As of 2020, more than 60 million Americans suffer from indigestion-related pains, according to the National Institute of Health. A new study published Monday in the medical journal BMJ discovered that the spice turmeric may help ease pains from dyspepsia.

Researchers assigned 206 randomly chosen individuals out of Thailand with similar indigestion or dyspepsia conditions who reacted to different sets of pill combinations, per Medscape:

  • Two 250-milligram curcumin pills four times a day and a placebo pill.
  • One 20-milligram omeprazole pill daily and two placebo pills four times a day.
  • Two 250-milligram curcumin pills four times daily and one 20-milligram omeprazole pill once a day.

Omeprazole is a medication that is often used to treat patients who deal with too much acid build-up in their stomachs, per the Mayo Clinic.

Turmeric contains curcumin. When extracted from turmeric, it “is a hydrophobic polyphenol with a low molecular weight. This compound exhibits a broad range of biological properties, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative and antimicrobial properties,” the study said.

On the 28th and 56th days of the treatment, participants in the research were assessed for symptoms that included queasiness, abdominal pain or other types of discomfort. The evaluation was done by using the Severity of Dyspepsia Assessment, a survey designed to measure the intensity of indigestion.

There were significant variations among the different group's symptoms, according to the study. Lead study author Dr. Krit Pongpirul told CNN, “In addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant purposes, curcumin/turmeric could be an option for treating dyspepsia with comparable efficacy to omeprazole.”

He added that Turmeric has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia, where the spice is native, as a way to treat upset stomachs.

The study concluded, “This multi-center 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. ... The strength of the study lies in its relevance to daily clinical practice, providing additional drug options in addition to PPIs (Over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors) alone, without added side effects.”

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What is Turmeric primarily used for?

The spice powder often found in curry dishes is used in the medical field in the United States, often as a dietary supplement. “In India, it was traditionally used for disorders of the skin, upper respiratory tract, joints, and digestive system,” per the National Institute of Health.

There are various conditions that the yellow powder is used to help ease discomfort:

  • Arthritis.
  • Digestive disorders.
  • Allergies.
  • Depression.
  • Liver disease.
  • Respiratory infections.