Turmeric and its major component curcumin can cause bleeding trouble when combined with drugs used to prevent clotting. It is smart to check on possible interactions before mixing herbs and medications such as turmeric plus Coumadin.
Q. I have a lot of arthritic pain, so when you mentioned turmeric for joint pain, I thought I would try it. In three days my nose was bleeding.
I take the anticoagulant Coumadin, so I was concerned. My prothrombin time was sky high. I had to go off the blood thinner for five days to get back to normal.
You should warn your readers about this interaction. Having your blood too thin can be extremely dangerous.
A. Thank you for the reminder that anyone on warfarin (Coumadin) or other anticoagulants should steer clear of turmeric or curcumin.
Although this yellow spice has anti-inflammatory properties, it can also magnify the effect of these anti-clotting medications. Prothrombin time is a measure of how long it takes blood to clot.
This interaction has not been well studied and is not found in the official prescribing information for warfarin. French scientists have reported such an interaction between turmeric and an anticoagulant drug not approved in the U.S., fluindione (Therapie, Nov-Dec 2014). Like warfarin, fluindione works by counteracting vitamin K activity in the blood cells.
Nevertheless, you are not the first person to report a serious bleeding problem with this combination. We have written about it here.
It is wise to ask the prescriber about potential interactions between therapeutic herbs or spices and prescription medications. Anticoagulant drugs may interact with several traditional herbal medicines, including ginger, ginkgo and licorice as well as turmeric (PLoS One, May 9, 2013).