A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders

Phytother Res. 2024 Jun;38(6):2687-2706. doi: 10.1002/ptr.8189. Epub 2024 Mar 19.

Abstract

Turmeric has been gaining popularity as a treatment option for digestive disorders, although a rigorous synthesis of efficacy has not been conducted. This study aimed to summarize the evidence for the efficacy and safety of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and peptic ulcers. Literature searches were conducted in Medline, EMBASE, AMED, the Cochrane Central Register of Control Trials, and Dissertation Abstracts from inception to November 15, 2021. Dual independent screening of citations and full texts was conducted and studies meeting inclusion criteria were retained: randomized controlled trials (RCT) and comparative observational studies evaluating turmeric use in people of any age with one of the digestive disorders of interest. Extraction of relevant data and risk of bias assessments were performed by two reviewers independently. Meta-analysis was not conducted due to high heterogeneity. From 1136 citations screened, 26 eligible studies were retained. Most studies were assessed to have a high risk of bias, and many had methodological limitations. Descriptive summaries suggest that turmeric is safe, with possible efficacy in patients with IBD or IBS, but its effects were inconsistent for other conditions. The efficacy of turmeric in digestive disorders remains unclear due to the high risk of bias and methodological limitations of the included studies. Future studies should be designed to include larger sample sizes, use rigorous statistical methods, employ core outcome sets, and adhere to reporting guidance for RCTs of herbal interventions to facilitate more meaningful comparisons and robust conclusions.

Keywords: curcumin; digestive disorders; efficacy; safety; systematic review; turmeric.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Curcuma* / chemistry
  • Digestive System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

Substances

  • Plant Extracts
  • turmeric extract