bowl of turmeric spice

Turmeric is the yellow spice in curry powder and yellow mustard. It has been used for thousands of years in India both to flavor food and for its medicinal properties. Several years ago we heard from readers that it might be helpful in easing symptoms of psoriasis. There are some preliminary studies suggesting that the active ingredients in turmeric (curcuminoids) may actually alleviate inflammation and speed wound healing. That said, there are potential risks. The following posts from readers offer both pros and cons.

“I have dealt with psoriasis for the past ten years, mostly on the backs and palms of my hands and wrists. When I first experienced the symptoms, I spent several nights covered in lotion and wearing full clothing to bed to keep the lotion in place and off the sheets. Those were most uncomfortable times, to say the least. The condition covered approximately 50 percent of my body.

After I moved to a damper climate, my condition improved somewhat. I also read about the negative effects of hydrogenated oils on the skin and cut back on foods that contain them (i.e., chips, regular margarine, etc). This seemed to help, but I was still getting severe bouts on my hands and wrists every so often. The itching was so intolerable that I always ended up scratching and tearing the skin.

In the last month (six years after cutting back on hydrogenated oils) I heard about taking turmeric and garlic to treat skin conditions. Wow! Within one day of chewing on a half clove of garlic and taking a half a teaspoon of turmeric my psoriasis began to subside dramatically. I don’t know if it is psychological or physical, but it appears to work for me. After three days of taking garlic and turmeric my symptoms are almost completely gone.

I will now try the turmeric on its own to see if these results continue. It is sure a big relief not to have severe bouts of itching and oozing. I am now looking to get back to the life I left behind ten years past. I hope this will help someone else.”–JD, May 26, 2010

“In 2007 I developed psoriasis on about 30 percent of my body along with swollen lymph nodes on about 25 percent of my body. I was headed to the grave at a very young age of 47.

My internist was open-minded when I told him I did not want drugs making my condition worse. Nothing, nothing he did helped.

My psoriasis was painful, with flaky raised patches. He wanted to try steroids and lots of other drugs. I said no and I tried turmeric and bromelain three times a day and in three days all my psoriasis was gone. I was tested to make sure I had psoriasis and it was confirmed before the turmeric and after the turmeric that I had psoriasis.

The doctor was shocked and now this is what he uses first on his patients with psoriasis. I have not had any problems whatsoever with psoriasis again and my lymph nodes are just about normal now. I use turmeric only occasionally, about once or twice a week.

I wish to say that anyone who does not give turmeric a try may be missing out on one of the most incredible ingredients we have on the planet and it is so inexpensive.”–Olivia


Not everyone benefits as much as Olivia. Some report that the effects eventually wear off, and other experience side effects. Some people are allergic to turmeric. Anyone taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) should not take turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin since the combination may increase the risk for bleeding. Some folks may also experience an elevation in liver enzymes, so this requires medical monitoring!

“I took turmeric for about four weeks and developed urgency, runny stool, and stomach cramps. I discontinued use and the symptoms ceased within 24 hours. However, I noticed that my psoriasis didn’t itch as much, and the site on my scalp was smaller. It’s so unfortunate that I couldn’t tolerate it.”–Leslie

“I got a terrible ulcer-like reaction to turmeric. As I had received NO BENEFIT from taking it for my psoriasis, I stopped taking it and the side effect disappeared immediately. Lowering the dose did not help. Topical application did not help (and stained my skin bright yellow for weeks!)”–Idevere

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  1. guzman1950

    In the last month (six years after cutting back on hydrogenated oils) I heard about taking turmeric and garlic to treat skin conditions”
    I do not agree.

    Sincerely, Dorine

  2. Suphie

    Actually, my little poem went like this: Turmeric may stain the skin (you’re in), but it’s better than wearing the blood thin!!!
    Sorry…Turmeric, good…warfarin…good if you can handle it!!! :D
    love, S.

  3. Suphie

    Yeah, warfarin (an antidote to psoriasis), may wear your blood thin, but think about the skin you’re in (first and foremost!!!)…
    love, Suphie

  4. Leigh

    I didn’t have psoriasis, but had read about turmeric for joint pain so that’s why I started taking it, mostly for my thumbs but my knees were also getting sore. It seemed like I had arthritis in my thumbs, so painful, could hardly use my hands, this was about a year ago, now the inflammation is completely gone!! I was taking a 720 mg capsule 2 X a day, morning and evening with a meal.
    Then I discovered by accident when I forgot my morning dose a few times and took 2 at night, that the next morning I had no pain at all. So I doubled up for about 4 weeks, taking 2 in the AM and 2 in the PM. Doing that completely broke the cycle of inflammation! Once the inflammation was gone, (about 8 months now) I’ve been able to stay pain free by taking 1 to 2 caps a day.
    It’s the best medicine ever! I also get a double effect, since it is a natural blood thinner, I don’t need an aspirin every day to prevent blood clots. I order my turmeric caps from Swansons, a bottle of 240 capsules, 720 mg for a good price.

