The safety and interactions of turmeric when taken orally as a medicine

About Turmeric

Orally, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is used as a spice in foods and as a medicine. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric.

Turmeric in medical conditions

Orally, turmeric has been used for various conditions, including:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • ulcerative colitis
  • dyspepsia
  • cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol

Turmeric in cooking

The amounts of turmeric used in cooking are low and unlikely to have therapeutic or adverse effects.

Turmeric supplements

  • Products sold as food supplements are not subject to the same quality and safety standards as conventional medicines.
  • Contamination of turmeric and curcumin supplements with another active ingredient cannot always be ruled out.
  • Buy supplements from a trusted source to reduce the associated risks.

Special patient groups

Children, adolescents and pregnant women should avoid using medicinal doses of turmeric until there is more evidence of its safety.


  • When it is taken as a medicine, a common dose of turmeric is 400 to 600 mg three times a day, which is equivalent to 60 g of fresh turmeric root or 15g of turmeric powder.
  • In clinical cancer trials, doses of 4000 to 8000 mg (4 to 8 g) a day of curcumin are typical.
  • Only high doses of curcumin are absorbed into the blood and can have an effect throughout the body.
  • Giving curcumin with piperine (a constituent of pepper) enhances the absorption of curcumin.