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Turmeric or Curcumin – What’s The Difference, Which Should I Take?

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Tumeric-or-Curcumin - What's the Difference?

If you’ve been a little confused as to which one is best, you’re not alone. Frankly, it confuses me, too!

You might also be wondering what the difference is between the two and does it matter? The two words are often used interchangeably, but if you listen to the manufacturers, they’ll say they have distinct differences and they’ll all tell you their form is best!

What we do know about quality turmeric and curcumin supplements is – they work. It’s the most studied herb there is and there are thousands of studies to back this up.

Turmeric is a spice from the root of the curcuma longa plant which is in the ginger family.  It’s used as a spice, a dye, and as a medicine in many Southeast Asian cultures, especially in Ayurvedic medicine. It can be taken in many forms from capsules and liquids, powders like Organic Turmeric  from Banyan Botanicals. It can also be grated directly from the root. It’s often made into teas and kombucha. As a supplement we’re looking at the extract of turmeric rhizome known as ETE or ethanolic extract.

Companies like New Chapter use super critical extraction and use the whole plant to make their Turmeric Force. They don’t isolate the ingredients, but “deliver the wisdom of nature, with the complexity and organic nuances of the natural herb preserved for you.” Hard to argue with that, wouldn’t you agree?

There have been studies  published in the International Journal of Pharmacology that show that turmeric rhizome (ETE) performs better than curcumin. And natural health gurus like Dr. Andrew Weil, recommend turmeric over curcumin for his patients.

Dr. Weill says, “I frequently recommend turmeric supplements, and I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendinitis, and autoimmune conditions.” You can read his full article in the resources listed below.

Curcumin (also known as curcuminoids or phenolic compounds) is the active ingredient in turmeric.  The largest issue with curcumin products is its bioavailability. This refers to how much of the substance actually gets absorbed into your blood stream. The two best and most common curcumin formulas are:

  • Meriva®- “is a patented formulation of curcumin, a dietary phenolic, with soy lecithin (non-GMO)(1). The two compounds form a non-covalent adduct in a 1:2 weight ratio, and two parts of microcrystalline cellulose are then added to improve formulation, with an overall contents of curcumin of 20%.”  Meriva-500 from Thorne Research is a popular curcumin product with our customers.
  • BCM-95® – “is a reconstituted purified and standardized turmeric extract which enhances the bioavailability of curcumin in blood.” This formula is enhanced with turmeric essential oils and phospholipids (think carriers) which increases it’s absorption.

Terry Naturally and Life Extension are two companies who believe in and sell products containing the BCM-95® form of curcumin. Life Extension’s Super Bio-Curcumin is a good seller, but by far, our best-selling curcumin product is Terry Naturally’s Curamin – it flys off the shelves!

The scientific literature on BCM-95® curcumin is staggering. This article from the Wall Street Journal on it’s antidepressant properties and this study in PubMed on its anti-inflammatory impact on rheumatoid arthritis are just two examples. You can find plenty of solid scientific evidence on the health benefits of  BCM-95® curcumin. We’ve had some amazing testimonials from Terry Naturally customers!

What I have discovered in my research is, no matter which formula you use, if you stick with a quality turmeric/curcumin supplement like you’ll find at Natural Healthy Concepts, you can’t go wrong.  Save your money and skip the drug store and supermarket brands.

And if you still have your doubts about turmeric or curcumin, check out this research from – 500 Reasons Turmeric May Be the Worlds’s Most Important Herb.

I personally think they’re all great, but at home we use Terry Naturally’s Curamin. It all depends on your preferences – and it may take a little research to find the one that’s best for you. Give us a call and no matter which formula you choose, you’re not likely to lose!

If you have a curcumin or turmeric testimonial – please share it!

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About Mary Bloomer

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and natural health advocate. After a number of close family members got cancer, I left the corporate world to pursue my passion for health and wellness. I'd love to hear the story of your journey to better health! Follow Mary Bloomer on Google+!

