What is curcumin and how is it different from Java turmeric?

To start things off I feel like it’s important to clear up some common confusion. Curcumin and Java turmeric are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Java turmeric is a plant from the ginger family. Curcumin is an active ingredients found primarily in Java turmeric.

Curcumin has a plethora of wonderful medicinal qualities that have been tested in numerous studies. Although I generally like to recommend whole plants or herbs as the best option (rather than an extract), turmeric only has about 3% of curcumin by weight  and most of the research I’ve seen is centered around the curcumin molecule specifically, rather than the Java turmeric plant.

Therefore, in this case it might be best if you take an extract in order to reap the full benefits (but more on that at the bottom of the post).

If you Google “curcumin” and “pain”, “skin”, “cancer”, “stress”, “sleep”, “digestion” or “liver”… you’ll find a curcumin-based folk remedy for any illness containing the terms above and hundreds more. Because of its curcumin content, turmeric definitely sounds like a wonder-spice if you count every traditional and folk use, with so many properties that it just barely stops-short of reviving people from the dead.

With this much research around one plant chemical, I think it’s time athletes took notice. Sounds like there might be something to the claims that curcumin can be an effective cure to nearly any illness. I think the key point here is that it works on so many levels, naturally with your body, that in a sense this single supplement gives you more benefits than an entire synthetic supplement stack.

However, I trust in science (with a pinch of personal experimentation) and amidst all the chaos of information and paraphrased articles about detoxing your liver, I had to see how curcumin can benefit the athlete and what does modern/western science have to say about it.