There are relatively few clinical research studies that can confirm turmeric's side effects. For centuries, it has been consumed in large quantities in food, with no adverse reactions reported. However, taken in medicinal doses, few side effects have been reported or theorized.
A Few Known Turmeric Side Effects
Turmeric has anti-clotting properties that may have an adverse effect if you have a blood-clotting disorder. It may inhibit platelet aggregation which may, theoretically, increase the risk of bleeding. This effect raises the concern that people who have a blood-clotting disorder or who are about to undergo surgery may have an increased risk of bleeding if they take turmeric in any supplement form.Some of the medications that may interact with turmeric include: Aspirin, Heparin, Plavix, Wafarin and NSAIDs like Celebrex, Motrin and Advil.
Turmeric is safe when taken in the recommended dosage. However, taking unusually high doses and long-term daily use have been found to increase the levels of stomach acid. As such, it may cause or aggravate heartburn, hyper-acidity, and stomach or intestinal ulcers. Just as with any other medication or supplement, it is essential that you follow the label directions and recommended dosages so as to derive the best - and safest - benefits of turmeric. This will also minimize the risk of side effects.
Animal studies have shown that high doses of turmeric may cause liver problems. Although there have not been similar studies conducted in humans, it is advisable to use minimal amounts of turmeric if you have a liver condition. There is also concern that turmeric may aggravate gallbladder and bile duct dysfunctions.
Turmeric may interact with a number of medications, and cause adverse side effects. In particular, there may be a turmeric drug interaction if used with anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medications, such as aspirin, heparin, and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If you are on any of these medications, you should consult your doctor before you take a turmeric supplement.
Turmeric is a uterine stimulant, so you must not use a turmeric supplement without your doctor's express approval if you are pregnant. Although it is thought to be safe for culinary purposes, there are concerns that taking it in higher medicinal doses may stimulate pre-mature contractions of the uterus, causing a miscarriage. While there is no actual clinical evidence that this may occur, it is highly advisable that you seek your doctor's advice if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Using it in moderation in your diet is probably fine.
Unknown Effects on a Breast Feeding Infant
While it is considered safe for breastfeeding women to consume turmeric in their food, there are no clinical studies that can verify whether or not it is safe for them to take it in medicinal doses. It is not yet known if turmeric's active components pass through to the infant through breast milk and, if so, whether they would do any harm to the child.
Other Turmeric Side Effects
- Skin rash if applied topically
Who Else Should Avoid Turmeric?
- If you have a known allergy to spices with yellow food coloring or to ginger and any other members of the Zingiberaceae family
- If you suffer from any of these diseases or conditions, you should also avoid taking turmeric in medicinal doses or talk to your physician prior to using it:
- Obstructive jaundice
- Acute bilious colic
- Gall bladder obstructions
Historical use and a few research studies show that most people can tolerate turmeric in low doses fairly well, with little or no side effects. It is essential, however, to keep in mind that, just because turmeric is a natural product with numerous health benefits, this does not mean that it is absolutely safe to use - several toxins and poisons are natural too. As with any herbal supplement, it is important to consult with your doctor or other licensed healthcare provider before you take turmeric in any supplement form.