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38 Responses to Turmeric or Curcumin – What’s The Difference, Which Should I Take?

  1. Tracey August 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Great information!
    I too have used the Curamed from Terry Naturally. It really has helped with my pain! Even after one pill, I have experienced relief.
    Great article and resources. Thanks for sharing this information!

    • Mary Bloomer August 12, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      You’re welcome, Tracey! We appreciate you taking the time to comment on how Curamed has helped you. Isn’t it great that we can get help from natural products that don’t have dangerous side effects?!

      • Colleen Lusetich February 11, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

        I am curious about CurcuminRich Theracurmin 300. My son has inflamation from acene and I do not want him to take antibiotics or use any of the crazy products out there. Someone suggested this brand to help with his inflammation. I know his acne is hormonal. Thank you for your article but I still can’t figure out is this has the turmeric that he needs? Any thoughts? I bought it from health food store.

    • Huong July 15, 2014 at 12:27 am #

      Speaking as someone with gastric ulcer, I can vouch for tumeric. I take two tablespoons of tumeric powder mixed with honey every day. After just 3 months, my endoscopy result shows that the nấm is wiped out, only HP remains. After 6 months, I no longer feel pain at night.

  2. starhiherbsseo August 22, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    Your blog are impressive to each other. I read your blog about Curcumin Extract Manufacturers.its very good, Helpful for all.

  3. James Hawthorne September 8, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    This is a great article! I have to say I have been using Turmeric 500 mg 2 tablets a day for 4 years now. I am pain free I have no more pain! My joints feel great and I am in superb Health.

    All thanks to Herbal Hearts – Turmeric 100% Organic and in Vegetable Capsules! They are my life savers – I usually get them from eBay – great discounts.

    I have tried my brands – Try to find one that 100% Pure and no additives or preservatives.

    • Cheryl July 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm #


      Are you still using Herbal Hearts Turmeric and what kind of pain did you have that it fixed?

  4. Priyanka November 12, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    The curcumin extracts are indispensable in reducing weight and they have a number of health benefits as well. The curcumin is extracted from the turmeric plants which are imperative for healing wounds.

    • Janet January 20, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      What name brand did you use to loose weight? How long did you take it when you noticed results?

      • Mary Bloomer January 21, 2014 at 9:06 am #

        Hi Janet, we aren’t allowed to recommend products for specific conditions. The reasons for peoples weight gain can be as varied as the people themselves (hormone issues, food allergies, parasites, low-thyroid, etc.) but we can direct you to our best sellers in the weight loss category and you can check out the products and see which ones might meet your needs. All the best to you! Here’s a link:

  5. Chris February 17, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    I have been taking Curcumin for a few years now and it has really improved my health, we barely ever get any colds or flu anymore and my joint pain and stiffness is pretty much gone. I feel much healthier and look younger than before I started taking it, a very substantial good side-effect of its daily usage is greatly improved mental clarity and being generally less “foggy” in my head. Something great is going on with this stuff, whatever it is I am going to keep taking it twice a day. I’ve always used the Life Extension brand with the BCM-95 Curcumin extract, it’s only like $20/bottle through the link at I used to buy it locally but now it’s over $30/bottle at Vitamin Shoppe so we definitely save a lot buying online and they ship free too. I recommend taking it with food always and just make it part of your regular routine, it is very well tolerated by almost everyone and I have not had any adverse effects after taking it for over 3 years now. I love Curcumin, honestly I don’t know how I ever survived without it previously! :)

  6. Jerry April 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    I was suffering from severe gout I tried everything, eliminated all the foods that all the experts said triggered a outbreak. No success. My doctor put me on medication to controll it. Come to find out that it triggered outbreaks so I trashed that stuff. I was listening to a radio show and a lady was talking how great turminic is and how it cured her breast cancer which was in stage three. She said it was great for inflammation so I figured I would give it a shot. I have been taking for three months and have been gout free ever since . That stuff is amazing. It has completely taken all the pain and outbreaks of gout away. I suffered from gout for 20 years and now I am gout free

    • Mary Bloomer April 23, 2014 at 11:05 am #

      Great testimonial, Jerry, thanks much for posting!

