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How Is Curcumin Extracted From Turmeric?

Turmeric HarvestingTurmeric is the natural medicine for many health problems and that is the reason why more and more people are including this super spice in their health regime. This yellow colored rhizome has spiced up curries since centuries now as it has peculiar yellow color that brings flavor, taste, and health benefits with it. The medicinal properties of turmeric are also widely accepted and turmeric extracts are being used to get the most out of this humble root. Various studies have revealed that there are many health benefits of turmeric starting from applying it on wounds to curing the chronic health problems like diabetes, hypertension, heart ailments, arthritis, and kidney diseases. Though this root is meant to offer this medicinal benefits naturally, experts recommend to consume its extract to get maximum results.

What is curcumin extract and why it is required?
When you talk about the health benefits of turmeric, it is actually turmeric curcumin that you are talking about. Curcumin is one compound that is bioactive and is one of the curcuminoids responsible for health benefits of turmeric. Consuming fresh or dry turmeric is good for your health but if you are planning to use it for some specific disease then you will be required to regulate the dosage according to your body requirements. In order to get curcumin as per required dosage by consuming whole or powdered turmeric, you will have to consume many other components present in turmeric as well. Again curcumin amounts to just 3% of the rhizome weight, hence you will be consuming almost 97% of other components in order to consume curcumin. This is practically not possible and hence you will have to look for pure curcumin extract that would give you only the required compound in desired quantity. 

How is curcumin extracted from turmeric?
This question would come to your mind naturally as it’s not very easy to separate the yellow colored pigments called curcumin from the turmeric root. Usually turmeric powder is used for this exercise as separation becomes very easy. Now when you know the health benefits offered by curcumin, you will be more interested in curcumin than turmeric and hence would try to extract this vital compound from the turmeric powder. It is possible to do it at home but only if you can control the temperature and use the solvent in prescribed form. 

Turmeric and GingerCurcumin and curcuminoids are not water soluble and may require fat medium to dissolve or get absorbed. Even plain water would not be the correct solvent to dissolve curcumin and you will require solvents like ethanol or methanol.

You can put the turmeric powder into ethanol solution and let it stand for day or two before filtering the solution. The solution will be ready to be filtered after it is allowed to stand for couple of days. Once the solution is ready, filter it properly with coffee filter. You will be separating the solids from the solution and the ethanol solution that remains after the filtration process would be of nice amber color indicating the presence of curcumin in it. The amber colored ethanol solution will also have other compounds from turmeric that you may probably not want. 

The ethanol solution with curcumin can be further reduced by evaporating ethanol from the solution. This can be done by spreading the solution in open tray and allow it to stand until the ethanol in the solution evaporates. Later the residual solution can be backed to dry it out completely and this is done by baking it at 200°F until you get the gummy substance that is dried. This gummy substance would have substantial amount of curcumin compared to the natural turmeric. The solution can be further processed to get the pure curcumin by using the method called Chromatography. This method may require certain specific tools and techniques that is not possible at home. 

How would you measure the curcumin concentration in the extract?
Once you have your curcumin solution ready, you may want to measure the concentration of curcumin in the solution. For this you would require pure curcumin extract that you can buy from market or get it via online ordering.

Add little water at a time to pure curcumin extract and you will get the solutions with different concentrations. Compare the color of homemade extract with the solutions you made from pure extract. Stop when the color of both the solutions match and note the amount of water you added to the solution as this will give you the percentage of curcumin in the solution. This way you may get rough idea about the concentration of curcumin in the solution you have made. 

Turmeric CapsuleDoes this homemade curcumin extract work?
Homemade products are always trusted more than those available in the market and the reason is purity of product. In case of curcumin extract, there is some contradiction. While extracting this compound from turmeric, you will be using many synthetic solutions and heating process that would affect the natural composition of this chemical compound. The manufacturers of pure curcumin extract may use advanced procedures and machines that separate curcumin from turmeric without affecting its natural form. The purity of the product is sealed and percentage of curcumin present in the solution is clear. The recommended dosage would be mentioned on the bottle, hence you will get faster results. 

Bioavailability of turmeric curcumin is low and if you are using homemade curcumin extract without offering appropriate medium for absorption then your body will not get the benefit of this extract at all. The extracts available in the market already have additional compounds that would aid the absorption of curcumin into your body faster. 

Hence, even if you have already learnt to extract curcumin from turmeric and have tried it at home, it is better to use the readily available pure curcumin extract as it will offer you the desired health benefits without any side-effects. You will have full control over the dosage of curcumin as this pure extract will mention the percentage of curcumin clearly as they have advanced testing techniques that you may lack at home.


Turmeric is the natural medicine for many health problems and that is the reason why more and more people are including this super spice in their health regime. This yellow colored rhizome has spiced up curries since centuries now as it has peculiar yellow color that brings flavor, taste, and health benefits with it.