Turmeric, the bright yellow spice often used in curries, mustards and golden milk lattes, has gained quite a reputation as a superfood. It’s been touted for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and hailed as a natural defense against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
That reputation, however, may have just gone down a notch: A new review of scientific literature on curcumin, the most well-known chemical in turmeric, suggests that the compound has limited, if any, actual health benefits.
There may still be reason to include the “golden spice” in your diet, say the authors of the new review, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. But as far as current evidence shows, its most famous compound doesn’t live up to its hype.
Ground turmeric root has been used in Indian and Chinese cooking (and traditional medicine) for centuries. But when the reviewers looked at several recent clinical trials and epidemiological studies on curcumin, they noticed that research findings often weren’t translated correctly in the media.