  5. Don K.

    I read that the recommended dosage is 1.5 to 3 grams per day. Pills are normally 250 to 500 mg each. My math eludes me, but if it the pill is 500, that would mean taking 3 per day, non?

    • Ryan

      Hey Don K, 500mg is the same as 0.5g. So you would need 3-6 pills to reach the recommended dose.

  6. Don K.

    Tumeric sounds promising. Any other success stories out there? Many thanks..

  7. TN

    I received psoriasis about 10 years ago when I got bit by black ants severely for the second time in my life. Tried several dermatologists with mild results from prescription creams, lotions & painful injections I gave myself. Recently I purchased 100% pure essential oil of Frankincense & fractionated coconut oil. After showering apply mixture of fractionated coconut oil, say an ounce to 5-8 drops of frankincense. It WORKS!!!!!!!
    The backs of both hands, elbows & anywhere clothing fits tight, lower parts of both legs where ants started the whole thing. I have been using this mixture for several months now daily, sometimes 2 times a day and some places are completely gone. I didn’t do the before pictures because I hate it so bad. My lower legs don’t itch anymore, which is good cause I can’t shave my legs, go swimming in public, wear shorts, skirts or dresses. I am overweight about 30lbs, nearing 60, and deciding before I tried the essential oils that psoriasis had run its course, which helped mentally but physically still there. I’ve heard Myrrh works too but couldn’t afford both.
    It’s worth a try and if its too harsh, reduce the drops of Frankincense. I put it in a spray bottle and then gently rub it in prior to getting dressed. I’ve always been in the public as a cashier or salesperson & you can only wear long sleeves for so long and shorts, skirts or dresses inside your house. Good luck!

  8. EPJ

    I have had guttate psoriasis for over 20 years. A friend told me to cut out all dairy products and within 2 days I was completely clear. I used to have to go for uv light treatments but have been able to avoid them for the past 3 years.


    There is too little information here to make an informed decision about taking turmeric to treat psoriasis. What form of turmeric and how much is taken, how often? Please provide more details.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: There is no established dose of turmeric to treat psoriasis. We know that doses of purified curcumin have been tested for other purposes. In one study (for IBS) the dose used was 360 mg x 3 a day. In the other, a range of doses were used, from 150 mg x 3 a day to 1200 mg x3. Both studies lasted three months. The side effects reported were digestive distress. We always caution that people taking warfarin should not use either turmeric (for which the doses would be higher) or curcumin. Also, some people develop allergic reactions to turmeric.

  10. Marcia B

    Take under a doctor’s care – supervised it has amazing healing properties

  11. Charlotte

    My daughter had pustular psoriasis on the soles of her feet with yellow fluid filled pustules which would bust open and leave open sores. 2 years of steroid and Dovanex did not help. I made an ointment mixing pure curcumin powder which I obtained from curcumin capsules (about 20 caps opened) in a jar of Vaseline and mixed well. I applied it thickly every night, covered it with gauze and then bandages.
    Within 3 months her feet were clear and have been for the last 6 years.
    I then discovered that one can purchase Psoriagold, (does not stain) a dermatologist preparation containing curcumin, made in the US. My daughter’s feet were stained yellow from my mixture but this gradually faded. We didn’t mind because her psoriasis was healing and has remained clear ever since.
    I now give her 1 to 2 gm pure curcumin tablets orally every other day. No more problems.

  12. MF

    I have had mild psoriasis for many years (acne-like rash on back/shoulders, esp. in spring and summer), not really diagnosed until it got worse several years ago (scaly patches in various places, usually bilateral). After trying many things (including Turmeric), I found that abstaining from the nightshade food group, especially tomatoes & tomato products, promptly relieves and completely clears the scaly patches, and reduces the rash.
    Other members of the nightshades are potatoes, peppers (except black pepper), and eggplant, as well as some related spices. Chocolate, not a night shade, also seems to be unhelpful sometimes.

  13. GB

    I wonder if people have such different reactions because they are of different ayurvedic constitutional types (vata, pitta, or kapha). Inflammatory conditions would have different components for each of the different constitutions and may need to be treated differently.

  14. CM

    My understanding of turmeric, from an Indian homeopath, is that it needs to be cooked (preferably slowly) for its healing benefits. Perhaps those experiencing ill effects were taking it as a supplement. We add it to scrambled eggs, oven cooked foods, etc.

  15. abigail

    please tell us what varieties of turmeric we may find in natural food stores and groceries. Are they all equally effective? do they have the same side effects?

  16. TonyD

    No comment. I just want follow -ups

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