Are the health benefits of turmeric too good to be true?

Turmeric is a popular spice known for its bright yellow color and use in curry powders and mustards.

Story highlights

  • Turmeric is a popular spice similar to ginger, known for its bright yellow color and use in curries
  • It can potentially treat a wide range of conditions

(CNN)Alzheimer's disease. Diabetes. Arthritis. Unwanted hair growth. Baldness. Infertility. Erectile dysfunction. Hangovers. Glaucoma. Cancer.

If you have an ailment, there's a good chance that someone, somewhere, is studying whether turmeric can treat it. There are more than 15,000 manuscripts published about curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, and about 50 manuscripts added to this collection each week, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"It's really taken on sort of panacea-like properties in terms of the things it's being studied for and the things it has been reported to be useful for," said D. Craig Hopp, deputy director of the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

    What is turmeric?

    Turmeric is a popular spice similar to ginger, known for its bright yellow color and use in curry powders and mustards. Also called "Indian saffron," the plant grows across India, other areas of Asia and Central America. Turmeric flavors a range of dishes, is a vital component of certain religious rituals and has been used for medicinal purposes for nearly 4,000 years.