A woman has died after receiving an injection of turmeric from a naturopath.
The common spice, used in curries, was partly responsible for the death of 30-year-old Jade Erick from San Diego in California, ruled a medical examiner.
Ms Erick suffered a cardiac arrest caused by an adverse reaction to a turmeric solution administered intravenously.
A friend of hers told a local news channel she was interested in natural healing and her eczema had recently flared up, which could have led her to seek treatment.
Turmeric is grown throughout India and in other parts of Asia and Central America. It is similar to ginger and its root can be ground into an aromatic yellow powder.
It has been used in traditional South Asian medicine for centuries for many conditions, and is often taken as a dietary supplement for conditions such as arthritis and stomach problems.
The plant, and especially a chemical found in it called curcumin, is recommended as a natural treatment by a number of alternative lifestyle blogs.
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One site called Dr Axe has published an article titled “10 turmeric benefits: Superior to Medications?” that has been shared on Facebook more than 90,000 times.
It says: “When examining the research, turmeric benefits go beyond that of these 10 drugs: anti-inflammatory drugs; anti-depressants; chemotherapy; anti-coagulants (aspirin); painkillers; diabetes drugs; arthritis medications; inflammatory bowel disease drugs; cholesterol drugs; steroids”.
And a headline on the site althealthworks.com says: “Intravenous curcumin – Why it may be the best way to use turmeric yet for cancer, chronic inflammation and much more.”
Research has been conducted into the medical properties of turmeric but studies don’t strongly support naturopathic claims that it may help reduce inflammation.
A number of studies have shown that curcumin does have anti-cancer effects, according to Cancer Research UK, but the organisation says that more clinical trials are needed before any conclusions can be drawn.
“Turmeric used in cooking is very safe. But we don't know how safe curcumin is when used for medical reasons,” the charity said on its website.
“So far, research studies seem to show that it causes few or no side effects. But we don't know much about the side effects of taking it in large amounts to treat or prevent cancer.”
A one-hour intravenous infusion of turmeric in San Diego costs around $200 (£160), reported Forbes.
Local naturopathic doctors, who sell oral turmeric pills, told NBC they had not treated Ms Erick.
“Turmeric has been used for centuries and it's got many great properties, among them, one of most powerful anti-inflammatories we know of,” Hadas Hilewitz told the broadcaster.Reuse content