Turmeric Health Benefits and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Carrie Lam, MD

Turmeric root and a bowl of powdered turmeric. Turmeric health benefits have been well known and in use for thousands of years.Turmeric, a well-known spice grown in Asia, has been used as a therapeutic agent for thousands of years. Modern physicians have studied it for many years and have published scientific papers on its main component, curcumin, and its healing properties. Researchers have found that turmeric’s health benefits include: dampening the inflammatory response, improving liver function, and positively influencing the immune system.

As part of a holistic lifestyle, turmeric and other plant-based formulations can restore the equilibrium of over-stressed individuals. When considering supplements, such as turmeric, you should learn about the nutritional value, implement a strategy, and seek professional guidance in order to achieve balance safely, quickly, and effectively.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is in the ginger family and is cultivated in India, Africa, and other parts of Asia. With a golden yellow color and a savory bitter taste, turmeric’s Latin name is curcuma longa and it is commonly called turmeric root or Indian saffron. The turmeric root is processed for healing purposes by drying and crushing it into a powder for capsules, teas, or pastes. For non-healing purposes, turmeric is used as a clothing dye or as a coloring/flavoring agent for mustards and cheeses.

Turmeric is utilized in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine to: relieve arthritis pain, regulate menstruation, aid digestion, and improve liver function. As a topical aid, health practitioners cite one of the turmeric health benefits of healing skin conditions and wounds. Other healers have used turmeric for cancer, stomach ulcers, and gallstones. The spice’s history goes back 4,000 years where it was often used in religious ceremonies.

The rhizomes (root) of the turmeric bush are cooked in order to remove the odor- this stabilizes the starch and produces a uniform yellow/gold color. Modern processing techniques are much safer than previous processing methods, yielding superior quality that is uniform and has moisture content between 8 and 10 percent. Keeping turmeric away from sunlight helps to maintain its color but the flavor may decrease over time.

Turmeric Health Benefits and the NEM Response

Turmeric is a spice with a variety of uses and plays a role in healing from adrenal fatigue to the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response (a progressive and systemic decline due to stress). With a stress reduction plan and guidance from a professional, turmeric may provide just the boost a person needs. Turmeric’s health benefits stand out by improving your immune system, inflammatory response, and liver function.

Turmeric and the Inflammatory Response

A pile of turmeric root and a bowl of powdered turmeric sitting on top. Turmeric health benefits can soothe rampant inflammation.The inflammation process requires our immune cells and the gut with its various microbiomes. The body’s inflammatory response is designed to protect us from harm and keep us safe. As a component of the NEM stress response, inflammation has the ability to go on overdrive, defending you from toxins and pathogens.

Laboratory studies suggest that turmeric and its component, curcumin, may have anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have found that curcumin is highly pleiotropic (capable of interacting with many molecules responsible for inflammation). Early research indicates that curcumin has the potential to relieve inflammatory conditions, such as: stomach ailments, arthritis, and pancreatitis.

In the U.S. and across the globe, many turmeric’s health benefits have been identified and are continually being explored for its anti-inflammatory properties. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is funding turmeric studies for acute respiratory distress syndrome, liver cancer, and postmenopausal osteoporosis. Researchers are also working to combine curcumin with other agents in order to increase its bioavailability and effectiveness.

Turmeric Health Benefits and Liver Function

Studies of turmeric and its main active component (curcumin) are relatively few. However, the amount of research is rising as investigators seek remedies for hepatic disorders- a major cause of global mortality. In adrenal fatigue syndrome, the liver plays a major role in hormonal imbalances and detoxification. Healers from the ancient world knew about the healing properties of turmeric and now modern scientists are investigating turmeric health benefits for liver ailments. Scientists have found that, since curcumin inhibits nuclear factor-kappa B, it is rational to explore its use for hepatic disorders.

Curcumin has been shown to limit damage to the liver from iron overdose, cirrhosis, ethanol, and carbon tetrachloride. A properly functioning liver acts to clear metabolites and other waste products. In partnership with the pancreas, these two organs control metabolic pathways and govern homeostasis in your body. Using turmeric judiciously may improve liver function, improve detoxification, and reduce hepatic disorders.

Turmeric and the Immune System

Turmeric and curcumin have enjoyed a reputation for their anti-inflammatory properties. However, recent studies have found that curcumin is a potent immunomodulatory agent. From various stages of the NEM response to adrenal fatigue, turmeric may also modulate immune disorders such as arthritis, allergy, and asthma.

Curcumin has been shown to modulate T cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, and downregulate several proinflammatory cytokines. Additionally, at low doses, curcumin has the ability to enhance antibody responses. As an immune system enhancer, turmeric/curcumin shows significant promise for all the stages of the NEM response.

Adrenal Fatigue Protocol and Turmeric Health Benefits

Turmeric is a spice that offers adrenal fatigue sufferers a remedy for their NEM stress response. Using turmeric, or any supplement, should be a part of an adrenal fatigue protocol and an ongoing relationship with a healing professional. Healing from adrenal fatigue can take six months to two years and involve the following components:

  • A pinch of turmeric powder and pill capsules of turmeric powder sitting on a white surface. Turmeric health benefits can be used to supplement nutrition for Adrenal Fatigue recovery.Remove stressors – Adrenal fatigue arises due to excessive stress. Individuals must first attempt to limit or remove stressors found in unsatisfying situations, such as; work, marriage, or finances.
  • Sleep – Sufficient and quality sleep is very important to maintain hormonal balance as the adrenal glands repair and charge up at night.
  • Avoid stimulants – Due to the presence of caffeine, coffee and tea are disruptive to sleep and the regeneration of the adrenal glands.


