Turmeric, which contains an active compound called curcumin, is a type of spice derived from the Curcuma longa shrub, native to India, Africa and regions of Asia. This golden spice is traditionally used as flavoring for food and dye for fabric. Additionally, turmeric may yield health benefits, such as improved digestion and reduced joint pain, when used as a medicinal supplement. However, additional research is necessary to support these purported health benefits of turmeric. Before taking turmeric capsules, talk with your medical provider about the potential side effects of this supplement.
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Short-term treatment with turmeric capsules typically doesn't cause noticeable side effects. Adults who consume more than the recommended 400mg to 3g of turmeric for prolonged periods of time may experience stomach discomfort as a side effect, the University of Maryland Medical Center says. Such stomach-related side effects include pain, nausea, indigestion and gas. In combination, these stomach upset side effects may contribute to a temporary decrease in appetite. Long-term use of turmeric supplements may also increase your risk of developing a stomach ulcer, which may cause chronic stomach pain or internal bleeding. If stomach discomfort persists or becomes severe while you are receiving treatment with turmeric capsules, consult your primary medical provider for further evaluation and care.
You may develop an allergic skin reaction after ingesting or handling a turmeric capsule. Small, red patches of skin may develop across your body. In certain cases, these patches of skin may become dry or begin itching. An allergic skin reaction may occur more frequently in people with allergies to ginger or yellow food coloring, the American Cancer Society says. Seek prompt care from your physician if skin rash side effects do not subside or increase in severity.
Discuss all medications you are taking with your health-care provider before beginning treatment with turmeric capsules. Turmeric may increase stomach acid production, which may decrease the effectiveness of drugs indicated to reduce stomach acid. Additionally, turmeric supplements should not be used in conjunction with blood-thinners or diabetes drugs, the UMMC says.
Talk with your doctor about any pre-existing health problems you may have before taking turmeric. Do not take turmeric capsules if you have a personal history of gallstones, bile duct obstruction or gastrointestinal disorders, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center advises. Improper use of turmeric capsules by people with such health concerns may increase the severity of their symptoms. Women who are pregnant or nursing should also avoid treatment with turmeric capsules.