Curcumin is one of the main compounds that make up the spice turmeric, and it’s known to have many health benefits, from fighting inflammation and easing joint pain to improving mood and supporting brain health. A new study, however, found that curcumin may have antiviral properties.
The study, which was published in the Journal of General Virology, aimed to see if curcumin could fight against infection by a virus known as TGEV, an alpha-group coronavirus that specifically infects pigs. They found that at high enough doses, the compound was able to kill virus particles before they infected cells. Not only that, but they also saw that in some cases the curcumin would integrate with the virus to render it inactive or even alter the metabolism of the threatened cell to prevent the virus from entering.
While the research did not extend to human testing, curcumin has also been shown to inhibit the replication of other viruses such as dengue virus, hepatitis B, and Zika virus. The history of turmeric’s use in holistic treatments was part of why it was picked to test. While these benefits seem promising, it’s important to be mindful of how much you take.
“It is estimated that 1,200 to 1,800 mg of curcumin a day is required to see therapeutic effects,” says functional food and spice expert Kanchan Koya, Ph.D.
There are many ways to incorporate turmeric into your routine. While supplements are one way to do so, many people enjoy simple solutions like adding golden milk or turmeric tea to their daily routines. However, you decide to incorporate it, be sure to pair turmeric with black pepper to increase its absorption in the gut.