The active compound is called curcumin which is a small % of tumeric. Most of the studies on this herb use turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin. With dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using turmeric spice in your foods.
Therefore, if you want to experience the full benefits, then you would likely need to take an extract that contains significant amounts of curcumin. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine … a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000% Most supplements contain piperine- but check to make sure!
As with all supplements it is important to consider potential side effects or contra indications. Tumeric is not recommended to be taken with medicines that slow blood clotting. See the side effects page on the webmd site:
Personally I just add loads of it to my cooking! However I am considering taking a supplement as a preventative measure.
One of my favourite and easiest recipes using tumeric is cauliflower soup.
Saute an onion in butter.
Add a couple of garlic cloves.
Add 1 desert spoon or so of tumeric,
1/2 desert spoon of ground cumin and chilli powder (add more to taste)
Marigold seasoning powder
1 cauliflower broken into florets
Cover with water
Bring to the boil and simmer until soft
Whiz and then serve with chopped coriander (plus chopped red chilli if you like things hot!)