The adrenal fatigue recovery protocol involves; exercising regularly, sleeping well, avoiding stimulants, and removing stressors. With these components in place, you can utilize a supplement, like turmeric, that has been shown to improve the immune system, regulate liver function, and limit the inflammatory response.

The Turmeric Remedy

Turmeric does not require a prescription. You can find it at your local grocery store and at most vitamin stores. You may also find it at Asian markets in its root form or in bulk powder. Use it as a spice in food dishes, make tea, or mix it with water to make a paste for a topical application on the skin.

Since every person is different, individual levels of adrenal fatigue are unique; specifying a turmeric dose is like an art or science. Therefore, defining a delivery method and dose is often best accomplished with a professional healer.

The University of Maryland Medical Center has published guidelines on dosing turmeric. Their physicians do not recommend giving turmeric to children, as the spice has not been studied for this age range. Depending on the delivery method, recommended doses for turmeric are:

  • Cut root: 1.5 to 3 g per day
  • Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 g per day
  • Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, three times per day
  • Fluid extract: (1:1) 30 to 90 drops a day
  • Tincture: (1:2) 15 to 30 drops, four times per day

If you decide to try turmeric, be aware that some herbs and spices can interact with other supplements or medications. Thus, you should use with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

A woman holding a pill capsule of turmeric powder in front of her face near her mouth. Dosed properly, turmeric health benefis can counter many Adrenal Fatigue symptoms.Although turmeric is known to be effective at the recommended doses, long-term use may cause stomach upset and possibly ulcers. Consult with your physician before taking turmeric if you have been diagnosed with gallstones, bile obstruction, or diabetes. Pregnant women should not take turmeric and should not be taken if you are scheduled for surgery within two weeks. Anyone currently on medications should check with their doctor or pharmacist before taking turmeric.

Whether you use the cut root, dry powder, or fluid extract/tincture form of turmeric, you can expect the spice to help reduce inflammation, as numerous studies have shown. Used in conjunction with the adrenal fatigue protocol of reducing stress, getting exercise, and sleeping well, turmeric may begin to relieve your signs of inflammation.

You may lose weight, feel less joint pain, and feel better digestively. Stomach ailments such as leaky gut or inflammatory bowel disease may lessen or disappear altogether. With a stronger immune system, you can fight infections, colds, and other intruders and feel less pain.

When under the influence of adrenal fatigue, the liver works with its partners, the thyroid and pancreas; the metabolic and detoxification systems are upregulated causing you to feel fatigued. Taking turmeric may improve this symptom, as recent studies have shown its immunomodulatory properties.

In the metabolic arena, you may experience: a low sex drive, lose of hair, irregular menstruation, Type 2 diabetes, or weight gain. The stress response in the detoxification area, can cause oxidative stress- resulting in deficiencies when clearing toxins and cellular debris. Adding turmeric, along with the adrenal fatigue protocol, may provide the boost that your liver needs to carry out its functions. You may feel more energetic, less hungry, lose weight, and become more intimate with your partner.

Maximize Turmeric Health Benefits with an Individualized Adrenal Fatigue Plan

Ball and rod render of the chemical structure of curcumin, the main bioactive component that provides many turmeric health benefits.In the case of adrenal fatigue, pursuing a holistic plan is the best approach. Start by reducing stress, sleeping well, and exercising frequently. Consider the available supplements and choose the right nutrient at the right time. Oftentimes, supplementing is best accomplished with professional health care, as each person requires an individualized plan.

When considering supplements, take a good look at turmeric and its main component, curcumin. Numerous studies have shown that the spice has anti-inflammatory properties, works to strengthen your immune system, enhances detoxification, and improves your liver function. Turmeric is one of many spices that may be used as a nutritional supplement. However, while suffering from adrenal fatigue, you may feel so stressed that you grab all the supplements on the market in hopes of fast relief. A better approach would be to carefully research each supplement, consider the reactions with other drugs and supplements, and take the proper dose of turmeric.


Multiple bowls of herbs and roots including turmeric laid out on a straw mat, and a mortar and pestle being used to grind some ingredients together. Turmeric health benefits are part of longstanding ancient healing traditions.Turmeric is a yellow, bitter spice that has been around for a long time. Ancient healers used it in religious ceremonies, as a clothing dye, and for turmeric’s many health benefits. Adrenal fatigue sufferers should consider using the spice to alleviate the NEM stress response.

Individuals in all stages of adrenal fatigue could benefit from a stronger immune system, improved liver function, and lowered inflammation. Along with a holistic lifestyle, the addition of turmeric can help restore equilibrium if you have been stressed and overwhelmed. In order to achieve the best result, the addition of turmeric should be part of a well-considered strategy including exercise, sleep, and stress reduction.

A knowledgeable clinician or healer is the key to constructing a complete lifestyle that promotes homeostasis (or balance) in your body and mind. Working with a health care professional offers the best chance to normalize the adrenal gland and the six systems that influence the NEM stress response.

Turmeric is a viable strategy to restore health, vitality, and normal reactions to stress. Studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric has potent abilities to assist the adrenal glands during recovery. With proper dosing and short-term usage, turmeric shows promise in helping adrenal fatigue sufferers in all stages of the NEM response.



Turmeric, NIH Complementary and Integrative Health, retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric/ataglance.htm

Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research, Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53, retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19811613

Pharmacological actions of curcumin in liver diseases or damage, Liver Int. 2009 Nov;29(10):1457-66, retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19811613

“Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin, J Clin Immunol, 2007 Jan;27(1):19-35. Epub 200, Jan 9, retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17211725

Turmeric, University of Maryland Medical Center, retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

A pile of turmeric root and a bowl of powdered turmeric sitting on top. Turmeric health benefits can soothe rampant inflammation.

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