    • beth January 4, 2015 at 4:13 am #

      malongay or moringga is also at par with turmeric in terms of effecacy, tested and proven.

  7. malak April 23, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Is grinding some of the solid curcuma in water and drinking it for a while, would help weight lose?

    • Mary Bloomer April 23, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      Good question, Malak. Here’s an article from Dr. Mercola that may address your question. Generally, to get a therapeutic effect for anything just from the spice alone (as opposed to the BCM-95 extract) you would have to consume huge amounts and absorption is often an issue. If you scroll down to the last paragraph in Dr. Mercola he offers some information on weight loss. Good luck!

      • Linda January 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

        I have been using approx 3/4 tsp turmeric powder in about 1-1/4 tsp of natural, raw honey for my arthritis and I find this to work perfectly for me. Pain is lessoned or goes away completely in my knees, back and hands.

  8. Lynn April 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Mary, Terry Naturally’s CuraMed says one capsule daily and “may increase as desired.” Any suggestions on just how many capsules a day is optimal dose?? I am 50 with general aches and pains but mostly trying to prevent recurrence of ovarian ca. thanks!!

  9. ElGenio July 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    “…this study in PubMed on it’s anti-inflammatory impact…”

    In this context, the correct spelling is “its” not “it’s.”

    “It’s” (with the apostrophe) is a contraction (a combination) of the words “it is.” It’s = it is.

    Use “its” to designate the possessive form of the pronoun “it.” For instance, “Its purpose is clear.”

    English can be very confusing, because usually the apostrophe designates possession, as in “the child’s toy.” But not in the case of the possessive form of the pronoun “it,” where the apostrophe is omitted.

    “its anti-inflammatory impact…” is correct.

    Thank you.

    • Mary Bloomer July 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      Thank you, ElGenio, we should have caught that! Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Good eye!


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  11. Scott September 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    Thanks very much for your great article about turmeric/curcumin.

    I have been taking all kinds of turmeric/curcumin brands and formulas for the past 15 years. I have noticed that only the BCM-95 formula gives me a very bad headache the next day if I take it every day and follow the recommended dosage by the vendor (Life Extension or Terry Naturally). So, I am very surprised that in all the reviews, nobody is mentioning anything about taking the BCM-95 formula and getting a bad headache.

    May be people do NOT associate the next day (delayed) headache with taking the BCM-95 Curcumin. After calling the Life Extension, they even confirmed that this formula causes headache for some people. So, it is not just me.

    So, if you get headaches and you are taking the BCM-95 curcumin, there is a good possibility that the BCM-95 curcumin causing your headache. Stop taking it or lower your dosage and your headache will go away.

    I take curcumin for knee pain. It seems to help some but I still have pain.


    • Mary Bloomer September 2, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Thanks for your feedback, Scott. Everyone’s body responds differently even to natural ingredients. This may help someone who is having a similar reaction. Many people don’t make the connection of a headache, intestinal issues, or even a rash, to something they consumed a day or even several days prior. We’re glad the curcumin still helps your knee pain. Adjusting the dosage may be all someone needs to do to avoid the headaches!

    • Martin February 21, 2015 at 3:37 am #

      I do have same problem Scott. I was wondering if it could be from BCM 95 and now I read your comment… any reason why we have this side effect?

