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.
Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders.
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.
Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness inside of the mouth, and infected wounds.
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).
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for TURMERIC are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate turmeric for these uses.
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.
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.
Interaction Rating = Minor Be watchful with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.
Turmeric might increase how much abraxane (Paclitaxel) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking abraxane (Paclitaxel) might increase the effects and side effects of abraxane (Paclitaxel). However, there is not enough information to know if this is a big concern.
Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.
Turmeric might increase how much Azulfidine EN-Tabs (Sulfasalazine) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking Azulfidine EN-Tabs (Sulfasalazine) might increase the effects and side effects of Azulfidine EN-Tabs (Sulfasalazine).
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, theophylline, and bufuralol.
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 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.
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 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 noroxin (Norfloxacin) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking noroxin (Norfloxacin) might increase the effects and side effects of noroxin (Norfloxacin).
Turmeric might decrease how much Talinolol the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking Talinolol might decrease the effects and side effects of Talinolol.
Turmeric might increase how much taxotere (Docetaxel) the body absorbs. Taking turmeric while taking taxotere (Docetaxel) might increase the effects and side effects of taxotere (Docetaxel).
Turmeric might lower blood sugar. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that have the same effect might cause blood sugar to drop too low in some people. Some of these products include devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.
Turmeric might slow blood clotting. Taking turmeric along with herbs that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. These herbs include angelica, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, red clover, willow, and others.
Turmeric and curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, might prevent the body from absorbing iron. This does not appear to occur when turmeric is consumed in levels commonly found in food. However, in theory, taking high doses of turmeric or curcumin might decrease the body's absorption of iron.
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