Turmeric, also known as Curcuma Longa, is one of the main spices in the famous Indian dish curry, but that’s not why the whole world knows it for. Perhaps the unique characteristic of turmeric is that it is considered to be a very effective fighter against disease.
Due to its extremely effective medicinal properties, the wonder herb ranks among the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in the world of medicine. Over 11 thousand research paper issues related to turmeric are published in various medical journals and conferences.
So, is that a typo in the title of this article? No, neither have we mistaken the title nor are you reading it incorrectly. Numerous cases in the medical world have shown that excessive use of anything – even if it is originally very beneficial for health – can lead to unwanted side effects.
Even the most powerful medicinal herb isn’t a stranger to such cases and it is important that people should know about the side effects of turmeric from prolonged usage.
1. GERD And Stomach Issues
While the herb is practically harmless if consumed as a part of a cooked dish, the use of turmeric for chronic conditions may lead to gastrointestinal problems. Turmeric is also known to cause gastrointestinal issues if high doses of it are consumed for longer time periods.
Not only the herb itself, but turmeric supplements are also known to lead to gastrointestinal issues, especially in adults. Although the most common reason for that is ingesting higher-than-recommended dosage for extended periods of time.
Also, if you are suffering from hyperacidity or dyspepsia, turmeric usage is a big no-no for you. The herb is also known to cause indigestion and heartburn. The best way to protect yourself from this side effect is to consume turmeric within the recommended dosage. You can easily find recommendations on the internet but it would be wiser if you consulted your doctor.
2. Turmeric’s Impact On Breastfeeding and Pregnant Women
The University of Maryland Medical Center urges pregnant women to only consume turmeric as a spice in food dishes. The renowned medical hub also strictly recommends that pregnant women shouldn’t use turmeric supplements. Moreover, if you are allergic to the herb, it would be best to avoid it completely during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, gateway researches are available for the impact of turmeric on breastfeeding and pregnant women but there isn’t enough information to make a safe decision. As this time period is very crucial for the mother and the baby, many doctors recommend avoiding turmeric during this period of time entirely than to take the risk.
The side-effects of turmeric on breastfeeding women are unknown while its effects on pregnant women are also vague. Due to the critical nature of these periods of time, it would be wise to avoid turmeric entirely until further discoveries on the matter.
3. Increased Risk Of Gallbladder Contractions
Oxalate is a chemical that is known to cause an increase in the risk of gallstones. Unfortunately, oxalate is a constituent of turmeric and is present in the herb in significant amounts, which ultimately increases the risk of developing gallstones in the consumer’s body.
Prolonged usage of the herb definitely plays a significant role in increasing the possibility of a higher risk factor. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that the subjects who were consuming turmeric had increased amounts of oxalate in urine as compared to the ones who had been taking a placebo.
High dosage of turmeric supplements (20 – 40 mg) is also credited with increasing the risk of development of gallstones. If you are on medication for gallbladder problems or if you have any type of gallbladder issues, you should stop consuming turmeric and seek a specialist’s advice.
4. Increased Risk Of Kidney Stones
Again, the oxalates are the culprit here. High levels of oxalate are heavily linked to the development of kidney stones. The chemical reacts with calcium to form calcium oxalate, an insoluble chemical compound that is one of the primary reasons for kidney stones.
A study conducted by a coalition of scholars from the Department of Family Consumer Sciences and the University of Wyoming aimed to identify any impacts on the variation in oxalate levels in the urine of subjects who were using turmeric and the subjects who were consuming cinnamon. The study concluded that turmeric usage results in higher oxalate levels as compared to cinnamon, making the consumers of turmeric more prone to developing kidney stones.
High levels of oxalate present in turmeric ultimately make this highly-beneficial herb dangerous for the health of the consumer. If your body is prone to the development of kidney stones, you should strictly stay away from turmeric.
5. Allergies And Turmeric
A study conducted by Alison Y. Tam and colleagues concluded that turmeric may be a contact allergen for some people. People who are allergic to turmeric are often diagnosed with hives and contact dermatitis after their skin comes in contact with the herb. Hives (also known as urticaria) and contact dermatitis are alarming skin issues.
