12 Side Effects of Turmeric & Ways To Prevent Them

You may experience more harm than good if you overdo your turmeric usage.

Medically reviewed by Alexandra Dusenberry, MS, RDN Alexandra Dusenberry Alexandra DusenberryMS, RDN twitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Experience: 6 years

A few side effects of turmeric might make you think twice before consuming it. Spices such as turmeric are available in various forms and are well known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, excess intake of turmeric may cause side effects, like diarrhea (1).

There are other ways that turmeric might adversely affect you, including headaches and dizziness. This article examines the side effects of turmeric and recommended dosage. Read on.

protip_icon Know The Flip Side: Turmeric

Short-Term Effects
Allergic reactions, risk of bleeding, diarrhea, nausea, and lowering blood pressure levels way too much.

Long-Term Effects
Kidney stones formation, iron deficiency, and gallbladder contractions.

Drug Interactions
Excessive intake of turmeric may interact with diabetes medication, blood thinners, and drug-metabolizing enzymes like cytochrome p450.

When To See A Doctor
If you are experiencing persistent side effects from turmeric intake, like difficulty breathing, chest tightness, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fatigue, seek medical attention.

Turmeric Side Effects

1. May Cause Gastrointestinal Problems

Turmeric hasn’t been found to cause any kind of stomach issues or other gastrointestinal reactions when consumed as a part of a cooked curry. However, evidence suggests that taking turmeric by itself or as part of a treatment for arthritisi  XAn inflammation, swelling, or stiffness of one or more joints, causing pain that worsens with age. may lead to gastrointestinal issues (2).

The curcumin in turmeric, when taken by those with pancreatic cancer, caused abdominal fullness and pain in some of the patients (3).

Though turmeric is generally recognized as safe, it may cause gastrointestinal upsets in certain individuals (4).

In a small rat study, the ingestion of curcumin for 6 days produced stomach ulcers (5).

Also, if you have dyspepsia or hyperacidity, you may want to avoid turmeric. The curcumin in turmeric may aggravate dyspepsiai  XA condition in which a burning sensation is accompanied with recurrent pain in the upper abdomen, often after a meal. (6).

Anecdotal evidence suggests that turmeric supplements might also cause issues of the stomach, such as stomachache and vomiting. Instances of liver damage and menstrual changes have also been seen as side effects. However, we need more research here, especially in adults who consume more than the recommended dosage (400 mg to 3 g) of the supplements for prolonged periods.

Prevention Method

Ensure you take turmeric only within the recommended dosage.

Julie Ann Brady, a blogger, recalls her personal experience of battling the severe side effects of turmeric. She shares that the intake of turmeric supplements wreaked havoc on her good health, stating, “The worst symptom came with a difficulty swallowing with intense chest pain that made me stop and try to remain calm until the pain would pass. That would be accompanied with an acidy burning sensation or heartburn… During the course of the Turmeric, I noticed that I started to feel more body aches and pain in my right hip, then in the front of my right thigh radiating down and surrounding my right knee (i).

2. May Cause Gallbladder Contractions

Studies show that the curcumin in turmeric may cause gallbladder contractions – 40 mg of curcumin was found to produce a 50% contraction in the gallbladder (7).

Turmeric supplements of 20-40 mg were also reported to increase gallbladder contractions (7).

Some experts believe that the oxalate in turmeric may also increase the risk of gallstones. However, direct research is limited in this aspect. If you are at risk of gallstones or have gallbladder issues, please check with your doctor before using turmeric in your diet.

Prevention Method

Stop taking turmeric if you have any type of gallbladder issues or are on medication for the same.

3. May Cause Diarrhea And Nausea

Diarrhea and nausea are two of the common symptoms associated with turmeric supplementation (1). This is because the curcumin in turmeric has a tendency to irritate the gastrointestinal tract.

As per certain clinical studies, individuals supplemented with 0.45 to 3.6 grams of curcumin per day for 4 months experienced mild nausea (3.6 grams of curcumin per day is a relatively high dose). Even low doses of curcumin can provoke nausea in certain individuals (8).

Prevention Method

Take turmeric within the prescribed limit. If you observe any symptoms, stop the intake and consult your doctor immediately.

4. May Increase Risk Of Kidney Stones

As per a study, too much turmeric might increase the risk of kidney stones. This is because of the presence of oxalates in turmeric. The oxalates can bind to calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate, which is primarily responsible for kidney stones (9).

In the study, turmeric ingestion had lead to a higher urinary oxalate excretion when compared to cinnamon, thereby substantiating the fact that it can cause kidney stones (9).

Prevention Method

Avoid turmeric if you have any kind of kidney issues, especially kidney stones.

protip_icon Did You Know?
India is the largest producer of turmeric, contributing 80% to global production. Erode, in Tamil Nadu, is the largest producer and trading center for turmeric and is also called “yellow city” or “turmeric city.”

