Q. I have arthritis and some patches of psoriasis on my skin. I would like to try turmeric, but want to know if this would be worthwhile and if there are any interactions with prescription drugs.

A. Turmeric has been used to season food for thousands of years. Its medicinal properties have been recognized for nearly that long.

Some research indicates that turmeric and its primary component curcumin can ease the inflammation of psoriasis and arthritis (Current Opinion in Pharmacology, June 2007). It may also help prevent atherosclerosis and certain cancers.

We have discussed the benefits and risks of turmeric (curcumin) at length in our book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. It is available from public libraries, bookstores or online at this website. Turmeric may cause rashes in some sensitive individuals. It can also interact with anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin).

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  1. Beverly
    Reply

    I really wanted to try turmeric in an effort to hopefully lessen widespread body pain from supposedly lupus. I am not on any medications what-so-ever therefore felt good about giving it a try. Unfortunately on day three of taking 1/4 teaspoon in a smoothie I am having nosebleeds…so disappointed.

  2. Janet M.
    Reply

    Curcumin (turmeric) I believe has saved my husbands life. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010 and given three months to live. I read the MD Anderson was undergoing trials with Curcumin and decided to put him on it. Well, he is alive and well 4 years later – when 95 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die before 12 months.
    Yes, its a blood thinner so you have to be careful. My husband was on another blood thinner for arthritis (Mobic) and we asked that it be stopped so he could be on Curcumin. It was a very good decision. Google curcumin and whatever cancer you are interested in and the results are amazing. I have my husband on several supplements and alternatives, but I credit Curcumin with him still being here. Remember, it is very poorly absorbed – I give him coconut oil about five minutes before which increases the absorption – and never within 2 hours of food as gastric acids destroy it. We are believers.

  3. JZ
    Reply

    well I just did turmeric (chewed on 1/8 inch piece of raw root) two times within three days to whiten teeth… works pretty good for that but had a nose bleed yesterday morning… did turmeric again last night for third time and nosebleed an hour or so ago… I don’t get nosebleeds..
    so I searched internet and landed here.
    I am not on any blood thinners but do have a genetically compromised liver with missing genes.

  4. KMartin
    Reply

    I started taking Turmeric, as I read that it can be a natural way to ease a pilonidal cyst. I took 1 capsule per day for two days and broke out in a rash on my left shoulder. Its very painful, but I stopped taking it 3 days ago. Hopefully it goes away.

  5. wendy
    Reply

    I’ve been taking turmeric for a severe case of dried split skin on my hands I also have psoriatic arthritis. I have been taking two pills a day now I have a itchy rash on my arms that I didn’t have before I think l should try to come off the turmeric to see if this is the cause of the rash. I have had great success with the results on my dry splitting skin on my hands it also helped considerably with my arthritis. l used to take ibuprofen every day I haven’t taken any in weeks I really hope my rash on my arms isn’t from the turmeric because it really does work I’ll let you know my results of coming off the turmeric.

  6. JV
    Reply

    I wanted more information about whether Curamin interacts in a dangerous way with Coumadin/Warfarin. Is there anything that is safe to take for pain while taking warfarin?
    People’s Pharmacy response: We worry about this combination. For occasional pain relief, acetaminophen is often recommended. But for chronic use, a home remedy may be less likely to interact.

  7. z
    Reply

    I took tumeric, in powder form, and got bad gastrointestinal disturbances! cramping and diarreah. beware of the side effects of tumeric!!!

  8. LS
    Reply

    I started taking approximately one fourth teaspoon Turmeric with my morning smoothies about six months ago. I have now developed a rash on my thighs and calves that looks like measles. I don’t know what it is from, it doesn’t itch but seems to be getting more extensive. I think it would be a good idea to stop taking the Turmeric for awhile and see if that is the offending article.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: SOME PEOPLE DO DEVELOP ALLERGY TO TURMERIC. THE RASH IS A SIGN YOU SHOULD STOP.

  9. Cathy E
    Reply

    I tried turmeric for psoriasis after reading an article on your web site. I am amazed by the relief it has given me. My foot is 100% better in less than two weeks. My doctor wanted to put me on a drug that had dangerous side effects and was extremely expensive. Now I don’t have to worry about any side effects! Thanks for your help!

  10. Jaideep D.
    Reply

    I am amazed at this controversy over the use of turmeric. As an a person who is South Asian and whose mother has been on Coumadin for the past decade turmeric has not impacted her whatsoever. She consumes primarily Indian food which always contains turmeric on a daily basis twice a day. I think the authors should be careful to say not to use turmeric but rather suggest measuring and adjusting other dietary things before concluding that turmeric is bad for people using blood thinners. It is fine as long as you balance other aspects of your diet that you doctor needs to advise you on. There are millions of people in South Asia who consume Warferin that do consume Turmeric daily and still do fine.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IF THIS IS A STANDARD PART OF YOUR MOTHER’S DIET, THE DOSE ADJUSTMENT FOR COUMADIN WILL HAVE TAKEN THAT INTO ACCOUNT. TROUBLE ARISES WHEN SOMEONE SUDDENLY INCREASES THE AMOUNT OF TURMERIC OR OTHER FOODS THAT MAY INTERACT WITH COUMADIN.

