Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Recently, science has started to back up what Indians have known for a long time — it really does contain compounds with health benefits properties (1).
The most important curcuminoids in Turmeric are called curcumin. This natural compound has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high, typically around 3% by weight (2).
Most of the studies on turmeric use extracts that contain high levels of curcumin, meaning that in powder form a significant quantity is needed to elevate blood curcumin levels, and ideally with black pepper and a fat source.
Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream through the human digestive tract. It helps to consume black pepper with it which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% (3).