Q: I’ve been taking turmeric capsules from the health food store for ****** but it gives me heartburn and upset stomach. I still want the benefits of the turmeric. Do you sell any other forms of it that might easier on my digestion? What should I do?
A: I don’t sell any products of any kind, but I understand how frustrating this can be. Because herbs are strong, and effective, they can carry problems – just like prescription medications can. You are right to approach using herbs with care, even something as benign (and tasty!) as turmeric. Sensitive stomachs make it especially challenging.
The most IMPORTANT piece of advice I an give is to see an herbalist in person. There may be other herbs or spices that could help your condition but spare your stomach. Getting to know you to that degree and making those kinds of recommendations are not appropriate to do over the internet. This is just general information. I really encourage you to see someone in person.
I have to applaud you for wanting to continue with the tumeric, though…many people would just abandon the natural approach.
Capsules are pretty concentrated doses of the herb. Have you tried something more dilute, but used in larger quantity or more frequently? Maybe taking a lower amount more frequently can help sometimes. Getting a little in is better than nothing at all.
One thought would be to talk to an herbalist about making your own tablets instead of using commercial gel caps. There is a very old fashioned way of making herbal tablets using honey. The honey (anti microbial, has its own health benefits) may buffer the tumeric enough that you could tolerate it ALTHOUGH it would be important to work with an herbalist in doing this so you can get the right amounts and proportions for your individual situation.
Another alternative that might help is making the tumeric into a decoction…a strong tea. That would involve simmering the spice in water, and letting some of the water simmer off to concentrate it. Like making a stock reduction in cooking. I can’t imagine that would taste very good though. Adding honey or cane juice or something to the original mixture would give you a medicinal syrup…but again, you would have to work with an herbalist to get that just right.
If none of that works, there is always culinary use. Putting it in food protects your stomach from the concentrated hit of pure tumeric, and arguably may be better absorbed than the capsules anyway. Eat it liberally every day. Indian cuisine naturally does that anyway, so indulge in yellow rice, curries and the like if you can tolerate those. Home-cooked foods using tumeric is, of course, preferred to processed or fast food.
I have no real scientific or logical reason for saying this, but a big bowl of really well cooked brown rice comes to mind. Stir in the same amount of tumeric (from the spice section of your grocer is fine) that you would have had in the capsule…add whatever other seasoning makes it palatable to you (a little ghee, some soy sauce, what have you)…not only will that give you the tumeric you are seeking, but it is nourishing, healthy, and comforting. Rice that has been cooked until very soft is often called a “congee” in chinese medicine and is very often used in healing & illness recovery diets.
Again, please find a good herbalist to work with you in person.