Turmeric Benefits for Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD)


Turmeric is widely used as an anti-inflammatory drug in the Ayurvedic medicinal system. In 1910, Milobedzka and Lampe first identified curcumin, the bright yellow pigment of turmeric. [1] Gradual discovery of different chemical constituents of turmeric gives a new direction to herbal researchers to scientifically investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) occurs due to immune components present in the intestinal mucosa is over-activated. Simply we can say IBD is an intestinal inflammatory condition. There is two broad classification of IBD is ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both types of IBD have the almost similar type of symptoms, therefore overleaping of symptoms in these two categories of IBD is quite common. [2] The incidence of IBD and the side effects of available synthetic therapeutic agents hamper the quality of the life of the affected individuals. In recent days, the progression of alternative medicine system offers natural ingredients to treat several chronic conditions. Experts suggested Turmeric/curcumin is a complementary medicine to treat IBD.  [3]

Symptoms of IBD

IBD is a chronic condition and affected individuals have some problem including pain in the abdomen, stomach cramping, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, urgency, rectal bleeding, and fever.  However, depending upon the type of IBD, the disease-specific symptomatic difference is also noticeable. [2] Patients having IBD have a greater risk to develop colon cancer than normal healthy individuals.

Pathophysiology of IBD

The exact pathophysiology of IBD is unknown. But it is suspected that NF-kB p65 protein level is increased in colon and gut tissues in IBD. The enhancement of the level of NF-kB p65 protein leads to increase secretion of different inflammatory cytokines including  Interleukins  1, 6, 8 (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8) and Tumor necrosis factor- α (TNF-α) and they induce IBD. [2]

Role of Turmeric in IBD

Anti-inflammatory effect

Curcumin, the active constituents of turmeric able to suppress the activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB). The resultant of this leads to down-regulation of lipoxygenase, cyclooxygenase-2, and inducible nitric oxide synthase enzymes. These enzymes activity reduction leads to alteration of inflammatory pathway.  In addition, curcumin also inhibits arachidonic acid metabolism, suppresses cytokine gene expression, down-regulate intercellular protein kinase. Altogether, this mechanism of actions of curcumin reduces inflammation. Thus turmeric effective to treat and prevent IBD.  [1]

Improves Gut Health

Turmeric supports friendly microbial growth in the gut and assists in food digestion. The friendly gut microbes help to break down the food particles and prevent intestinal dysfunctionality. Turmeric also has anti-microbial effect, which prevents harmful bacterial growth in the intestine.  Research supports, curcumin can maintain the microflora of the intestinal area.

Maintenance Therapy

IBD is a chronic condition and the available synthetic medication usually provides temporary symptomatic relief. But Turmeric administration able to give long-term benefits, as it prevents recurrence and acts as a maintenance therapy.

Preventive action

Anti-oxidant property of turmeric prevents to accumulates free radicals in the intestinal wall. Because free radicals accumulation is one of the key cause of degenerative conditions. Therefore, turmeric administration prevents IBD.

Control Complications

IBD is an inflammatory condition and prolongs presence of this disease increase the risk of several other conditions, including abscess, ulcer, cancer etc. Sometimes the inflammation can spread to eyes, joints and other parts of the body. The IBD- related complications can be prevented by turmeric administration due it’s potent anti-inflammatory property and preventive effect against tumorigenesis. [4]

Study evidences Turmeric Efficacy Against IBS

Different trial evidence support that Turmeric can be a promising and safe herbal remedy for IBD. Turmeric extraction or curcumin able to control the pathophysiology of the IBD due to its potent anti-inflammatory effect. It able to reduce the recurrence of ulcerative colitis. Curcumin can also give symptomatic relieve in Crohn’s disease patients.  [2]

Dose of Turmeric in IBD Treatment

There is no recommended dose of turmeric to treat IBD, but it is advisable to start this herbal regimen with a low dose. Because it will help to detect any individual specific intolerability against turmeric. If no adverse event occurs, then you can continue with 1 teaspoonful of turmeric thrice daily with pinch of black pepper. Black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin in the blood. [5] Nanoparticles and microsponges of curcumin formulations are also a novel approach to increase the bioavailability of this active constituents. [4]


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882399/
  2. http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/16/2/152.pdf
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367210/
  4. https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/7-proven-benefits-of-turmeric-in-inflammatory-bowel-disease
  5. https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/7-proven-benefits-of-turmeric-in-inflammatory-bowel-disease
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