Q. I know you have written about taking turmeric for psoriasis. My fingernails are falling out from this condition. I would like to try turmeric. Is it safe?

A. There is growing interest in turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin for treating a variety of inflammatory conditions including psoriasis. One reader shared the following: “I had psoriasis on my feet and my hands so bad that I lost all the nails on my fingers. I went to doctor after doctor for my psoriasis but nothing worked.

“Then I saw your article on turmeric. I started to put it in my food and my coffee and within two weeks the psoriasis was better. Within three weeks, it was gone. My foot is no longer scaly and the nails on my hands grew back.

“I told the doctor about this but he didn't believe me. Thanks to you I have been free of psoriasis for six months.”

Not everyone will benefit as this reader did and there are cautions. Some people experience skin rash or liver enzyme elevations. Turmeric may also interact with Coumadin (warfarin) and increase the risk of bleeding. A new study shows that turmeric increases oxalate in the urine, so it may increase the risk of kidney stones in susceptible people (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May, 2008).

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  1. mje
    Reply

    Would the herb turmeric be safe to take when having a high kidney count?
    My last test @ one month ago showed 31.
    Appreciate an answer.
    Thank you

  2. lmcarthur
    Reply

    Hi, I currently have RA. I’m taking methotrexate but has not started working yet. Was on prednisone but because of side effects I quit taking it. I want to start Turmeric and wondering if any interactions with methotrexate or anyone else have experience with these drugs?
    People’s Pharmacy response: This combination has been tested in animals (with good results), but apparently not yet in humans.

  3. Mary H.
    Reply

    I have atrial fibrillation. It’s well-controlled but I take a baby aspirin a day as a blood thinner. The aspirin causes constant bruising on the backs of my hands and arms. I tried stopping it and the bruises went away. Would turmeric or curcumin have the same anti-coagulation effect as aspirin? I’d love to stop taking the aspirin.
    Thanks.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE DON’T BELIEVE THAT CURCUMIN CAN BE SUBSTITUTED FOR ASPIRIN. THE ASPIRIN IS IMPORTANT FOR STROKE PREVENTION.

  4. Roger D
    Reply

    Many thanks for your response, above.
    Presumably, the oxalate issue with turmeric would be satisfied by using curcumin instead. Less tasty, though. And who knows what benefits of other substances in turmeric might be lost.
    Is anything known about the response of the liver to curcumin vs turmeric? Perhaps some other substance in turmeric is responsible for the liver enzyme elevation issue some people report.
    Any news about ongoing studies that we might follow?
    Thanks in advance!

  5. Michele B
    Reply

    I have used turmeric with great success as far as an anti inflammatory and weight loss, but it always raises my liver levels. I’ve decreased the dosage and how often I take it but my levels raise again. Is there anything else I could take that would be safer for me?

  6. Roger D
    Reply

    In an admittedly short study (6 months) with a small number of participants (me) it appears that consuming tumeric has helped my sebhorreic dermatitis. A couple of concerns:
    * I note that oxalate increased in urine according to one study. Yet I find no sources indicating that turmeric has a high oxalate content. Puzzling. Could it be that turmeric helps the kidneys rid the body of oxalate from other sources?
    * Is turmeric known to have any blood-thinning effects of its own? Interaction with Coumadin is listed as an issue. I take a baby aspirin daily to accomplish a little bit of blood thinning. Any news on interaction with aspirin? If turmeric also does blood thinning, and I’m using it in quantity, I could do without the aspirin. Thanks in advance!
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE OXALATE IN TURMERIC IS ESPECIALLY WELL ABSORBED.
    WE DON’T KNOW IF TURMERIC WOULD INTERACT WITH ASPIRIN. WE HAVE NOT SEEN ANY REPORTS TO THAT EFFECT.

  7. sharon s.
    Reply

    I mixed turmeric with vaseline and applied it liberally to psoriasis on soles of the feet and fingers. It cleared it up completley. But it did stain the skin yellow–initially more than later as the rash got better.There is a preparation called Psoriagold available in the US which does the same. One can google it and the website from which to order it will appear. I used turmeric caps which I opened and used the powder inside. It worked so well.

  8. T R
    Reply

    Turmeric has done more for me than methotrexate, and I can get on a bus with a pregnant woman! I have had psoriasis since the age of 5 and am now 68. It is genetic from my mother’s line.

  9. Martha
    Reply

    Please elaborate on turmeric and increased bleeding. I do not take coumadin but I do have ITP (very low platelet count) for which I take prednisone. I have been taking cumurin 3X daily for inflammation. It was my understanding that turmeric had no high limit and would cause no problems.

  10. Danny
    Reply

    I read the article on turmeric and psoriasis. Bought some at GNC and have been on the toilet ever since. Psoriasis is still there.

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