Turmeric (for medical use): FSA Eligibility
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant that is closely related to ginger that is grown throughout India, southeast Asia and Central America and is used in a variety of culinary applications as a main ingredient in curry powder and to color foods and cosmetics. However, historically turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, and has been used to treat conditions such as arthritis, pain and fatigue (National Institute of Health).
What are the medical applications for turmeric?
In modern day applications, turmeric has been found in a variety of clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory qualities. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, helps to decrease swelling and has shown promise in treating a variety of painful, inflammatory conditions. Turmeric has been known to be prescribed to treat arthritis, heartburn, joint pain, stomach pain, diarrhea, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, fatigue and more (WebMD).
Turmeric is typically used as a supplement to traditional treatment methods, so it may require a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) and with some benefits administrators, it may also require a prescription before it will be an accepted expense with consumer-directed healthcare accounts like FSAs and HSAs. This letter must outline how turmeric will be used to treat a specific medical condition and how long the treatment will last.