The Dark Side of Turmeric: Side Effects of Turmeric That You Were Never Told About

Turmeric side effects

The dark side is a bit of an exaggeration, but there are some side effects of turmeric that you should be aware of. 

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is a plant that is actually part of the ginger family. Usually associated with South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, turmeric has actually been used medicinally for thousands of years. Here in the West, we are slowly catching up.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical compound that experts believe contributes to the herb’s amazing healing and antioxidant powers.

Benefits of Turmeric

Gastro Health: As well as a digestive aid, turmeric is said to be an effective natural treatment for inflammatory bowel disease – this includes IBS, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Recent studies have shown that turmeric, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, could benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Cancer: Preliminary trials have shown that curcumin may be able to prevent precancerous cells from developing, as well as destroy cancer cells and inhibit them from growing.

Neurodegenerative Conditions: There is some evidence to suggest that turmeric can potentially protect against diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

More: Turmeric is also used for:

  • colds
  • headaches
  • depression
  • water retention
  • lung infections
  • heartburn
  • cholesterol
  • skin conditions
  • the list goes on…

Side Effects of Turmeric 

It is pretty unlikely to suffer from any side effects when taking turmeric, although the risk is increased when using supplements. However, it is always good to be on the safe side.

Stomach Issues 

This is probably won’t happen to you from eating a curry or some other yummy delight. However, when taken in large quantities (usually through supplements) or taken for a long period of time, turmeric can cause gastrointestinal (stomach) problems.

Mild gastrointestinal side effects of turmeric include an upset stomach, along with diarrhea and nausea. A more serious side effect of prolonged turmeric is a stomach ulcer, but again, this is not a very common side effect.


Turmeric is considered a natural blood thinner. Therefore, large doses of turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding. This is especially true for those on certain medications, such as blood thinners. As well as those with blood clotting disorders.

  • Turmeric (all forms) should be avoided for at least two weeks before surgery.
  • Do not take turmeric if you are on blood thinners.

Lowers Blood Pressure

While there has not been much research done into the effects of turmeric and blood pressure, early research indicates that it can potentially lower blood pressure. This is great for the average person who wants to reduce their blood pressure a little but not good for those on blood pressure medication.

  • Avoid turmeric if you are taking medication for your blood pressure.

Uterine Stimulant

Turmeric is a mild emmenagogue herb.   The Oxford Dictionary state that  an emmenagogue is ‘a  substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow.’ Ideal if you want to induce your period, but not good if you are pregnant as it can cause premature uterine contractions.

  • Don’t take turmeric if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Drug Interactions 

Turmeric has been known to interact with medication. So, it is important if you are on medication to consult with your doctor before using turmeric therapeutically.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric may interact with the following medication:

  • stomach acid medication: Cimetidine (Tagamet), Famotidine (Pepcid), Ranitidine (Zantac), Esomeprazole (Nexium), Omeprazole, Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • blood-thinning medication: warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin, etc
  • diabetes medication
  • NSAIDs

Final Thoughts…

It may not seem like it, but herbs can be pretty potent. A lot of herbs can do what medication can do, so it is no wonder they come with side effects, though a lot less which is what makes the herbal approach so great.

You are extremely unlikely to suffer from any adverse reactions from taking turmeric unless you are taking a crazy amount daily, or of course if you are taking the medication mentioned above.

Nevertheless, it is always better to consult a doctor before starting a new regime to ensure that you are not at risk from developing any reactions.

Have you ever suffered from any strange reactions taking turmeric?