Is Turmeric Safe for Pregnant Women to Use?
The Natural Medicines' monograph for turmeric states that it is "likely unsafe to take orally in medicinal doses if pregnant." This warning is based on a botanical safety handbook published in 1997. It lists turmeric as a category 2b substance that could cause uterine contractions. (i.62)
Recently published lab data suggests the turmeric compound curcumin may actually slow down contractions. In the experiment, researchers added curcumin to a solution with rat uteri. The curcumin significantly reduced both the strength and frequency of uterine contractions. (i.92-93)
The effects were similar when the uteri were exposed to oxytocin after pretreating them with curcumin. Oxytocin is a natural hormone that stimulates contractions. It also encourages milk-letdown in mothers after childbirth. (i.92-93)
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