June 2020

Understanding Turmeric & Echinacea COVID-19 Warnings

Some experts are now warning that several natural medicines, including turmericechinacealicorice, and others might interfere with the body’s immune and inflammatory response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Make sure patients understand these warnings.

Turmeric, echinacea, and licorice have anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDs. Several months ago, France’s health minister claimed that taking NSAIDs might increase the risk of severe COVID-19. But currently there isn’t any strong evidence supporting this claim – experts still believe that NSAIDs can be considered for use in patients with COVID-19, just as they would be for any other fever or infection. This new warning about natural medicines is also coming out of France, for similar reasons to the NSAIDs warning.

French health authorities are also warning that some ingredients might negatively affect the body’s immune response to COVID-19. Cat’s claw, meadowsweet, birch and several other plants containing salicylic acid derivatives are among those on their list. It’s important to note that in vitro data, not clinical data, is the basis for these warnings.

Tell patients that there isn’t any good evidence that any herbs or supplements interfere with the body’s response to COVID-19. But make sure that they also understand there isn’t any good data to support using any of these natural medicines for COVID-19 treatment or prevention. Advise patients to focus on healthy lifestyle choices – getting 8 hours of proper sleep each night, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

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Reviewed February 2023

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 © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed 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.