Can You Take Turmeric with Blood Pressure Medication?

  • Medical Reviewer: Dany Paul Baby, MD
Medically Reviewed on 4/13/2022

Turmeric may not react well with some medications, including blood pressure medication.
Turmeric may not react well with some medications, including blood pressure medication.

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

High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a chronic condition that can lead to several health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, eye conditions, and kidney failure.

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. 

These include:

Iron malabsorption. Curcumin supplements can suppress iron absorption. That is why they are not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as people who have iron deficiencies.

Hypoglycemia. Turmeric may strengthen the activity of drugs used to control type 2 diabetes, an effect that can increase the risk of low blood sugar.

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.

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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.

Lessening inflammation. Curcumin can be beneficial to people with inflammatory conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

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:

These may be herbal supplements, but they aren't necessarily safe just because they're natural.

Conclusion

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.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/13/2022
References
The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry: “Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial.”

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.”