Last update May 19, 2021

Turmeric

Low Risk

Moderately safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

Turmeric, curcumin or Indian saffron is a yellowish vegetable pigment that is obtained from the boiled, dried and ground root of the Curcuma longa plant.
Curcumin is also found in the root of a related plant, Javanese turmeric (Curcuma xanthorrhiza), but not in very different plants, such as Canadian turmeric (Hydrastis canadensis) or saffron (Crocus sativus).
It is used as a condiment to flavor and color food (a component of curry) and as a colorant in cosmetics, medicines, fabrics and other materials.
It has antioxidant properties and is used in traditional medicine as a gallbladder stimulant (choleretic, cholagogue), appetite stimulant and general anti-inflammatory.
Listed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as “Traditional herbal medicine used for the relief of digestive disorders, such as feeling full, slow digestion and flatulence” (EMA 2018).
In some eastern cultures it is used as a galactogogue (Chaudhuri 1989)
Note: this plant has nothing to do with hydrastis, also called Canadian turmeric (Hydrastis canadensis).

At the date of the last update, we did not find any published data on its excretion in breast milk.

No problems have been observed in infants whose mothers took 100 mg of curcumin 3 times a day for 4 weeks (Bumrungpert 2018).

There is no consistent evidence of its galactogogue properties as the studies are of low methodological quality (Foong 2020) and used mixed with other plants such as fenugreek, a known galactogogue (Bumrungpert 2018). Furthermore, a study shows that curcumin inhibits breast milk production in vitro (Kobayashi 2021).

The best galactogogue is frequent on demand breastfeeding with correct technique in a mother who maintains her self-confidence (ABM 2018, Mannion 2012, Forinash 2012, ABM 2011).

TOPICAL USE ON THE CHEST:
Topical application of multi-composition Thai herbal compresses (turmeric, ginger and camphor) decreased the time to lactogenesis II or “milk surge” after delivery or caesarean section by about 5 hours (Dhippayom 2105), which is of doubtful clinical significance and hardly attributable exclusively to turmeric).

Its topical effect on postpartum breast engorgement or to treat pain or inflammation in mastitis has the same methodological flaws: compress application with up to 9 components, -turmeric, salt and other plants from the area of Thailand (Ketsuwan 2018) - , and there are doubts regarding the blind methodology (Afshariani 2014).

Topical allergic reactions (contact dermatitis) to curcumin are rare (Chaudhari 2015).

Should not be applied on the nipple to prevent the infant from ingesting it; if necessary, apply after one feeding and clean well with water before the next.

Although toxicity has not been demonstrated, the EMA has established a maximum daily intake of 2 mg/kg of body weight, which is 120 mg for a person weighing 60 kg (EMA 2018). Other agencies establish it at 3 mg/kg of weight (AESAN 2020). It is not advisable to take products with a turmeric content greater than 500 mg/kg for food or 200 mg/L for drink, and which are usually found in fine pastries and dairy products and flavored beverages (EMA 2018).

CULINARY USE:
It is used in many kitchens around the world as a flavoring and coloring and does not cause problems when consumed in culinary doses. Turmeric in its culinary use is therefore compatible with lactation.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Turmeric is also known as


Turmeric in other languages or writings:

Tradenames

Main tradenames from several countries containing Turmeric in its composition:

Pharmacokinetics

Variable Value Unit
Molecular weight 368 daltons

References

  1. Kobayashi K, Tsugami Y, Suzuki N, Suzuki T, Nishimura T. Suppressive effects of curcumin on milk production without inflammatory responses in lactating mammary epithelial cells. Phytomedicine. 2021 Jan;80:153360. Abstract
  2. None Fitoterapia.net. Vanaclocha B, Cañigueral S. 1992- 2021. Disponible en: https://www.fitoterapia.net. Abstract
  3. Foong SC, Tan ML, Foong WC, Marasco LA, Ho JJ, Ong JH. Oral galactagogues (natural therapies or drugs) for increasing breast milk production in mothers of non-hospitalised term infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 May 18;5:CD011505. Abstract
  4. AESAN - Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) Informe sobre el riesgo asociado al consumo de complementos alimenticios que contienen curcumina como ingrediente. [Report of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) on the risk associated with the consumption of food supplements that contain curcumin as an ingredient]. Revista del Comité Científico de la AESAN nº 32, p 85 -112. 2020 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. ABM: Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of Galactogogues in Initiating or Augmenting Maternal Milk Production, Second Revision 2018. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Jun;13(5):307-314 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. Bumrungpert A, Somboonpanyakul P, Pavadhgul P, Thaninthranon S. Effects of Fenugreek, Ginger, and Turmeric Supplementation on Human Milk Volume and Nutrient Content in Breastfeeding Mothers: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Nov 9. Abstract
  7. Ketsuwan S, Baiya N, Paritakul P, Laosooksathit W, Puapornpong P. Effect of Herbal Compresses for Maternal Breast Engorgement at Postpartum: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Jun;13(5):361-365. Abstract
  8. EMA (European Medicines Agency) - Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). European Union herbal monograph on Curcuma longa L., rhizoma. 2018 Full text (in our servers)
  9. EMA (European Medicines Agency) - Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Assessment report on Curcuma longa L., rhizoma. 2018 Full text (in our servers)
  10. AEMPS-Centrum. Extracto de cúrcuma Centrum. Ficha técnica. 2017 Full text (in our servers)
  11. Dhippayom T, Kongkaew C, Chaiyakunapruk N, Dilokthornsakul P, Sruamsiri R, Saokaew S, Chuthaputti A. Clinical effects of thai herbal compress: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:942378. Abstract
  12. Chaudhari SP, Tam AY, Barr JA. Curcumin: A Contact Allergen. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015 Nov;8(11):43-8. Abstract
  13. Afshariani R, Farhadi P, Ghaffarpasand F, Roozbeh J. Effectiveness of topical curcumin for treatment of mastitis in breastfeeding women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Oman Med J. 2014 Sep;29(5):330-4. Abstract
  14. Forinash AB, Yancey AM, Barnes KN, Myles TD. The use of galactogogues in the breastfeeding mother. Ann Pharmacother. 2012 Oct;46(10):1392-404. Abstract
  15. Mannion C, Mansell D. Breastfeeding self-efficacy and the use of prescription medication: a pilot study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:562704. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  16. ABM. Comité de Protocolos de la Academia Médica de Lactancia Materna. ABM Protocolo Clínico #9: Uso de Galactogogos para Iniciar o aumentar la tasa de secreción de Leche Materna. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  17. Chaudhuri RN, Ghosh BN, Chatterjee BN. Diet intake patterns of non-Bengali Muslim mothers during pregnancy and lactation. Indian J Public Health. 1989 Apr-Jun;33(2):82-3. Abstract

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