The next time you’re dealing with indigestion, it might be worth checking for a possible remedy in your spice rack.
A natural compound in turmeric could be as effective as medication in treating indigestion, according to a study published online Monday in the journal BMJ Evidence-Base Medicine.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. In Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, it is often used to alleviate symptoms of dyspepsia, or indigestion.
To test the efficacy of curcumin, researchers in Thailand carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial using the compound and omeprazole, a drug that decreases stomach acid to treat indigestion and other conditions.
About 150 people participated through the end of the trial. They got large capsules containing 250 mg of curcumin or placebo and small capsules containing 20 mg of omeprazole or placebo. They were instructed to take two of the large capsules four times each day and one small capsule once per day for 28 days, according to the study.
Their symptoms of indigestion were assessed after 28 and 56 days. By the end of the study, researchers found that “Patients with functional dyspepsia treated with curcumin, curcumin plus omeprazole and omeprazole had similar significant symptomatic improvement.”
“In addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant purposes, curcumin/turmeric could be an option for treating dyspepsia with comparable efficacy to omeprazole,” said Dr. Krit Pongpirul, the study’s lead author and an associate professor in the department of preventive and social medicine at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, according to CNN.
In the study, researchers acknowledged limitations, including a small number of participants who never followed up with them, and noted that further, long-term studies are needed. However, they added that “the new findings from our study may justify considering curcumin in clinical practice.”