Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a popular spice which has been used over 4.000 years for treating numerous health conditions, including cancer. There are many studies conducted in test tubes and animals which have proved its powerful medicinal properties.
Turmeric is widely used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to fight inflammations, to treat digestive and liver disorders, as well as countless skin conditions and wounds.
Generally, turmeric is considered as safe when taken at moderate doses. However, taking turmeric in excess amounts for a longer period of time can lead to certain health complications, including stomach disorders and even ulcer.
The recommended dose of turmeric is less than 500 mg per day. For optimal results and minimal side effects, it is recommended that you do not exceed 1500 mg in a day, which is twice r thrice the recommended dose. For turmeric roots, it is recommended to be taken in a dose up to 3 g.
Turmeric Side Effects
Due to its strong effects, turmeric can cause numerous health issues when taken in excessive amounts. Clinical studies have shown that the side effects of turmeric can range from mild inflammation to severe cardiac arrhythmias with fatal consequences.
Here are some of the commonly known turmeric side effects:
- Gallbladder Problems
According to study data, turmeric taken in normal dosage is very effective in treating numerous digestive disorders. It has the ability to normalize the gallbladder function by stimulating the secretion of certain digestive enzymes which control the function of gallbladder ducts. However, when taken in excessive amount it can lead to worsening of gall and liver conditions, including acute Cholecystitis (inflammation of gallbladder), biliary obstruction, and gallstones. Therefore, in these cases it is recommended that you consult your doctor before taking turmeric even in moderate doses in order to prevent further complications.
- Stomach and Gastrointestinal Problems
A small dose of turmeric as a part of cooked curry does not cause inflammation or gastric irritation. However, some people who consume turmeric for treating chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or joint pain, are likely to develop gastrointestinal disorders. Turmeric has mild acidic properties and therefore it has the ability to stimulate the secretion of stomach acid. People who are diagnosed with hyperacidity or dyspepsia should limit their turmeric consumption and avoid taking it in high doses. Particularly vulnerable group of people are smokers and individuals who are under steroidal and anti-inflammatory therapies and they can experience the following side effects: indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, dyspepsia and peptic ulcers. Medical experts recommend drinking large amounts of water in order to prevent turmeric buildup in the stomach lining. Try to consume it exclusively with food.
- Liver Issues
Excess turmeric intake can lead to liver disorders such as jaundice and indigestion. According to animal studies, turmeric has harmful effects on animal hepatocytes. Even though there are no current studies which can confirm the toxic effect of turmeric on humans, it is recommended that you take it only in normal doses. People with liver problems should try to stay away for turmeric.
- Allergic Reactions
In general, turmeric is safe for people of all age when consumed in recommended doses (max 1500mg in a day). However, in some cases high or even normal dose of turmeric can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion. Ointments and lotions which contain turmeric can cause allergic skin reactions such as burning sensations and rash. In more severe cases, it can lead to hives, contact dermatitis and anaphylaxis.
Turmeric has the ability to thin the blood and inhibit thrombus formation which in certain cases can lead to bleeding. It also has an influence on coagulation factors from the liver and is not recommended for people who are susceptible to bleeding or have inborn disorders of coagulation.
- Uterine Contractions
Turmeric is not recommended for pregnant women and for those you are trying to conceive because it stimulates the uterine muscles. Therefore, it can lead to vaginal bleeding, miscarriage and premature uterine contractions.
- Drug Interactions
Turmeric may have interactions with certain medications. People who are under anticoagulation therapy and are taking aspirin, warfarin and clopidogrel should avoid turmeric. Furthermore, it can interfere with the function of some non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications. Also, turmeric has the ability to reduce blood sugar levels. Therefore, people with diabetes who are under hypoglycemic therapy should not use turmeric because it can lead to severely low blood sugar levels which can have life-threatening consequences.