5. May Increase Bleeding Risk

Curcumin in turmeric has shown to decrease platelet aggregation (10). This may increase the risk of bleeding.

Daily intake of turmeric may help maintain anticoagulanti  XA group of medications or chemical substances that prevent or reduce the ability of blood to clot. status, and this may also elevate bleeding risk (11).

The curcumin in turmeric was also found to alter the functioning of blood thinners (like warfarin). However, it had no effect on the anticoagulation rate of the medication (12).

To be on the safe side, individuals on medications like Warfarin or Coumadin (an anticoagulant) must steer clear of curcumin as it may magnify the effects of these medications.

Prevention Method

Avoid turmeric if you are on blood-thinning medication.

6. May Cause Allergic Reactions

Curcumin can be a contact allergen. Certain individuals have reported contact dermatitisi  XA skin rash or irritation that makes skin inflamed or red after direct contact with an allergen or an irritant. and urticaria (a form of round skin rash) due to contact with turmeric. Since turmeric belongs to the ginger family, one is more likely to be allergic to it if they are allergic to ginger. You can also be allergic to turmeric if you are allergic to yellow food coloring (13).

Applying turmeric to your face may cause your skin to turn yellow. This effect is harmless. However, those allergic to turmeric may develop rashes or dermatitis on their faces. Research is limited, and more studies are required to find out how turmeric can affect the skin.

Turmeric can also cause shortness of breath. Reactions can occur from both skin contact and ingestion (14).

Prevention Method

If you have an allergy for yellow food coloring, it is best to stay away from turmeric.

7. May Lead To Infertility

The curcumin in turmeric was found to reduce sperm function in a mice study. It also inhibited fertility. The mice study considered turmeric to be an ideal contraceptive (15).

In another study involving fish, turmeric was found to suppress the development of ovarian follicles. It also resulted in subfertility (a delay in conception) (16).

It is also believed that turmeric may lower testosterone levels and decrease sperm movement in men. However, there is no evidence to support this yet.

Prevention Method

Take turmeric in moderation and avoid excess usage.

8. May Cause Iron Deficiency

As per mice studies, compounds in turmeric were found to bind to iron. This could decrease the body’s ability to absorb iron from food, thereby leading to iron deficiency (17).

Prevention Method

If you have iron deficiency, avoid turmeric, and consult your doctor regarding its usage. Check your iron levels in your blood before including turmeric in your diet.

9. May Lower Blood Pressure Way Too Much

Well, this could sound like a benefit. But lowering blood pressure way too much can cause complications.

Turmeric may have hypotensive effects (18). If you are taking it along with medications for lowering blood pressure, you may experience excessively low levels of the same.

Prevention Method

Avoid turmeric if you are already on blood pressure medication.

10. May Be Risky During Surgery

This has to do with turmeric’s tendency to inhibit the blood-clotting process. Though there is no direct research here, it is likely that turmeric may interfere with blood clotting during surgery. Patients who are considering surgery may have to refrain from consuming turmeric one to two weeks before surgery and consult their doctor.

Prevention Method

If you are considering surgery, you must refrain from consuming turmeric one to two weeks before surgery.

11. Unclear Information On Its Effects On Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women

There is not enough information available on turmeric side effects on pregnant and breastfeeding women. Since they are crucial periods in any woman’s life, it is best to keep turmeric supplements away temporarily.

Turmeric has been rarely studied in breastfeeding women, and it is quite unknown if its active compounds would pass through breast milk. The resultant effects on breastfed infants are also unknown.

Prevention Method

As there is insufficient information in this regard, turmeric supplements may lead to breastfeeding and pregnancy complications. Also, please consult your doctor.

12. May Increase Osteoporosis Risk

Excessive or long-term use of turmeric, or curcumin supplements in particular, may increase osteoporosis risk in some individuals. Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. In some cases, this interference may lead to a gradual reduction in bone density. This can potentially increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones that are more prone to fractures. Excessive curcumin intake may also inhibit osteogenesis, the formation of bone tissue (19).
Prevention Method
Limit your turmeric consumption. Consult a healthcare professional before incorporating curcumin supplements into your daily routine.

Those were the major turmeric side effects. Turmeric might also interact with certain medications.

Interactions With Medications

Following is the list of medications turmeric might interact with. Stay away from the spice as long as you are taking these medications:

  • Drug metabolizing enzymes like cytochrome 450 and glutathione-S-transferase (20).
  • Medications that reduce stomach acid like cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), rantidine (Zantac), esomeprazole (Nexium), omeprazole (Prilosec), and lansoprazole (Prevacid) (21).
  • Diabetes medications (21).
  • Blood-thinning medications like warfarin, clopidogrel, etc. (21).

