Suffering heartburn? The surprising ‘cure’ hiding in your kitchen cupboard

TURMERIC is just as good as conventional medicine at treating digestive disorders, according to a new study.

A compound in the spice that gives the curry its yellow-orange color is said to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.


Turmeric is often found in curries[/caption]

The study, published online in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, found that its effectiveness is comparable to that of omeprazole – a drug that reduces the amount of acid the stomach produces.

The results may justify considering the use of the ingredient in clinical practice.

Study author Professor Krit Pongpirul from Chulalongkorn University School of Medicine in Thailand said: “Turmeric is derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant.

“It contains a naturally active compound called curcumin, which is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and has long been used in Southeast Asia as a medicinal remedy, including to treat digestive disorders.

“But it is not clear how well it performs in this indication compared to conventional drugs, particularly because there are no comparative studies.”

The team examined 206 patients aged 18 to 70 who suffered from recurrent stomach upset – called functional dyspepsia.

They were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups for a period of 28 days:

  • Turmeric – two large 250g capsules of curcumin and one small blank capsule four times daily
  • Omeprazole – one small 20 mg capsule daily and two large dummy capsules four times daily
  • Turmeric plus omeprazole

All patients had similar clinical features and digestive disorders at baseline as assessed by the Severity of Dyspepsia Assessment (SODA).

They were then reassessed after 28 days and again after 56 days.

The SODA scores indicated a “significant” reduction in symptom severity by day 28 in pain and other symptoms among patients in the combined group, the curcumin alone group and the omeprazole alone group.

These improvements were even greater in pain and other symptoms after 56 days.

Prof Pongpirul said SODA also recorded satisfaction scores that showed little change over time among curcumin users.

This could possibly be related to its taste or smell, he said.

The expert added: “No serious side effects were reported, although liver function tests suggested some deterioration in curcumin users who were overweight.”

While acknowledging the small size of the study as well as several other limitations, including the short duration of the intervention and the lack of long-term monitoring data, Prof Pongpirul said further larger, long-term studies would be useful.

He added: “This multicentre, randomized, controlled trial provides highly reliable evidence for the treatment of functional dyspepsia.

“The new findings from our study may justify considering curcumin in clinical practice.”

That may not mean prescribing curries to treat heartburn – especially the spicy variety, which is known to worsen indigestion – but it could mean replacing or supplementing certain medications with the spice.

Omeprazole belongs to a group of medicines called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that are used to treat functional dyspepsia.

Symptoms of the condition include feeling excessively full after eating, feeling full after eating just a little, and pain or a burning sensation in the stomach or esophagus.

Long-term use of PPIs has previously been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures, micronutrient deficiencies, dementia and infections.

Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button