace it. Turmeric tablets or capsules can be stored for a maximum of 2 years.

The shelf life of turmeric also depends on the correct storage of the spice. Powder can be ideally stored airtight. Plastic containers that are stored in a dry and dark place are best suited for storage. Information about the maximum shelf life can be found on the packaging.

Turmeric: intolerance, allergies and side effects

Curcuma is a healthy spice and has many positive effects. However, some groups of people are prohibited from taking turmeric. In addition, every medicine and food has certain side effects or can cause allergies.

If you find that you feel uncomfortable after consuming turmeric or notice allergy symptoms, you may have an intolerance to turmeric. An examination by your doctor would not do any harm here.

Here we would like to answer the most important questions about possible intolerance to curcuma and summarize the most important information on this topic for you.

Intolerance or allergy?

Are you familiar with the following situation: after eating, your stomach hurts, your mucous membranes swell, or you get flatulence in your intestines? Many immediately think of an allergy. But it's not always true. Because your immune system is not always responsible for those symptoms.

If you always notice unpleasant symptoms in your stomach after consuming a certain food, then you may have a food intolerance. This is also often referred to as food intolerance. Most of the time, the symptoms of intolerance and allergy are similar. This leads to confusion between these two terms. Basically, the causes of both diseases are completely different.

With allergies, your body and immune cells react to certain substances. Your body's immune response in the form of a rash or other manifestation is called an allergy. In this case, the pathogens are recognized and fought by your immune cells.

Turmeric with powder

Sometimes allergy is confused with food intolerance. (Image source Steve Buissinne/Pixabay)

In the case of allergies, your immune system reacts to even small amounts of the allergic substance. Sometimes allergies are accompanied by the symptoms of other allergic diseases such as asthma or neurodermatitis.

If you have a food intolerance, there is a chance that your body will not react negatively to small amounts of the food. Compared to intolerances, allergies can get worse over the course of life. Some allergies, for example to bee stings, can even be fatal.

The probability of fatal consequences with intolerance is much lower than with allergies. However, the intolerances often cause a feeling of discomfort and cannot be identified for a long time.

Incompatibilities are usually due to the fact that a certain enzyme is missing in the body. Or it may be present in the body in small amounts, insufficient for normal body processing. The most common example of such intolerance is lactose intolerance.

In the case of lactose intolerance, the body lacks the enzyme lactase. It is responsible for the breakdown, digestion and absorption of lactose. If the enzyme is missing, the lactose is not digested in the stomach and is not absorbed in the intestine.

The consequences of food intolerance can be diarrhoea, flatulence, cramps or nausea.

How much turmeric is healthy?

In most cases, people reap the benefits that turmeric offers. Rarely do side effects occur with this spice. But if turmeric is taken in overdose over a long period of time, as a food or medicine, it can have a negative effect on the body. More than 8 grams of turmeric daily leads to an overdose in the long term. If turmeric is to be taken as a remedy, it is worth taking short breaks and reducing the dose.

Turmeric powder in a bowl

Constant overdose of turmeric can have negative consequences. (Image Source: Curc Steve/Pixabay)

However, taking turmeric or curcumin can become problematic. Curcumin has very low bioavailability and is difficult to dissolve in water. That’s why turmeric intolerances appear in people. Curcumin simply cannot be digested by the body in this case. However, one rule applies here: more than 8 grams of turmeric per day can have a negative effect on the body if taken over the long term. (9)

What are the side effects of turmeric?

Too high a dosage of turmeric can have side effects. The most common side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • heartburn
  • nausea (9.10)

If you notice the side effects of turmeric, stop taking it. Usually the side effects disappear after a week. However, if you experience discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract every time after taking turmeric, it may be a sign of intolerance. It is advisable to have yourself examined by a doctor. (10)

Who should absolutely avoid turmeric?

Turmeric has many benefits but can have negative effects if overdosed. For people with sensitive mucous membranes, turmeric can cause side effects or simply trigger gastrointestinal problems. But there are also certain groups of people who should rather avoid taking turmeric.

People with liver diseases such as gallstones, gallbladders or inflammation should avoid turmeric. Curcumin could damage the sensitive liver and cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Even people with sensitive stomachs get an irritated stomach from turmeric. (11)

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be careful when taking turmeric. Because there is still a need for research into the effects of turmeric on the baby.

Diabetics should also avoid it because turmeric contains a lot of natural sugar and can affect blood levels. (12)

How can intolerance be diagnosed?

A food intolerance can be diagnosed by a doctor using various tests. The doctor can use the breath test to determine whether certain substances are left behind. This can indicate that an enzyme is missing. Another possibility would be a kinesiological test, genetic test, enzyme diagnostics or an examination based on hair analysis. It is recommended that people with the symptoms keep a food diary.

Intolerance can either be acquired or inherited genetically. After identifying the missing enzyme, the doctor can determine a plan for ongoing treatment. Most often, the patient is given the tablets that replace a specific enzyme. (12)

General food intolerances can be permanently treated but never completely cured. With the intolerances, however, you can live a long and quality life. However, you should adapt your own nutrition plan to the existing nutritional requirements.

For example, one should pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet and renounce bad habits. Caffeinated drinks should also be avoided.

What can you do about the intolerance?

Food intolerance cannot be cured, but it can be treated. It is also possible to alleviate the symptoms that occur. Above all, however, the foods to which the patient is intolerant should be avoided. It is best for people with a turmeric intolerance to avoid this spice in any form.

It is also advisable to look more often at the packaging of the food you buy and to read about the ingredients. Sometimes turmeric can be used as a spice. In the end, turmeric can simply be replaced by other spices. (13)

What alternatives are there to turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice that gives dishes an exotic taste and yellow color. Curcuma can be found as a spice in many kitchens today. However, it can also be replaced by other similar spices. An alternative to a special flavor of turmeric would be curry powder. However, curry also contains some turmeric.

Another option here would be cilantro or fenugreek. These spices add an interesting flavor to the dish.

different spices on spoons

Curcuma can be perfectly replaced by other spices. (Image Source: Curc Epsita/Pixabay)

If it's not about the taste, but about the color, saffron can be used as a turmeric substitute.


Curcuma is a natural spice with many positive effects on the body. However, there are often cases when people have a turmeric intolerance. This is often reflected in the symptoms that appear right after ingesting turmeric. These symptoms include bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea and others. If an intolerance is suspected, it is worth consulting a doctor. This is the quickest way to determine intolerance and set a treatment plan in good time.

Curcuma must be avoided in case of intolerance. However, those who do not want to do without turmeric can replace it with many other alternative spices. Curry, saffron or coriander are best suited for this.


  1. Turmeric: Digestive and anti-inflammatory
  2. Dietary supplements containing plants and plant extracts
  3. Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer's disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
  4. Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
  5. Curcumin as a functional food-derived factor: degradation products, metabolites, bioactivity, and future perspectives
  6. Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials
  7. The effects of Curcuma longa and curcumin on reproductive systems
  8. Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
  9. Detection of plant-based adulterants in turmeric powder using DNA barcoding
  10. Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation
  11. Turmeric Induced Liver Injury: A Report of Two Cases
  12. Curcumin: An age-old anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic agent
  13. Curcumin as “Curecumin”: From kitchen to clinic
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1 comment

Ich bekomme eine Hautallergie. Was könnte ich tun, um die Allergie (rote Stellen
winzige Pickelchen) zu heilen.
Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe.
Marianne Rathmann

Marianne Rathmann

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