Use turmeric for indigestion, osteoarthritis or generalized pain. Turmeric is a spice, a part of the ginger family, often used in Indian food that gives yellow curry its unique color and flavor. It contains curcumin, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals that can damage cells and tissue. It also relieves inflammation that causes pain. People with gallbladder disease should avoid turmeric, and has not been studied for long-term use.