TURMERIC OVERVIEW INFORMATION
Turmeric is a plant. 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 is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems.
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 does it work?
The chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling (inflammation).
Possibly Effective for:
- Alzheimer’s disease. Early research shows that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for 6 months does not benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Eye inflammation (anterior uveitis). Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, might improve symptoms of long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye.
- Colorectal cancer. Early research suggests that taking turmeric might stabilize some measures for colon cancer. There is also early evidence that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for 30 days can reduce the number of precancerous glands in the colon of people at high risk of cancer.
- Bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft surgery). Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, 3 days before surgery and continuing for 5 days after surgery can lower the risk of a heart attack following bypass surgery.
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease. Some evidence suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for one month can reduce bowel movements, diarrhea, and stomach pain in people with Crohn’s disease.
- Diabetes. Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 9 months can reduce the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes.
- Stomach upset (dyspepsia). Some research shows that taking turmeric by mouth might help improve an upset stomach.
- Gum disease (gingivitis). Early research suggests that using a turmeric mouthwash is as effective as a drug-therapy mouthwash for reducing gum disease and bacteria levels in the mouth, but not for reducing plaque.
- Stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection. Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 4 weeks is less effective than conventional treatment for eliminating certain bacteria (H. pylori) that can cause stomach ulcers.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research suggests that taking a turmeric extract daily for 8 weeks reduces the occurrence of IBS in people with IBS who are otherwise healthy.
- Skin rash (Lichen planus). Taking a certain product containing chemicals found in turmeric daily for 12 days can reduce skin irritation caused by lichen planus.
- Kidney inflammation (Lupus nephritis). Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 3 months can reduce blood pressure and improve kidney function in people with kidney inflammation.
- Stomach ulcers (peptic ulcer disease). Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 4 weeks does help heal stomach ulcers.
- Itchy skin (pruritus). Early research suggests that taking a specific product (C3 Complex) that contains curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, and an extract of black or long pepper (Bioperine) can reduce skin itching and improve quality of life in people with chronic itching.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research suggests that curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, might help reduce some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Skin wounds due to cancer. Early research suggests that applying a turmeric ointment might help to relieve odor and itching caused by wounds associated with different types of cancer.
- Recover from surgery. Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for up to one week after surgery can reduce pain, fatigue, and the need for pain medications.
- Tuberculosis. Early research suggests that taking a product containing turmeric and Tinospora cordifolia can reduce bacteria levels, improve wound healing, and reduce liver toxicity in people with tuberculosis who are also receiving antituberculosis therapy.
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis. Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, daily for up to 6 months can reduce symptoms and the recurrence of ulcerative colitis when used in combination with conventional treatments.
- Liver and gallbladder problems.
- Menstrual problems.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate turmeric for these uses.
TURMERIC SIDE EFFECTS & SAFETY
Turmeric is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin appropriately for up to 8 months.
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.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: During pregnancy and while breast-feeding, turmeric is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. However, turmeric is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. It might promote a menstrual period or stimulate the uterus, putting the pregnancy at risk. Do not take medicinal amounts of turmeric if you are pregnant. 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.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with TURMERIC
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.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
BY MOUTH: For upset stomach (dyspepsia): 500 mg of turmeric four times daily.
For osteoarthritis: 500 mg twice daily of a specific turmeric extract (Meriva, Indena); 500 mg four times daily of a non-commercial product has also been used.
For rheumatoid arthritis (RA): 500mg twice daily of a specific formulation of the turmeric constituent, curcumin (BCM-95®, Arjuna Natural Extracts, India), has been used.