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).