  12. TINA September 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    I have been using Curamed for about a week and havent had any adverse side effects..I have been taking 375 mg for some compression in my neck..Im on a computer all day at work and it seems to be doing the trick.I tried Tumeric supplements which caused stomach issues. I went to our local health food store and and asked what they recommended and I was given the Curamed..I was also told that everyone there takes this supplement.My question is this ..can this product do the damage to your kidneys as extended use of Ibuprophen would do ? So far it has impressed me..I even seem to have more energy and more pep in my step

    • Mary Bloomer September 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      We appreciate your testimonial, Tina. Good news -The product should not hurt your kidneys or your liver. In the book Curcumin: The 21st Centruy Cure by Jan MCBarron, MD, ND, it cites the fact that curcumin is protective to the kidneys. We also get wonderful feedback from customers (online and in our retail store) on Curamed and Curamin. Thanks much for letting us know - we wish you continued success on your road to better health! And here's more evidence of curcumin's healthful benefits:

  13. Katherine Walpole October 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    I read that when taking tumeric it should be oil based. I haven’t found any capsules thathave oil & tumeric. Is this true? Also how much tumeric should I be taking per day?

  14. Dawn Rivera October 22, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    I have had Fibromyalgia since 2001 and a series of lower back disc issues. For years I could barely walk at all. Doctors put me on Meloxicam , and Naproxen and steroids after I refused Lyrica and hard core pain killers. They worked but caused side effects. A local health-food store introduced me to the Terry Naturals Curcumin products. I use the extra strength version and two in the morning and two at night. I have been pain free 6 months now. My over all health has been great and i have more energy. I put my 76 year old mother on it and she can now walk and move around even with her osteo-arthritis. It has been my savior !
    The only thing I have noticed is a drastic change in my weight. I have gained more than 20 pounds since I started it. My diet has not changed . Could this be from the product ?

    • Kathy Allen January 25, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

      Did you ever try the curamed? I have fibromyalgia also and desperate! I bought the curamed, but wondering if I should have bought the cur cumin instead?
      Thank you for this sight!!

    • Natalie March 22, 2015 at 10:28 am #

      I know this is a little out of context but I was curious if you have seen a Rheumatologist? If so, did they test you for a gene called HLA-B27? It’s a simple blood test. If you test positive for it, it’s possible you may have Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over 20 years ago after seeing countless doctors and tons of bloodwork that came back normal. My new Rheumy tested me for this gene and along with my symptom history made a correct diagnosis. Usually with Fibromyalgia- there is an underlying cause that triggers it. AS causes spine issues and you mentioned you have that so thought I would put this out there.
      My 2 children also have it and they tested positive for the gene as well.
      Take Care, Natalie

  15. rebeca November 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    is this good for gallbladder? what side effects does it have on gallbalder and the kidneys?

  16. Lynn December 13, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    Which is better to use, tumeric or curamed if you’ve had uterine fibroids or polyps?

    Thanks so much!

  17. Kathy Allen January 25, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    I have fibromyalgia and bought curamed. Wondering if people with fibromyalgia had better success with just the extra strength cur cumin?

  18. todd February 6, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    I read that turmeric spice needs to be heated to work. is this true because I use a teaspoon of it and ginger in a smoothie in the mornings

  19. Nathan March 23, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    There’s an over priced item being sold called Curamin which sells for up to $75 a bottle. Just use Turmeric which is about 90% cheaper. You don’t need to spend an extra $60 to get the anti-inflammatory benefit which regular turmeric offers. Many times less expensive is just as good or better.

    • Theresa Groskopp, CN March 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

      The article does a good job explaining the difference between curcumin and turmeric. Yes, you can find turmeric for less than Curamin. However Curamin is not just curcumin. It contains a special formula of curcumin – BCM-95 and is combined with DL phenylananine (DLPA), boswellia and nattokinase for pain relief.

  20. Nathan March 24, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    Yes Theresa you’re right. However, the difference in pain relief may only be a little. Furthermore you can buy curcumin, boswellia, nattokinase and DL phenylanine seperately for about half the cost of curamin. My point is that curamin is not worth the price from a greedy company selling the item for at least 2x more than it should.


  1. What Is The Dosage Of Turmeric For Back Pain - February 6, 2015

    […] Turmeric or Curcumin – What’s The Difference, Which … – This is a great article! I have to say I have been using Turmeric 500 mg 2 tablets a day for 4 years now. I am pain free I have no more pain! My joints feel great and …… […]

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