Are you allergic to turmeric? People who are allergic to ginger may be allergic to turmeric because both of them are of the same family. You may also be allergic to turmeric if you are allergic to yellow food coloring.
People who are allergic to turmeric are prone to an allergic reaction from both, contact and ingestion of turmeric. The herb is also known to cause shortness of breath and skin issues like rashes. So, if you are allergic to yellow food coloring or ginger, chances are that you would be allergic to turmeric too.
6. Turmeric’s Interaction With Medications And Herbs
A number of medications have the tendency of reacting with turmeric, causing harm to the body. It would be a smart move to stay away from turmeric if you are currently taking any of the following medicines:
Medication for Diabetes patients.
Medication for blood thinning such as aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel, and more.
Any sort of medication that is responsible to reduce stomach acid. These include cimetidine (found in Tagamet), lansoprazole (found in Prevacid), ranitidine (found in Zantac), esomeprazole (found in Nexium), famotidine (found in Pepcid), and omeprazole (found in Prilosec).
Turmeric is also very reactive when introduced to some particular herbs. The impact of turmeric on mixing with herbs like ginger and black pepper is not very clear right now, but suspicions are high on the matter. Do consult your doctor before deciding to combine turmeric with any of the two herbs in your food.
7. Diarrhea And Nausea
Diarrhea and nausea are the two very commonly recognized symptoms that are linked to intake of turmeric supplementation. This problem is due to the presence of curcumin in turmeric. Curcumin has a tendency of irritating the gastrointestinal tract.
High doses of turmeric supplement for extended periods of time are almost guaranteed to result in gastrointestinal issues. Studies have shown that the intake of 3.6 – 8 gm of turmeric supplement per day for 4 months leads to mild nausea. 4.5-8 gram of turmeric supplement per day is a shockingly high dosage.
While the above-mentioned dosage is quite higher than what is usually recommended by doctors, some people are affected even by smaller doses of curcumin. The best practice to avoid such issues would be to stay within the recommended limit of turmeric per day and seek medical help instantly if you observe any of the two symptoms.
8. Lower Blood Pressure
What can be a benefit of consuming the right amount of turmeric can quickly cross the line of medical danger if the dosage is increased. Turmeric’s ability to drop blood pressure is actually beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
However, prolonged usage and high doses of turmeric can lead to alarmingly low blood pressure. It is important for people with blood pressure issues to have knowledge about this side-effect of turmeric and the balance between the herb and the medication that they are currently on to control their high blood pressure.
Blood pressure medication combined with the blood-pressure-lowering ability of turmeric can result in a double drop in blood pressure. If you have blood pressure issues or are on medication which is responsible to help you with your blood pressure issues, it is imperative that you seek medical help to determine the right balance between the two.
9. Higher Chance of Bleeding
High dosage of turmeric intake or usage of turmeric for prolonged periods of time is also significantly linked to bleeding issues. Turmeric affects the blood clotting time in the body, which may lead to an elevated risk of bruising and bleeding in people who are currently having blood disorders.
While it may not seem like a huge problem, the speed of your body being able to form a blood clot on the surface of the bleeding area matters a lot. Delays in blood clotting will lead to loss of blood. The herb is also known to react vigorously with certain medications and results in excessive bleeding.
Consuming turmeric when on a medication for any type of bleeding disorder could turn out to be a very bad idea. We would also recommend that you consult your doctor if you are on any other medication and wish to use turmeric.
10. Iron Deficiency
According to a lot of studies on the matter, turmeric contains compounds that have a high tendency of binding with iron. Once the iron in your blood is bound to these compounds, the body’s ability to absorb iron from the food is decreased.
Iron deficiency in a body can act as a root cause for a lot of health issues which is why you should be very considerate when taking turmeric. If you are already deficient in iron, you should avoid turmeric and seek medical consultation.
If you are planning to include turmeric in your diet, you should let a specialist examine your iron levels and recommend the right dosage of turmeric for you. Keep in mind that you may be recommended to not use turmeric at all if your doctor spots iron deficiency inside your body. Turmeric is considered a miraculous herb, but if its causing harm to your health, you should let it go.