8 side effects of Turmeric (Plus some myths and misconceptions debunked!)
Turmeric known for its innumerable benefits around the world has posed questions of its safety just like other herbs.
Well, Turmeric is mostly safe for people and generally well tolerated when consumed in food. But as anything consumed in extreme amounts is bad, so is the case with Turmeric.
Here are some of the possible side effects of turmeric/ curcumin
- Gastrointestinal issues: Studies suggest that the most common side effects of turmeric are gastrointestinal and include constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, nausea, vomiting, yellow stool and stomach ache.
- Can worsen gallstones: Due to their ability to increase bile secretion, turmeric and curcumin should not be taken by individuals with obstruction of the bile duct as it can further worsen gallbladder problems.
- Turmeric can increase the risk of kidney stones: The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.
- Pregnancy: Turmeric is safe when taken in food during pregnancy or breast-feeding. However, it isn't safe if taken in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. It might promote a menstrual period or stimulate the uterus, putting the pregnancy at risk. Do observe caution with turmeric if you are pregnant.
- Bleeding issues: Taking turmeric might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
- Hormone-sensitive condition such uterine cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, which might act like the hormone estrogen. However, some research shows that turmeric reduces the effects of estrogen in some hormone-sensitive cancer cells. Therefore, turmeric might have beneficial effects on hormone-sensitive conditions but it should still be used with caution to be on a safe side.
- Iron deficiency: Taking high amounts of turmeric might prevent the absorption of iron.
- Surgery: Turmeric might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. So it is generally prescribed to stop using turmeric at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Long story short. We recommend taking safe doses if you are using Supplements and do consult your medical practitioner for advice.
Now that you are aware of the side effects of turmeric, let's take a look at some common myths.
#1 Myth: Turmeric has a pungent, bitter taste which makes it difficult to use in cooking.
Fact: Yes, turmeric does have an astringent, slightly bitter taste. But it can easily be paired with other complementary spices that reduce these qualities and bring out turmeric's unique flavour.
#2 Myth: Turmeric is best when consumed raw, fresh root rather than dried and powdered form.
Fact: No matter how it is consumed, fresh or dried, using turmeric will provide the same health and culinary benefits. However, fresh and raw root of the turmeric has all the essential oils and curcumin content intact which may otherwise be lost in case of dried powder due to processing.
#3 Myth: The only good part about turmeric is Curcumin
It is true that Curcumin offers a great bouquet of medicinal benefits. It is a powerful antioxidant and exhibits strong anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. But Turmeric also has many other compounds such as flavonoids and beta-carotene that further contribute to its inflammatory and antioxidant response. So, Curcumin Free Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antidiabetic effects.
#4 Myth: The only way to enhance the absorption of turmeric is to include black pepper.
Black pepper contains a compound called piperine that enhances turmeric's absorption. But Turmeric is fat soluble and hence, using it with some good quality oil such as ghee, coconut oil or almond oil can help with the absorption too.