Is Turmeric Safe for Children?

Turmeric is a food spice that gives curry and other Indian dishes their bright, vibrant color. It has also been used for centuries as an alternative treatment for myriad illnesses and medical conditions, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. When used as recommended, turmeric supplements are generally regarded as safe. But do not give your child supplements containing the herb without first consulting with a qualified health professional.

turmeric roots and powder (Image: MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images)

Pediatric Usage

No set dosage has been established for pediatric usage of turmeric, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. However, because dosage for drugs and supplements is typically determined by weight, you can determine a safe dose using the adult dosages. Adult dosages are often based on an average weight of 150 pounds. Therefore, if your child weighs 50 pounds, you should give him one-third of the adult dose. If he weights 100 pounds, you should give two-thirds of the adult dose. Always speak with a trusted medical professional to help you determine a safe dose for your child before administering turmeric supplements.

Dosage

Turmeric supplements are available in several forms, including tinctures and standardized extracts in capsules and tablets. The recommended adult dose for standardized extract is between 250 milligrams and 500 milligrams daily, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Using that dose, you can compute your child's dose by giving one-third -- 82.5 milligrams to 165 milligrams -- or two-thirds -- 165 milligrams to 330 milligrams. Do not give your child turmeric supplements without first consulting with a doctor about proper dosing.

Side Effects

Although generally regarded as safe when taken as directed, some people can develop side effects such as diarrhea or nausea when using the supplements, MedlinePlus reports. Additionally, long-term use of large doses of the herb may cause upset stomach and, more rarely, gastric ulcers. Always speak with a knowledgeable health professional before giving your child turmeric so you understand potential risks and benefits.

Warnings

Children with certain medical conditions should not use turmeric or should use extreme caution because of how it may affect other conditions. Gallbladder problems are rare in children, but a child with a gallbladder issue should never take turmeric because it may worsen the condition. In addition, turmeric can interfere with the body's ability to clot blood, so your child should not take it if she is scheduled to undergo surgery, MedlinePlus advises. Finally, the herb also may affect blood sugar levels and should not be used in children being treated for diabetes. Discuss your child's full medical history with a health professional before using turmeric supplements to improve her health.

Drug Interactions

Turmeric also may not be safe for use in children taking certain kinds of medications. Because it affects blood-clotting ability, do not give turmeric to your child if he is taking blood-thinning drugs or antiplatelet medications, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. It also should not be used in children who take medications designed to decrease the production of stomach acid, because the interaction may instead cause an increase in stomach acid production. Speak with your child's doctor before giving your child turmeric supplements.

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