an sneezing into a handkerchief, suffering with a cold, flu, or allergies

We often write about the benefits of natural remedies. It is important to remember, however, that nearly any compound that has desirable effects might also have some effects that are unwanted. Many botanical medicines have side effects. They may also interact with other medications. One reader reported a frightening nosebleed as a consequence of treatment with turmeric.

Turmeric and Bleeding:

Q. My husband was taking turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties and it gave him good relief from his daily nagging arthritis pain. Then he got a frightening nosebleed that was hard to stop. We went to be seen at an urgent care center but were eventually able to stop the bleeding on our own.

As others have said, the only thing we could attribute it to was the turmeric. He has not had another nosebleed since stopping the turmeric.

Turmeric Fights Inflammation:

A. The Indian spice turmeric (used in curry) and its active ingredient curcumin (pronounced ker-KYOO-min) have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant activity (International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Nov. 2015). A number of readers have reported increased bleeding episodes after starting daily dosing with turmeric. They ranged from nosebleeds to heavy menstrual periods.

Beware Interactions with Anticoagulants:

People taking prescription blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) together with turmeric may be especially prone to problems. Some have reported dangerous increases in their INR readings, a measure of the anticoagulation effect of the medicine.

Warfarin & Curry:

One person wrote:

“I am taking warfarin. I had an elevated INR after I had two meals of curry in an Asian restaurant. After I stopped eating curry, my blood work returned to normal.”

Don’t Mix and Match:

We warn readers taking warfarin to avoid adding either turmeric or the more concentrated compound curcumin to their regimen, as it could result in dangerous bleeding. It is not clear, however, whether the turmeric on its own could increase anticoagulation, or whether this effect is due to its impact on the metabolism of the warfarin. A study in rats showed that curcumin increased the blood levels and activity of both warfarin and clopidogrel (Plavix) (Planta Medica, July, 2013).

We suggest that readers on anticoagulant medication avoid taking turmeric or curcumin as supplements so they don’t end up with a frightening nosebleed. Others may need to judge by their own experience whether they are susceptible to such a side effect.

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  1. Brian
    St. Louis

    Just started sprinkling turmeric on my food for the last two days after watching a memory seminar on PBS. Nose bleeds started at the same time and ended when I stopped sprinkling the turmeric on my food. May try it again in a couple of weeks to confirm the result, but this is a bit scary as who knows what other small internal bleeding may be occurring that you cannot see.

  2. Gigi

    I was taking 1500mg of turmeric after 2-3days had 2 nose bleeds so I stop taking it. When I took turmeric once before I got a nose bleed or two I think I did 500-1000 mg a day so I’m done taking it.

  3. Ted
    Georgetown, Texas

    This week I had two cases of nose bleeds. Both situations occured a few hours after I had a very large dose of Mustard (which contains Turmeric). I searched the web, and it seems this is not all that uncommon.

  4. bruce

    I have a low platelet count and had nose bleeds for 30 years. I finally got them under control.
    I use a small 15x makeup mirror and small penlight. Every morning I look in my nose for scabbing on the sides of the nostrils. If they appear, I drink 20 ounces of an electrolyte sport drink like Gatorade, or NUUN active tablets (healthier because no sugar). Wait 45 minutes and look again. Sometimes you need to do 40 ounces. Use a bit of saline spray to moisten the scabs, and sniff. The scabs break off and tissues return to pink.Its been a miracle for me and able to prevent nosebleeds for over 4 years

  5. Lisa D

    I take Xarelto. I have been warning people on Facebook about taking tumeric with blood thinners for some time. Thank you for having this article.

  6. Elaine
    Buffalo, NY

    I take warfarin and have bursitis in my hip. Is there any other natural remedy besides turmeric to reduce the painful effects of bursitis?

  7. Debw

    I have had similar experience – 500mg capsule of turmeric w curcumin. Aldo had a sharp headache above my right eye. I also take a baby aspirin. So disappointed as it relieves inflammatory pain from arthritis and costachondritis.

  8. Debw

    I started taking a 500 mg capsule of turmeric with curcumin once a day. I had a huge nosebleed so i switched to every other day. The third dose resulted in a nosebleed and a sinus headache above my right eye. I will contact my pharmicist and doctor

  9. Tara

    I was just sitting down with a hot cup of turmeric tea when my nose dripped blood. I’ve been drinking it twice a day for two weeks because it’s done wonders for musculoskeletal pain. I’m disappointed. I think I will try to cut the amount down and see if I can still tolerate it. I don’t take any other pharmaceuticals but I did take a single aspirin about 10 hours ago.

    • Glenn

      Once in a while I get a nose bleed for no reason. Today I thought about my sudden bleed and what I had for breakfast – for the first time I thought about the large dose of turmeric I had as a possible cause. I take allot of turmeric in the boiled powder form in lieu of having a hip replacement surgery. It works wonders. I also check my blood CRP inflammation and notice the turmeric keeps CRP at under 0.1, which means below the lowest measurement level of 0.1. Thus I feel the turmeric is precluding any disease from starting up. Now I am aware that people do get nose bleeds. Mine goes away quickly with a tissue to hold it back for 10 minutes or so. Other than the inconvenience the nose bleed seems harmless. I get it about 5 to 8 times a year. I take a good tablespoon twice a day of turmeric.

  10. Cathy

    Anyone with HHT (Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia) needs to be careful of foods, herbs, spices that have anti-inflammatory properties. I cannot have dark chocolate or garlic. Many other HHT folks avoid berries. With this disorder, it seems like anything good for you is to be avoided!!

  11. laura

    i am so thankful i serendipitously read this. i have had a few episodes of rectal bleeds and i thought it was hemmorhoids….but it was a larger amt. than usually. i am stopping turmeric immed & will monitor. i was all set to sched. a colonoscopy.

  12. Jan

    I also experienced bleeding in my nose after taking turmeric or curcumin and I’m not taking any prescription medicines at all, though I do take fish oil every day. I tried taking turmeric a few different times, always with the same result, and with the bleeding stopping when I stopped the turmeric. The blood would stop up my nose so that I couldn’t breathe through my nose, but didn’t drain out. Still, that is not a desirable thing to live with…..mouth-breathing all the time!

    • Lynn

      From what I understand, Fish Oil is also thins the blood so taking it with Turmeric may be doubling the effect.

  13. Karmel

    I looked this up + yes turmeric curcumin is a blood thinner be careful. I tried turmeric 3,000mg a day was needed for effect. Maybe able to lower this after 6 weeks. I got an awful itchy rash on my elbow and arm and neck with it. Apparently it is the yellow colour/sulphur that causes this. The year before the rheumatologist tried me on Salazapyrin (sulphur) within 3 months I had a large dark red bruise on my same elbow arm about 5″x 5″ where the turmeric rash was. It did help by about 1/4 in pain and inflammation.

  14. annonymous

    I wonder if turmeric thins the blood like aspirin?I know if I take aspirin or ibuprofen for more then 2 or 3 days,I get nose bleeds.It’s possible that turmeric might be doing the same thing,since it works a lot like aspirin.

  15. Susan

    For nosebleeds try using Afrin Nasal Decongestant or the generic type. Soak a cotton ball and press firmly. Helpful until you can have your physician examine your nose. My ENT physician even recommended this.

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