Turmeric is also known as Indian Gold thanks to its deep rich, golden yellow color. Many traditional Indian doctors or practitioners of Ayurveda recommend turmeric for its healing and antibiotic properties. The western world is also slowly waking up to the benefits of this culinary spice. However, as far as urine infections are concerned, there are mixed reports about turmeric. Some people believe that there is a correlation between turmeric and frequent urination or an overactive bladder. Many women wrote in to us asking us if turmeric causes blood in urine or interstitial cystitis. Today we will answer all these questions and help
Turmeric for UTIs
Turmeric is extensively used in Indian cuisine and traditional herbalists believe that this spice also has more than 50 healing benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Antacid for digestion
- Wound healing benefits (turmeric bandages wrapped around broken, injured skin prevents infections thanks to its antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
- Analgesic or pain relieving action for headaches etc
- Topical skin cream for pimples, acne etc
- Decongestant for coughs colds, sinusitis and other upper respiratory problems.
Thanks to modern medical science, much more research has been conducted on turmeric, and, in particular, on its anti-inflammatory properties. Science has now proven the therapeutic benefits of this culinary spice. As a result, more and more doctors are recommending turmeric extracts for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, stomach ulcers and even those suffering from frequent urine infections. Its primary constituent curcumin is now believed to be an active antioxidant that relieves pain and inflammation, drops histamine levels, improves blood and promotes liver detoxification.
Turmeric for bladder cancer
Turmeric is popular as an anti-cancer spice. Hundreds of research studies have proven that curcumin can inhibit activation of genes that trigger cancer, impede the spread of tumor cells and also hinder transformation of normal cells into cancer cells. Studies have shown lower incidence of colon cancer in Asian countries where turmeric is a primary constituent of cooking.
According to herbalist Linda Page[i] , the primary use of curcumin is to reduce risk of uterine and bladder cancers, clear skin cancer, prevent menstrual pain, and treat jaundice and gall bladder issues.
Can turmeric cause blood in urine?
Turmeric has a yellow-orange color that can occasionally cause the urine to display a bold yellow color. This color change is temporary and does not indicate any adverse reaction or side effect. The only side effect of excess turmeric is diarrhea, upset stomach or indigestion. These effects usually go away after a while. As such turmeric is very safe for use and does not cause blood in urine. If you are having bloody urine, do visit your doctor immediately.
Can turmeric cause bladder irritation?
As stated above, turmeric is very safe for use and does not cause adverse effects. Many people eat curry powder for its turmeric content. Curry powder tends to be spicy and could cause bladder irritation. Very sensitive people with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome may want to avoid turmeric as curcumin’s yellow pigment is believed to have an irritant effect on the gastric mucosa. If you wish to take turmeric for its healing, anti-oxidant benefits, you may use many of its effective forms like capsules, tinctures etc. Additionally, you can also safely use turmeric poultice for its antioxidant and pain relieving properties. Do note that turmeric stains clothes and skin.
Turmeric and interstitial cystitis
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is also known as painful bladder syndrome. It has symptoms very similar to that of an UTI such as pain while urinating and frequent urination. For some women, this pain can be so intense that they need anesthetic injections to control it. Many a woman has been depressed and suicidal owing to this condition. One solution to control the symptoms of IC is to strictly avoid bladder irritating foods like caffeine, alcohol, citrusy fruits, tomatoes etc. Additionally, patients must also eat bladder soothing foods like ginger and turmeric.
Here is an easy Turmeric Tea recipe for dealing with IC:
- 8 oz fresh distilled water
- 1 tsp organic, raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with ‘mother’
- 1/8 tsp ground organic turmeric
- A pinch of black pepper
- ¼ tsp ginger root powder (or you can use the juice of half an inch of grated ginger root). As such ginger for UTI is a very popular remedy and aids in soothing pain and inflammation.
- 1 tbsp raw, organic honey
Boil the water and add remaining ingredients. Drink this soothing tea 3-4 times a day to relieve bladder irritation. You can also add turmeric powder to warm milk and drink it daily at bedtime.
Turmeric is generally very safe and you can take it for its cancer preventative properties. It will not cause an overactive bladder and even women with interstitial cystitis have successfully used it for treating their symptoms. Turmeric certainly does not cause blood in urine though in excess amounts, you may notice dark yellow urine. If you feel turmeric is causing bladder irritation, try eliminating it for a few days. Eliminating one food after other in gradual steps can help you pinpoint the exact cause of bladder irritation. Also check out my other article on remedies to stop bladder irritation.
[i] How to be Your Own Herbal Pharmacist: Herbal Traditions – Expert Formulations-by Linda Page