Turmeric is a spice used in many parts of the world. It is one of the main ingredients in curry powder.
Turmeric also has a long history of application in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a practice rooted in ancient Indian medicine dating back more than 3,000 years.
As with many other medications, though, it is important to consult your doctor about taking blood pressure medicine alongside plant extracts. This includes turmeric extract.
What to know about turmeric
Turmeric is orange-brown, yellow, or reddish-yellow in color when in plant form. Once it's dried and ground, it turns into a soft, fine, and bright yellow-orange powder. This color comes from curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric.
Curcumin is well-known for its health benefits. It reduces inflammation and neutralizes free radicals while boosting the function of other antioxidants.
Owing to its health benefits, curcumin is commonly accepted in medicine and is available as a supplement. If you are taking a curcumin supplement, though, talk to your doctor to see if it is safe for you to use it alongside other treatments.
Curcumin and blood pressure
Some studies document that curcumin can promote the widening of blood vessels, which in turn, increases blood flow and reduces blood pressure. Due to this characteristic, it has additive effects if taken with antihypertensives.
According to one study, turmeric extract curcumin was found to prevent the development of hypertension due to its effect on specific cells that are found in the inner walls of your heart and blood vessels.
Effects of curcumin supplements on your health
Some people take curcumin supplements to treat migraines, memory loss, and more. Turmeric may not react well, though, with some medications, including blood pressure medication. If you take curcumin supplements regularly and in high doses, they can affect your health in a variety of ways.
Gut issues. Other side effects of high doses of curcumin include stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. It can also increase the production of stomach acid when taken with an antacid like Omeprazole.
Blood-thinning. High doses of curcumin could also have a blood-thinning effect and increase the risk of dangerous bleeding. This is especially likely if you take it with prescribed anticoagulants or blood thinners like aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Jantoven).
The recommended dose of turmeric is 500 milligrams when it is taken daily with food. Even so, the right dose for you depends on your overall health. The risk of side effects is low, but you should stop taking curcumin supplements if you start noticing negative effects.
Cooking with turmeric shouldn’t cause problems, as the levels of curcumin concentration are typically low.
Health benefits of turmeric
Turmeric is often used in curries in India, served in tea and other drinks in Japan and Korea, used as a cosmetic aid in Thailand, included as a colorant in China, and applied as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent in Pakistan and Malaysia. In the United States, turmeric is used for all these applications and many more.
Other benefits of turmeric include:
Improving memory. According to a past study, taking 90 milligrams of curcumin twice a day for 18 months was found to enhance memory performance in adults who didn’t have dementia.
Fighting depression. There’s evidence that curcumin could be as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in lessening the symptoms of depression. In addition, it can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that your brain uses to regulate mood and other body functions.
Reducing pain. There’s evidence that turmeric extract could potentially reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis, a chronic joint condition. Perhaps that’s why turmeric has deep roots in both Chinese traditional medicine and Ayurveda for treating arthritis.
Curcumin is not the only supplement you should be concerned about if you’re taking blood pressure medications. Some supplements can raise your blood pressure, and others can interfere with medications that are intended to lower your blood pressure.
If you’re on blood pressure medications, talk to your doctor before taking any of the following supplements:
- Arnica (Arnica montana)
- Ephedra (ma-huang)
- Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius and Panax ginseng)
- Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
These may be herbal supplements, but they aren't necessarily safe just because they're natural.
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As with many other medications, it is important to consult your doctor about taking blood pressure medicine alongside plant extracts. Normally, though, turmeric is healthy and should not be hazardous to ingest.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Arthritis-health: “Do Curcumin Supplements Have Drawbacks?”
British Heart Foundation: “Should I be taking turmeric supplements?”
Cleveland Clinic: “7 Health Benefits of Turmeric.”
Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: “Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.”
Foods: “Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health.”
Frontiers in Pharmacology: “Turmeric and Its Major Compound Curcumin on Health: Bioactive Effects and Safety Profiles for Food, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnological and Medicinal Applications.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “What is Ayurveda?”
Mayo Clinic: “Medications and supplements that can raise your blood pressure.”
Pharmacological Research: “The effect of Curcumin/Turmeric on blood pressure modulation: A systematic review and meta-analysis.”
Scientific Reports: “Curcumin Exerts its Anti-hypertensive Effect by Down-regulating the AT1 Receptor in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells.”
The Scientific World Journal: “Potentials of Curcumin as an Antidepressant.”
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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What Are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?Turmeric is a root closely related to ginger, sometimes referred to as Indian saffron. Health benefits of turmeric may include improvements in type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, certain cancers, digestive disorders, respiratory infections, allergies, liver disease and depression.
What Is Turmeric Tea Good For?A vital constituent of turmeric, called curcumin, makes the tea beneficial. Turmeric tea is prepared by steeping the turmeric root in warm water. Research suggests that curcumin is five to eight times more beneficial than vitamin E.
Which Medications Should Not Be Taken With Turmeric?Turmeric is a blood thinner. So if you are on other blood-thinning medications, you shouldn’t take turmeric or turmeric supplements as doing so may increase your risk of bleeding and bruising or even make the other medications less effective.
Who Should Not Use Turmeric?Turmeric is a spice mainly used in Asian cuisine. It has antiseptic and antioxidant benefits. People who should not take turmeric include those with gallbladder problems, bleeding disorders, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), infertility, iron deficiency, liver disease, hormone-sensitive conditions and arrhythmia. Pregnant women and those who are going to undergo surgery should not use turmeric.