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Turmeric may be as effective as medication in treating indigestion caused by excess stomach acid.

A new, first-of-its-kind study, published in the online BMJ Evidence-based Medicine, reports that the natural compound found in turmeric may be as effective as omeprazole (the drug used to curb excess stomach acid), which is currently used to treat indigestion symptoms. This culinary spice is derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has been found to contain a naturally active compound called curcumin, thought to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. The spice is already used as a medicinal remedy, including for the treatment of indigestion in Southeast Asia.

It remains uncertain how turmeric stacks up against traditional medication for this condition because no direct comparison studies exist. Nonetheless, a recent study randomly divided 206 patients with recurring unexplained stomach discomfort (known as functional dyspepsia), aged 18-70, and recruited from Thai hospitals between 2019 and 2021, into one of three treatment groups for a 28-day period.

  • These three groups were:
    Turmeric (two large 250mg capsules of curcumin 4 times a day) and one small dummy capsule. This group had 69 patients.
  • Omeprazole (one small 20mg capsule daily) and two large dummy capsules (4 times a day). This group had 68 patients.
  • Turmeric and omeprazole. This group had 69 patients.


Symptom severity significantly reduced on day 28 for pain and other symptoms in the combined, curcumin alone, and omeprazole alone groups according to SODA scores. The researchers found that satisfaction scores remained mostly unchanged among curcumin users. This could be attributed to the taste and/or smell of the supplement. There were no reports of serious side effects, but liver function tests indicated some deterioration in curcumin users who were overweight. The researchers also acknowledged that the study was small and suggested the need for a longer-term study.

Researchers concluded, “This randomized controlled trial provides highly reliable evidence for the treatment of functional dyspepsia,” adding that “the new findings from our study may justify considering curcumin in clinical practice.”

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