The spice turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin, have several health benefits, including the ability to increase blood platelet count. But there are precautions to be aware of.

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Platelets are a part of your blood and are made in your bone marrow. They manage bleeding in your body by helping to form clots and prevent excessive bleeding. Having too few platelets can reduce your body’s ability to clot blood properly.

Turmeric, a spice and dietary supplement, may help increase your platelet count and reduce your risk of dangerous blood clots.

This article reviews how turmeric can affect your blood platelet levels and discusses some precautions to be aware of.

Turmeric is a spice related to ginger. It’s a major ingredient in curry powder — in fact, turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has long been used in Ayurveda and other healing methods to help with:

  • skin disorders
  • upper respiratory tract issues
  • joint problems
  • digestive conditions

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been found to have many health benefits, including:

  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • antioxidant capabilities
  • a possible decrease in the risk of brain diseases and age-related declines in brain function
  • the potential to help lower the risk of heart disease
  • the potential to increase blood platelet count

As a spice, turmeric alone does not have a high enough concentration of curcumin to offer significant health benefits. Turmeric extracts or supplements may be helpful if you’re looking to take advantage of the medicinal benefits.

Turmeric’s main active ingredient, curcumin, is a known anti-inflammatory agent and has been shown to increase platelet counts. It does this by preventing platelets from clumping, thus preventing harmful blood clots.

Turmeric is generally considered safe when used in moderation. Side effects are not common but may include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • allergic reactions

Turmeric may interact with certain medications. If you’re taking any blood thinning medications, such as aspirin or warfarin, talk with a healthcare professional before supplementing with turmeric. If you take turmeric with blood thinners, the effect of increasing platelet count and decreasing platelet clumping or adhesion to blood vessel walls could lead to bleeding.

Turmeric is not the only supplement that can increase blood platelet count. Foods high in folate and vitamin B12 may also boost your platelet count. Folate is found in dark leafy greens, legumes, and fresh fruit. You can get B12 from animal foods such as beef liver and eggs.

The following supplements may also stimulate platelet growth:

  • papaya leaf extract
  • iron
  • vitamin C
  • melatonin

It’s important to check in with a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement because some supplements may interact with medications or worsen existing health conditions.

While it’s possible for turmeric to increase platelet levels, you may need medications such as the following to speed up the process:

  • Corticosteroids: This category of medications is often a first-line treatment. It includes drugs such as prednisolone and dexamethasone.
  • Immunosuppressants: Used when corticosteroids do not work, these drugs prevent your immune system from destroying your existing platelets.
  • Anti-D immunoglobulin: Doctors use this medication to boost platelet counts in people with immune thrombocytopenia.
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG): This treatment is used to increase platelets and treat significant bleeding in immune thrombocytopenia.
  • Rituximab: This prescription drug is an antibody treatment. It may raise your infection risk.

All these medications can potentially increase platelet count, depending on the cause of low platelet count.

However, while the medications on this list can be used in immune thrombocytopenia, they may not be helpful for other causes of low platelets, such as drug-induced thrombocytopenia and sepsis.

In addition, many of these medications have known side effects, including an increased risk of blood clots. Talk with a healthcare professional before starting any treatment plan.

A low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia) may have several causes, including various health conditions. The following medical conditions can result in a low platelet count:

  • Autoimmune conditions: Certain chronic autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and immune thrombocytopenia, can cause your body to attack platelets.
  • Cancer: Blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma can damage bone marrow and destroy stem cells. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments can also damage these cells.
  • Aplastic anemia: This rare but serious blood disorder develops when your bone marrow stops making enough new blood cells.
  • Clotting conditions: Any condition that causes blood clots, such as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura or disseminated intravascular coagulation, can use up all your platelets, resulting in a low platelet count.
  • Enlarged spleen: When your spleen is enlarged, it can remove or store too many platelets in your blood.
  • Infections: Bacterial and viral infections may cause a short-term decrease in platelet count.
  • Pregnancy: Occasionally, low platelets may occur during pregnancy, especially closer to delivery.
  • Surgery: Certain surgical equipment used for blood transfusions or bypass surgery can destroy platelets.

Platelet count categories and ranges

The table below shows low, normal, and high platelet count categories and ranges.

Platelet count categoryPlatelet count range (per milliliter of blood)
low platelet countless than 150,000
normal platelet count150,000–450,000
high platelet countmore than 450,000

Turmeric is a spice that’s a common ingredient in curry powder. As a supplement, its active ingredient, curcumin, has several medicinal uses, including the potential to increase blood platelet levels.

Blood platelets help your body form clots and manage bleeding. Many health conditions can lead to a low platelet count. While medications may be necessary in some cases, turmeric supplements can play a role if you need to increase your platelet count.