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June 2019

Turmeric for asthma: worth a try?

Turmeric is a hot commodity in the supplement world, emerging as one of the most widely used herbs in recent years. It contains curcumin and other chemicals that are thought to reduce inflammation, making it a popular natural medicine for conditions such as osteoarthritis, Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis, and others. Asthma involves inflammation of the airways, so there has been recent interest in using turmeric for this condition. So, is it worth trying?

Unfortunately, probably not. Early studies show that it might reduce the need for rescue inhalers in kids. But adding turmeric to standard asthma therapy doesn’t seem to improve lung function or reduce symptoms for most patients. It's possible that these studies were too small to observe significant benefit. But for now, there's no good evidence that turmeric benefits asthma patients. 

If patients still want to try turmeric for asthma, make sure they understand that they should not use it in place of standard treatments. And let them know that turmeric might have some safety concerns or may interact with medications they are already taking. For more details on safety or possible drug interactions, check out our recently updated monograph.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2019 Natural Medicines Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Medicines is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.