Interactions With Herbs

Turmeric may also interact with certain herbs. Though the effects of its interactions with herbs like black pepper and ginger are unclear, it is better to consult your doctor before you use turmeric with any of the two.

Recommended Turmeric Dosage

Though turmeric has certain side effects, it is essential for optimal health. The only way to avoid the side effects is by using the right dosage.

The recommended dosage for adults, as per some reports, is 400 to 600 mg (thrice) a day.

Certain sources have put up the dosage as follows. However, research is needed to substantiate these. Please check with your doctor.

  • Powdered dry root: 1.5 to 2.5 grams per day.
  • Standardized powder: 1.2 to 1.8 grams per day.
  • Turmeric tea: You can steep 15 grams of turmeric root in 135 ml of boiling water. You can take this preparation twice daily.
  • Water-based extract: 30 to 90 drops of the extract per day.
  • Tincture: 15 to 30 drops of the tincture 4 times per day.
protip_icon Fun Fact
Turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years and is a prominent part of Vedic culture. While it originated in India, it was also grown in China by 700 AD, East Africa by 800 AD, and West Africa by 1200 AD.

Infographic: 5 Adverse Effects Of Turmeric To Know About

Turmeric has immense benefits for your health. It possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and lowers the risk of heart disease. However, like everything, its overconsumption can adversely affect your health. It might lower blood pressure way too much, decrease iron absorption and lead to iron deficiency, and even cause allergic reactions in some people. The infographic below highlights the 5 major side effects of turmeric you should be aware of. Scroll down and check it out.

5 adverse effects of turmeric to know about (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The side effects of turmeric are not talked about often due to its wide range of health benefits. However, ingesting turmeric directly may cause gastrointestinal issues, worsen acidity issues, and cause gallbladder contractions. Moreover, excess turmeric intake may increase the risk of bleeding, kidney stones, infertility, and iron deficiency, while certain individuals may experience contact dermatitis and rash upon exposure. Turmeric also tends to lower blood pressure to dangerous levels and disrupt the blood-clotting process, which could be life-threatening. So, consume it in moderation to avoid its adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better: turmeric capsules or powder?

Turmeric powder can be a great choice if you want to reap its total benefits. However, capsules may be useful if you are traveling and want to enjoy the benefits of turmeric conveniently.

Does turmeric increase heart rate?

Yes, turmeric may increase heart rate if taken in excess. People with high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking turmeric supplements.

What does turmeric do to the brain?

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is beneficial for the brain. It improves mood and memory.

Key Takeaways

  • Turmeric causes side effects predominantly due to overdose or direct intake.
  • Intake of uncooked turmeric in excessive amounts can lead to stomach upset, ulcers, or acidity.
  • Curcumin, in turmeric, can aggravate gallbladder issues and adversely affect kidney functioning.
  • People allergic to turmeric may develop skin rashes and suffocation on contact or ingestion.
side effects of turmeric

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn about the potential side effects of turmeric and how to use it safely from the informative video given below. Watch it now to get your facts right and start using this powerful spice today!

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview, Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Safety and efficacy of curcumin versus diclofenac in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized open-label parallel-arm study, BioMed Central Journals.
  3. Discovery of Curcumin, a Component of the Golden Spice, and Its Miraculous Biological Activities, Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  4. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and its major constituent (curcumin) as nontoxic and safe substances: Review, Phytotherapy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  5. Generally Recognized As Safe, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration.
  6. Curcumin supplementation for relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis, James Madison University.
  7. Effect of different curcumin dosages on human gall bladder, Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  8. Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials, The AAPS Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  9. Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary oxalate excretion, plasma lipids, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  10. Inhibitory effect of curcumin, a food spice from turmeric, on platelet-activating factor- and arachidonic acid-mediated platelet aggregation through inhibition of thromboxane formation and Ca2+ signaling, Biochemical Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  11. Anticoagulant activities of curcumin and its derivative, BMB Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  12. Curcumin alters the pharmacokinetics of warfarin and clopidogrel in Wistar rats but has no effect on anticoagulation or antiplatelet aggregation, Planta Medica, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  13. Curcumin, A Contact Allergen, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  14. CURCUMIN, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  15. Can curcumin provide an ideal contraceptive?, Molecular Reproduction and Development, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  16. Subfertility effects of turmeric (Curcuma longa) on reproductive performance of Pseudotropheus acei, Animal Reproduction Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  17. Iron Deficiency Anemia Due to High-dose Turmeric, Cureus, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  18. Hypotensive and endothelium-independent vasorelaxant effects of methanolic extract from Curcuma longa L. in rats, United States Department of Agriculture.
  19. Curcumin suppresses osteogenesis by inducing miR-126a-3p and subsequently suppressing the WNT/LRP6 pathway, Aging, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  20. The dark side of curcumin, International Journal of Cancer, Wiley Online Library.
  21. Possible Interactions with: Turmeric, PennState Hershey.
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