bowl of turmeric spice

Q. Turmeric increases the anticoagulant effect of Coumadin. I have been on Coumadin for 15 years because of an artificial aortic valve.

I had read that turmeric was effective in lowering cholesterol and began sprinkling it on broccoli. My INR went up dramatically and my pharmacist said, “STOP!” Have there been any studies on the blood-thinning effect of turmeric?

A. You are not the first person to report this interaction between Coumadin (warfarin) and turmeric. Others have reported a spike in their INR lab values (a measure of blood anticoagulation) and we believe this is a dangerous combination. Our fear is that this could lead to a serious bleeding episode.

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  1. Cynthia
    Texas
    Reply

    My sister’s experience with Turmeric and Coumadin. My sister’s INR readings were at a steady 9 ml a day for a long time. A friend of ours introduced us to the natural herb Turmeric to help with her diabetes, which it did begin to lower. We started taking the Turmeric powder about a week before her next IRN lab. We received an alarming call from the lab at 6:15 am the next morning to please stop all Coumadin until we heard from her Dr. later that morning. I know we had not changed our routine with diet or exercise, when I remembered the one thing we had changed was adding a forth teaspoon of Turmeric with our morning’s meal.

    This is not to take away from the benefits of Turmeric, but because of the lab result, perhaps Turmeric and Coumadin should not be taken together. That’s all.

  2. RobB
    Brisbane
    Reply

    I am 61 years of age & have been taking 3-4 mgs daily of Warfarin for nearly 20 years. I have AF Atrial Fibrillation & have recently been diagnosed with AS Ankylosing Spondylitis – an autoimmune arthritus.
    I know the Warfarin keeps my INR around 2.1 to 2.4 regularly & improves my chances of not having a stroke but it gives me no joint relief.
    I am seriously considering taking Turmeric (Curcumin BP )in conjunction with the Warfarin. The Curcumin comes in 1100 mg tablets.
    I planned to take 1 Curcumin morning & night & 2 mg Warfarin once at night.
    I also plan to have regular INR tests.
    Has anyone out there tried this approach?
    All input appreciated.
    Regards
    RobB

  3. marvin
    Newton MA.
    Reply

    I have been taking Curcumin Complex for 4 years years as a result of reading that studies at M.D. Anderson may possibly have an effect in treating M.G.U.S. I advised my oncologist at Dana Farber and have noted that during the past 10 years there have been no appreciable increase in paraproteins.

    Since the Mgus remains stable, tested twice per year and have not noticed any problem with excessive bleeding even with dental treatment, I plan to continue taking 875mg twice daily. I also take an 81 mg. aspirin daily. I hope my decision is prudent.

  4. Carolyn
    Florida
    Reply

    I have just started taking Curcumin BCM95….are there any side effects if I also take 1 (81mg) baby aspirin a day?

    • Moto
      Elsewhere..
      Reply

      Right on brother and all the power to you (Y) Oh, and also > thank you!

  5. Elizabeth
    Reply

    I have been on Coumadin for perhaps 7-8 years for arrhythmia, 2.5 Mg. daily, with periodic INR tests which have been good. My doctor knows I take fish oil. Wish I could get some info if blueberries affect INR levels, also any other dark fruit such as grapes, fruit juices containing dark berries. Had serious bleed 5 years ago requiring blood transfusions so I am careful but not phobic about would-be blood thinners. Does anyone know about these “green drinks” and if they are safe for someone on Coumadin.
    People’s Pharmacy response: If the green drinks have enough kale, spinach or other greens in them to be helpful, they could pose an interaction hazard with Coumadin.

    • Brenda
      Reply

      I’ve been on warfarin almost 2 years after a PE. I eat blueberries almost daily, large salads and many fresh veggies. My husband makes me green smoothies for lunch at least twice weekly. The secret is to carefully calculate your “greens” and maintain them daily. I eat pretty close to 350 mcg of Vitamin K daily; not terribly different than before the clots. I have however given up kale, collards, chard – just too high in K to make a big mistake. I admit I miss them but that was not a level of risk that I could accept. I eat lots of broccoli and brussel sprouts though. I just keep a running total of how much K is in eat thing. It’s only hard the first week when you’re learning the value and amount of each food item — but well worth it.

  6. norm
    Reply

    Could using turmeric lead to taking smaller doses of Coumadin ? I know its a balancing act.
    People’s Pharmacy response: doing the experiment would require very close monitoring!

  7. jill850
    Reply

    In response to the person who mentioned not having seen any Plavix-turmeric connection, I did — big surprise, as I hadn’t yet visited this page. I began bleeding at the slightest scratch, took me a while to figure out what was going on, as I often didn’t even feel it. I was taking high-grade capsules — I wish I could take turmeric instead of Plavix, as I can’t use NSAIDs and have arthritis. Hope this provides a clue to someone else . . .

    • 212mike
      Cincinnati
      Reply

      When taking Coumadin, it is extremely important that the patient not make radical changes to diet. A simple change can create a different INR result, so making several changes at the same time may make it impossible to find which new food or supplement is causing a change in the INR. Additionally, since so many substances affect Coumadin, either increasing or decreasing INR measurements, it is important to make changes gradually or one-of-a-time, so that the individual can confer with his medical provider about any changes that result. If a person makes dietary changes slowly and one at a time, Coumadin levels can be adjusted to stay in proper range.

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