This One Spice In Your Kitchen Is As Effective As Indigestion Medicine

If you’ve ever suffered with indigestion, chances are you’ve had the odd homemade remedy or two recommended to you.

Some swear by peppermint tea, while others love ginger; both have some real, scientific merit to them, but new research on the stomach-calming properties of turmeric suggests that spice’s antacid powers rival those of OTC proton pump inhibitors.

While scientists have observed the medicinal effects of turmeric in the past ― people all over the world have used it to cure ailments, including indigestion, for absolutely ages ― nobody tested it against ‘conventional’ medical indigestion cures until now.

How did the study work?

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, sought to find out how curcumin ― an element of turmeric that’s believed to work as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent ― stood up against a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) called omeprazole.

PPIs are commonly prescribed drugs that help to inhibit the part of the stomach that secretes acid. This means that when you take them, the source of your heartburn and indigestion goes away. 

The researchers studied 206 patients aged 18 to 70. They all had frequent upset stomachs. The scientists randomly assigned one 20 mg capsule of omeprazole daily to one-third of the group, two large 250 mg capsules of curcumin to be taken four times a day to another third, and a combination of both omeprazole and curcumin to the final third.

Dummy capsules were given to the omeprazole-only group to ensure they took the same number of pills as the others.

This went on for 28 days, but the study authors checked in on the participants on day 28 and again on day 56. They measured their dyspepsia (stomach acid issue) problems using a SODA score on both those days and compared it to the results they got when the participants first began the study.

So... what did they find?

The researchers found that “curcumin and omeprazole had comparable efficacy” ― meaning one seemed to work about as well as the other.

They also found that it was tolerated well among patients, and seemed to offer no ill side-effects.

Of course, the study was relatively small, and not everyone came back for all their follow-ups ― which the researchers acknowledged as limitations. On top of that, they don’t have super long-term data on the spice’s efficacy.

But speaking on the promising-looking data, they say that  “the new findings from our study may justify considering curcumin in clinical practice.”

Look, anything that allows me to believe my favourite chickpea curry is medicinal is fine by me...