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Turmeric is a common spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa. It contains a chemical called curcumin, which might reduce swelling.

Turmeric has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. Because curcumin and other chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling, it is often used to treat conditions that involve pain and inflammation.

People commonly use turmeric for osteoarthritis. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, a type of liver disease, and itching, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using turmeric for COVID-19.

Don't confuse turmeric with Javanese turmeric root or tree turmeric. Also, don't confuse it with zedoary or goldenseal, which are unrelated plants that are sometimes called turmeric.

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.
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  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever).  Oral turmeric seems to improve symptoms in people with allergic rhinitis.
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  • Depression.  Most research shows that oral curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, 1 gram daily improves symptoms of depression after 6 weeks when taken along with an antidepressant. However, it is unclear whether curcumin is beneficial when used for greater than 8 weeks.
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  • Hyperlipidemia.  Oral turmeric or curcuminoids seem to reduce triglycerides, but the effects on other lipid parameters are inconclusive. Reasons for the conflicting findings may relate to turmeric formulation, duration of treatment, and/or the baseline cholesterol status of the included patients.
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  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).  Oral curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, seems to attenuate fat deposition and improve metabolic parameters in adults with NAFLD.
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  • Oral mucositis.  Oral curcumin, as well as curcumin-containing mouthwash, seem to reduce the development of severe oral mucositis associated with radiotherapy treatment.
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  • Osteoarthritis.  Some turmeric extracts and combination products containing turmeric seem to improve certain symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Additional clinical research shows that turmeric might be comparable to ibuprofen 400 mg 2-3 times daily for reducing knee pain. However, it does not seem to be beneficial when used as an adjunct to diclofenac 25 mg daily.
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  • Pruritus.  Oral turmeric has been evaluated for the management of pruritus of various etiologies, with promising results.
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  • Alzheimer disease.  Neither oral turmeric nor its constituent curcumin appear to improve cognitive function or attenuate cognitive decline in adults with this condition.
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  • Peptic ulcers.  Oral turmeric does not seem to improve the healing of peptic or gastric ulcers when compared with placebo or liquid antacids.
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When taken by mouth: Turmeric is likely safe when used short-term. Turmeric products that provide up to 8 grams of curcumin daily seem to be safe when used for up to 2 months, Also, taking up to 3 grams of turmeric daily seems to be safe when used for up to 3 months. Turmeric usually doesn't cause serious side effects. Some people can experience mild side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. These side effects are more common at higher doses.

When applied to the skin: Turmeric is likely safe. It is possibly safe when turmeric is applied inside the mouth as a mouthwash.

When applied into the rectum: Turmeric is possibly safe when used as an enema.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Turmeric is commonly used in small amounts as a spice in foods. But it's likely unsafe to use larger amounts of turmeric as a medicine during pregnancy. It might cause a menstrual period or stimulate the uterus, putting the pregnancy at risk. Do not take medicinal amounts of turmeric if you are pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Turmeric is commonly used in small amounts as a spice in foods. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if turmeric is safe to use in medicinal amounts during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

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.

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, this might have 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. 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.

Liver disease: There is some concern that turmeric can damage the liver, especially in people who have liver disease. Don't use turmeric if you have liver problems.

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.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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.

Herbs and supplements that might damage the liver: Turmeric might harm the liver. Taking it with other supplements that can also harm the liver might increase the risk of liver damage. Examples of supplements with this effect include garcinia, greater celandine, green tea extract, kava, and kratom.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Turmeric might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: Turmeric might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.
Iron: 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.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Turmeric has most often been used by adults in doses of up to 1.5 grams daily for up to 9 months. It is also sometimes used in mouthwashes, gels, creams, and tonics. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Curcuma, Curcuma Aromatica, Curcuma Domestica, Curcumae Longa, Curcumae Longae Rhizoma, Curcumin, Curcumine, Curcuminoid, Curcuminoïde, Curcuminoïdes, Curcuminoids, Halada, Haldi, Haridra, Indian Saffron, Nisha, Pian Jiang Huang, Racine de Curcuma, Radix Curcumae, Rajani, Rhizoma Cucurmae Longae, Safran Bourbon, Safran de Batallita, Safran des Indes, Turmeric Root, Yu Jin.

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