  11. ATT
    Reply

    I started to break out in a rash on my ankles 5 yrs ago. It started the night my mother died. 2 yrs later while telling a friends about the rash, I was overheard by a dermatologist, he interrupted me and suggested it was psorasis. It was confirmed by another dermatologist.
    After many medications, I read an article, I think in your column about turmeric. Within 3 months it was gone. At first I was sprinkling a teaspoon on my cereal each morning. When I noticed my toothbrush getting yellow. I then inquired in the Health Food Store and discovered it came in capsules. I take one each morning.
    If I notice a new outbreak I will take a capsule 2 times a day until it settles down.

  12. Paula
    Reply

    I’ve been in pain for years in my lower back
    and have tried EVERYTHING I could find both natural and from the Doctor. I’ve been on turmeric 3 pills a day now for 2 months and can REALLY tell the difference. i have my life back thanks to Turmeric.

  13. J D
    Reply

    I want to try Curcumin for my psorasis. I am 63 and have had it since I was 11. I don’t know how many milligrams to take each day and I wonder if I should be taking one with bromelain and boswella. I also wonder if any of these will affect my acid reflux problem. I take one prilosec each day. I love reading your column and would greatly appreciate your help.
    Thank you, J D

  14. I Believe
    Reply

    Turmeric is excellent for nerve damage. I had a pinch nerve in my neck. I went to the E.R. the doctors told me they have no pain killer for nerves, but they gave me a high power pain pill. Those high power pain pills almost killed me, I had a reaction to them and it set the nerve on fire. The pain was so great I cried all the time and I couldn’t sleep, a few minutes here and there for 14 days. That’s when I found out I was having a bad reactions to the pain pills. As soon as I stop the pain pills, the pain eased up some. I called my health store and ask if there was any thing to help the pain in my neck.
    She said yes, Turmeric, so I got a bottle and with the very first pill I could feel the pain going away. Now the catch to taking Turmeric is in a combination formula. I use Solaray, Turmic Special Formular, it combines Turmeric with Bromelain and Boswella, this brand gas never upset my stomach, I take the 3 pills a day. It is great for a lot of problems, I would tell anyone to try the Solaray Brand and see if it works as well for them as it has for me. I have been taking this brand for 5 years.
    God Bless

  15. John Hilton
    Reply

    I’ve had psoriasis for about 4 years now, in difficult and sensitive areas. It took me almost 2 years to figure out what it was. I’ve done TONS of research on the disease, its effects, and treatments. I know the side effects of normal medical treatment and I do not want to go through that. I’ve tried many different lifestyle changes and none have had a notable effect for any more than a couple of days.
    I’ve worked around health food and health food stores for several years. Before my psoriasis got out of control, I was working out everyday and in great physical shape. Now everytime I even start to become physically active I hurt, a lot. It doesn’t even seem worth it.
    At the moment I am trying a new dietary change which eliminates sugars and as much starch and carbs from my diet as possible. I drink nothing but water (filtered), tea, and occasional coffee (as a treat, not for the pick-me-up). I cook or prepare all my own food. If it comes in a box and just needs to be warmed up; I don’t eat it. I also shower with Pine Tar Soap. It is the only soap I have found that does not make my skin burn when I clean my affected spots. The idea is that my liver is over toxified and this is an effort to clear it out. I’ve seen very little results, that again, have lasted for no more than a couple of days.
    My mom told me about curry and how it eased psoriasis suffuring. I looked into it and found turmeric and the curcumin. I would like to find out a little more information about possible dosage and whether I should try the turmeric root or the curcumin instead. Any information would be great. Thank You.

  16. br
    Reply

    I have guttate psoriasis and started to take turmeric capsules after reading about it in the paper in your column. It was starting to help, but made my stomach HURT, so I had to stop taking it. I took it with food. What else can I do?

  17. jemastri
    Reply

    Would a topical solution of turmeric and water (don’t know how much) help scalp psoriasis? Thanks in advance for any replies.

  18. Renee Mazon
    Reply

    I took tumeric as a paste… and felt really sick the next morning. However, I knew of its heaing powers and decided to just take a capsule. Yep, the next morning I felt really sick. I stopped it and felt fine. I am NOT on any blood thinners.

  19. alice mayo
    Reply

    This is my third attempt to warn folks of the potential severe nose bleeding from turmeric, especially if you’re on blood thinners such as .81 aspirin.

  20. Michele Missner
    Reply

    After listening to your show and reading various things about the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric, I called a local health food store about getting some. I had been having lower back pain and hip pain chronically off and on and mostly on within the past 10 months. I figured why not try it? I bought the brand “Curamin” from EuroPharma, Inc.
    We were just starting on a trip to Italy and I was very nervous about the effects of the flight on my back. I started taking the pills a day before we left, and have continued, reducing the dose to a couple of pills a week. My pain has mostly disappeared. I have also been drinking pineapple juice so maybe the combination has more of an effect, but I am convinced that the Curamin is working for me.

  21. GH
    Reply

    After reading this article, I got some ground turmeric at our local health food store.
    My friend, who has a terrible case of psoriasis, started taking it 2 days ago w/ his coffee & we’ll proably put it in food, too. We’re really hoping this will work for him!
    But, we don’t know exactly how much to use. It would be a shame if he took 1/4 tsp when it should really be 1/2 tsp & we think it’s not working!
    Please let us know how much & how often to take the turmeric.
    thanks so much.

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