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.

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  1. Lorene
    houston tx

    Interactions driving us crazy, after husband /LAD heart attack/stent (Widowmaker).
    Regime was 5 Rx drugs, but with an excellent nuclear stress test at 36 days, doc took him off Beta Blocker Ramipril. At 3 months doc took him off Plavix! Yay!

    He is on Carvidilol BB and low dose aspirin. There are many good nutrition supplements, incl. Natto, Moringa, Cucermin, Apple Cider Vinegar that would do the job of lowering blood pressure, glucose (Type 2 diabetes, Metformin & Statin-Lipitor). But the interactions are scary.

    Can he get off aspirin or is this dangerous? Its the aspirin (as blood thinner) that interacts, but there are many great supplements (CoQ10, magnesium, Bromalaine, fish oils, Cod liver oil) that he could be taking instead to do the same job as Metformin & Lipitor. There seem to be no complications with Carvidilol, but want him off ALL Rx, if possible.

    Really want NATTO, as this may prevent calcification (calcium) in arteries + K2 Vitamin – a known fact, but Natto is a blood thinner as well. Ideas? It just appears that all Rx drugs have interactions, while there are NONE with natural plant-based herbs, supplements. Any thoughts?

    • Terry Graedon

      Actually, there are interactions with plant-based medicines as well. We’ll try to get you some answers about the ones that interest you.

  2. Liza
    United States

    My thoughts are that when you have a heart attack and there is a blockage removed, and you are put on Plavix (as I am) – you cannot take turmeric or you will bleed. I was taking it and two cardiologists said absolutely no. Do NOT take it since it can cause a bleed that might not be able to be stopped since Plavix has no reversal medication (as does Coumadin or warfarin for a bleed).
    I am hoping at the one year mark, I will be switched to Coumadin – but I may have to stay on Plavix which means NO supplements since there is often a clash of meds and with Plavix you can bleed without a control available.
    All of these people using supplements should know that many are not known for causing certain problems. For that reason, I stopped all and I feel much better since doing that.

  3. JoAnn

    I started using turmeric , just sprinkling it on foods and one night before bed, I blew my nose,
    I got a lot of bright red blood, and when I checked my nose, the bleeding was coming from the inside mucus membranes, it was very hard to stop the bleeding for at least a half hour. I continued using the turmeric for a few more days and every night at bedtime my nose would start bleeding. I usually keep a food diary and the only new thing that I had added was the turmeric. Once I stopped using it, my nose healed and the bleeding stopped. That was very frightening and I would like others to know that this can happen when taking turmeric.

  4. Katrina

    Very interesting, I take the nattokinase and serrapeptase combination, recently sent the curcumin by mistake and had no idea if they were safe to take. This is the only place I have found any real answers. I had a saddle embolism and open surgery a year ago, couldn’t stomach the stating and aspirin they made me so I’ll. I couldn’t keep any food down, I’m going to try the curcumin and hopefully that will reduce the stinging sensations I still get.

  5. lalear

    I DO NOT take Warfarin or any other kind of blood thinner, but I have experienced retinal bleeds after eating curry or using turmeric. My blood thins when I eat turmeric, ginger, raw garlic, or flax seed. I love Indian food and a couple years ago, I ate at my favorite Indian restaurant 5 days in a row. About 10 minutes after I started eating curry on the fifth day, my eye developed a significant bleed.
    My vision is still impacted from leftover debris from that bleed. The only medication I take is 2.5 mg of Lisinopril a day. I take no supplements. I monitor my blood sugar in the mornings and if I eat any of the foods listed above, it takes 5 minutes for the bleeding to stop. Otherwise, the bleeding ceases immediately after taking the sample. I have had this problem with turmeric, ginger, raw garlic, and flax seed for at least 30 years.

  6. Dbl

    My husband has mild dementia and has been taking Aricept for about 4years. About 4 months ago his primary doc suggested Axona for the dementia. That has helped his memory. He also has peripheral artery disease with Venus stasis. Has had several surgeries, one resulting with a blood clot which has gone away with treatment. He is on Plavix, 75MG daily. He does tend to bleed when he scratches himself.
    Recently I have been reading about Turmeric and its benefits for someone with dementia and have read that taking it with plavix is not recommended. I’d like your opinion please.

  7. Barbara

    My retina eye dr. told me that it might not be a good idea to take turmeric because I have aged related macular degeneration and there is evidence turmeric can cause dry macular degeneration to become wet and blindness is the result. Anything that increases blood flow could do this including warfarin.
    I wonder if Ginkgo could do the same?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: That is a good question, but we don’t know the answer. Aspirin has certainly been implicated in this.

    • Mia
      Stone Mountain

      Barbara! I have Macular Degeneration ( dry ) and I believe turmeric started the bleeding behind my retina. I have never heard anybody else say that! Thanks for sharing your story. I stopped taking it immediately!A piece of my central vision is missing and I am seeing wavy…Turmeric is great but talk to your ophthalmologist or retina specialist before using it.

  8. fbl

    I had an argument with my cardiologist about this very thing. I won and am much healthier for it!
    He’d tried me on all kinds of meds that my body reacted very badly to. I finally started taking natural blood thinners that have worked beautifully. No, he was not happy with the finger prick test, but I found out from my family Dr. that there is a better test. My family Dr. approved of my approach and is very happy with the results.
    I’ve been taking a curcurmin based remedy for hip pain off and on for many years and it has not affected my bleeding. I am also taking nattokinase, vitamin E, gingko biloba and cayenne. The curcurmin remedy has also helped my heart pain that simply would not go away after an ablation procedure. The herb stopped the pain so I take it regularly too so it helps the hip and the heart.
    After my refusing any other meds, the Dr. tried pushing aspirin. Again I refused. I have been doing incredibly well on my regimen and my heart is happy.

  9. H.

    Oh thank you for that comment. I am on Plavix and have been trying to decide about taking turmeric for BP. I know that I had a reaction to flaxseed oil and Plavix. This is the first mention I have heard about turmeric. Good to know.

  10. RAB

    I buy the trumeric powder at the local Sprouts and only occasionally mix it in as a spice and I ‘enhance’ mustard with a dash of turmeric. I do not take the capsule form. It can be messy in powder form, but you learn to use it carefully. I have been on a lot of the statins and am rid of them now. My approach is God made us to take in a variety of nutrients on a casual or occasional basis. I never ‘regimine’ my intake of any source.

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