Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, acts as an antioxidant, and it has anti-inflammatory properties, states WebMD. It is used to treat a variety of different health conditions in India and other Asian countries, and it may have anticancer properties.
Research suggests that taking curcumin may help to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, such as pain and inflammation, according to WebMD. Studies also suggest that curcumin may inhibit the growth of some types of tumors, and it may stabilize colorectal cancer. Research is still ongoing, as of 2015.
Studies suggest that curcumin may help to prevent some types of skin diseases, notes WebMD. It may also help to lower cholesterol. Curcumin may be effective for preventing Alzheimer's, colitis and stomach ulcers. It is also used by some as a treatment for viral infections, diabetes, scabies and an upset stomach. Research suggests that it may help to treat HIV.
Because the health benefits of curcumin are not yet proven, and there is no standard dosage, it is important to speak to a medical professional before taking curcumin supplements for health reasons, states WebMD. Turmeric is a staple spice in Indian cuisine, and it is one of the main ingredients found in curry powder. Taking turmeric or curcumin is generally safe, although large doses may cause unwanted side effects.