Turmeric

Supplements

18/Description

About

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, and fatigue.

It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, recovery after surgery, and cancers. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer's disease, swelling in the middle layer of the eye (anterior uveitis), diabetes, water retention, worms, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tuberculosis, urinary bladder inflammation, and kidney problems.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.

Turmeric is also used as an enema for people with inflammatory bowel disease.

In food and manufacturing, the essential oil of turmeric is used in perfumes, and its resin is used as a flavor and color component in foods.

Don't confuse turmeric with Javanese turmeric root (Curcuma zedoaria).

How it works

Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin. Curcumin and other chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling (inflammation). Because of this, turmeric might be beneficial for treating conditions that involve inflammation.

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
High cholesterol

Research suggests that taking turmeric extract by mouth twice daily for 3 months reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides in overweight people with high cholesterol.

Osteoarthritis

Some research shows that taking turmeric extracts, alone or in combination with other herbal ingredients, can reduce pain and improve function in people with osteoarthritis. In some research, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for reducing osteoarthritis pain. However, it does not seem to work as well as diclofenac for improving pain and function in people with osteoarthritis.

Itching (pruritus)

Research suggests that taking turmeric by mouth three times daily for 8 weeks reduces itching in people with long-term kidney disease. Also, early research suggests that taking a specific combination product (C3 Complex, Sami Labs LTD) containing curcumin plus black pepper or long pepper daily for 4 weeks reduces itching severity and improves quality of life in people with chronic itching caused by mustard gas.

Concerns

Likely safe

Turmeric is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin appropriately for up to 8 months

Possibly safe

Turmeric is POSSIBLY SAFE when it is used as an enema or a mouthwash in the short-term. Turmeric usually does not cause significant side effects; however, some people can experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. In one report, a person who took very high amounts of turmeric, over 1500 mg twice daily, experienced a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm. However, it is unclear if turmeric was the actual cause of this side effect. Until more is known, avoid taking excessively large doses of turmeric.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Duringpregnancyand whilebreast-feeding, turmeric isLIKELY SAFEwhen taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. However, turmeric isLIKELY UNSAFEwhen taken by mouth in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. It might promote a menstrual period or stimulate theuterus, putting the pregnancy at risk. Do not take medicinal amounts of turmeric if you arepregnant. There is not enough information to rate the safety of medicinal amounts of turmeric during breast-feeding. It is best not to use it.

Gallbladder problems: Turmeric can make gallbladder problems worse. Do not use turmeric if you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction.

Bleeding problems: Taking turmeric might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: Curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Use with caution in people with diabetes as it might make blood sugar too low.

A stomach disorder called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Turmeric can cause stomach upset in some people. It might make stomach problems such as GERD worse. Do not take turmeric if it worsens symptoms of GERD.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which might act like the hormone estrogen. In theory, turmeric might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. However, some research shows that turmeric reduces the effects of estrogen in some hormone-sensitive cancer cells. Therefore, turmeric might have beneficial effects on hormone-sensitive conditions. Until more is known, use cautiously if you have a condition that might be made worse by exposure to hormones.

Infertility: Turmeric might lower testosterone levels and decrease sperm movement when taken by mouth by men. This might reduce fertility. Turmeric should be used cautiously by people trying to have a baby.

Iron deficiency: Taking high amounts of turmeric might prevent the absorption of iron. Turmeric should be used with caution in people with iron deficiency.

Surgery: Turmeric might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using turmeric at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Moderate
Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine EN-Tabs)

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Turmeric might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking turmeric along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking turmeric talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include some calcium channel blockers (diltiazem, nicardipine, verapamil), chemotherapeutic agents (etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine), antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole), glucocorticoids, alfentanil (Alfenta), cisapride (Propulsid), fentanyl (Sublimaze), lidocaine (Xylocaine), losartan (Cozaar), fexofenadine (Allegra), midazolam (Versed), and others.Turmeric might decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking turmeric along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.Turmeric might slow blood clotting. Taking turmeric along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.Turmeric might increase how much sulfasalazine (Azulfidine EN-Tabs) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking sulfasalazine (Azulfidine EN-Tabs) might increase the effects and side effects of sulfasalazine (Azulfidine EN-Tabs).

Tacrolimus (Prograf)

Turmeric might increase the amount of tacrolimus in the body. This can increase the side effects of tacrolimus and even damage the kidneys.

Talinolol

Turmeric might decrease how much talinolol the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking talinolol might decrease the effects and side effects of talinolol.

Minor
Docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere)

Turmeric might increase how much docetaxel (Docefrex, Taxotere) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking docetaxel (Docefrex, Taxotere) might increase the effects and side effects of docetaxel (Docefrex, Taxotere).

Norfloxacin (Noroxin)

Large amounts of turmeric might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, large amounts of turmeric are not as strong as estrogen pills. Taking turmeric along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Turmeric might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking turmeric along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking turmeric talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include chlorzoxazone (Lorzone), theophylline, and bufuralol.Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Turmeric might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking turmeric along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking turmeric talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.Some medications are moved by pumps in cells. Turmeric might make these pumps less active and increase how much of some medications get absorbed by the body. This might increase the amount of some medications in the body, which could lead to more side effects. But there is not enough information to know if this is a big concern.Some medications that are moved by these pumps include some chemotherapeutic agents (etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine), antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole), protease inhibitors (amprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir), H2 antagonists (cimetidine, ranitidine), some calcium channel blockers (diltiazem, verapamil), digoxin, corticosteroids, erythromycin, cisapride (Propulsid), fexofenadine (Allegra), cyclosporine, loperamide (Imodium), quinidine, and others.Turmeric might increase how much norfloxacin (Noroxin) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking norfloxacin (Noroxin) might increase the effects and side effects of norfloxacin (Noroxin).

Paclitaxel (Abraxane, Onxol)

Turmeric might increase how much paclitaxel (Abraxane, Onxol) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking paclitaxel (Abraxane, Onxol) might increase the effects and side effects of paclitaxel (Abraxane, Onxol). However, there is not enough information to know if this is a big concern.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional.