Q. I started taking turmeric to fight inflammation and got a nasty surprise. I began bleeding at the slightest scratch.
It took me a while to figure out that the herb was interacting with the Plavix I take to prevent a blood clot. I often didn’t even feel the scratch, but it would bleed profusely.
I was taking high-grade turmeric capsules. I wish I could use turmeric instead of Plavix, since I can’t take NSAIDs for my arthritis. I hope this information helps someone else.
A. We have heard from readers taking the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin) that turmeric can increase the risk of bleeding. Turmeric is the Indian spice that gives curry powder its distinctive flavor and color. You’ll also find turmeric in yellow mustard, and some people take the active ingredient curcumin in capsules. Yours is the first report we have received of a possible interaction between turmeric or curcumin and Plavix.
Although turmeric has anti-inflammatory activity and can provide relief for sore joints, some people have reported digestive distress or an allergic reaction. Here are a few of their reports: “I’ve been taking turmeric for psoriatic arthritis that has made my hands dry and my fingertips split. I have been taking two pills a day.
“I have noticed an itchy rash on my arms that I didn’t have before. Although the turmeric has helped my skin and the arthritis pain, I am worried that it may have caused the rash.”
Here is another reader’s reaction: “I tried turmeric for its health benefits last May. In June I developed serious rash and itching on my chest and neck. I stopped the turmeric and it cleared up. I looked in your book and noted that some folks said they had a similar reaction to the spice.”
We have long been warning those who must take the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin) to avoid turmeric. Your experience suggests that other anticoagulants might also be incompatible with this spice.