Turmeric is an ancient root used for its healing properties for centuries. Turmeric comes from the rhizome (rootstock) of the Curcuma longa plant. To manufacture it, the roots of the plant are boiled, dried and then ground into a powder. Traditionally used in Chinese and Indian folk medicine turmeric benefits are amazing and able to treat a wide range of illnesses. The powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities and turmeric health benefits have made this spice a precious commodity for ages! People used it as natural food dye instead of as the unbelievable healing agent it really is. The many turmeric health benefits are truly incredible!
While the pros of turmeric health benefits usually outweigh the cons, it’s important to know that there can be some side effects with turmeric. Some people report allergic reactions to turmeric, especially after skin exposure. Typically, this is experienced as a mild, itchy rash. In addition, high doses of turmeric have been observed to cause indigestion, heartburn, nausea and diarrhea among others. People taking certain medications should also be careful when using turmeric in their food or supplementing with it.
Some side effects of turmeric are;
- Turmeric contains around 2% oxalate. At high doses, this may contribute to kidney stones in predisposed individuals.
- Additionally, not all commercial turmeric powders are pure. Some are adulterated with cheaper and potentially toxic ingredients not listed on the label.
- Studies have revealed that commercial turmeric powders may contain fillers such as cassava starch or barley, wheat or rye flour.
- Eating turmeric that contains wheat, barley or rye flour will cause adverse symptoms in people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
- Some turmeric powders may also contain questionable food colorants, which are added to improve color when turmeric powders are diluted with flour.
- One food colourant frequently used in India is metanil yellow, also called acid yellow 36. Animal studies show that metanil yellow may cause cancer and neurological damage when consumed in high amounts.
- While the toxic effects of metanil yellow have not been investigated in humans, it’s illegal to use in the United States and Europe.
- Some turmeric powders may also be high in lead, a heavy metal that is especially toxic to the nervous system.
- The same agents in turmeric that support digestive health can cause irritation when taken in large amounts. Some participants in studies looking at the use of turmeric for cancer treatment had to drop out because their digestion was so negatively affected. Turmeric stimulates the stomach to produce more gastric acid. While this helps some people’s digestion, it can really do a number on others.
- Turmeric’s purifying properties may also make you bleed more easily. It’s not clear why this happens. Other suggested benefits of turmeric, such as lowered cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, probably have something to do with the way turmeric functions in your blood. People who take blood-thinning drugs like warfarin (Coumadin) should avoid consuming large doses of turmeric.
- You may have heard that eating foods seasoned with curry can stimulate labor. Although there’s little clinical data to back up this claim, studies suggest turmeric can ease symptoms of PMS. So there may be something to the old wives’ tale.
- Because of its blood-thinning effects alone, pregnant women should avoid taking turmeric supplements. Adding small amounts of turmeric as a spice to food shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s important to use caution when deciding whether turmeric is something you need to try. As with any alternative therapy, speak with your doctor before using turmeric to treat any health condition.
By Mercy Kukah