The well-known medicinal herb turmeric could aggravate typhoid infection caused by the lethal Salmonella bacteria, say Indian researchers.

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Studies conducted by scientists of the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) found that Salmonella bacteria that causes typhoid and other food-borne diseases, grew three times faster when exposed to ‘curcumin’, the main molecular component of turmeric.

“Our data is the first of its kind which suggests that curcumin can increase the pathogenicity of Salmonella by making it more robust. Hence, especially during Salmonella infections, the consumption of curcumin should be avoided,” PhD scholar Sandhya Marathe and Dipshikha Chakravortty, Associate Professor, Centre for Infectious Diseases Research, Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at IISc, said.

Eating food stuffs containing turmeric ingredients should be avoided during the outbreak of food-borne diseases, suggest the study.

The findings were carried in the latest edition of PLoS ONE , a scientific journal published by US Public Library of Science .

Turmeric is an indispensable spice of the Indian and Asian kitchens, “but the latest experimental data urges us to rethink the indiscriminate use of curcumin especially during Salmonella outbreaks, although curcumin is known for its action against several diseases including cancer, hypertension and Alzheimer’s, and is even sold as tablets over the counter as a panacea for all,” Chakravortty has stated.


The high intake of curcumin could be one of the reasons for the widespread Salmonella infections in Asian countries, where typhoid kills close to five lakh people every year.

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The findings were carried in the latest edition of PLoS ONE , a scientific journal published by US Public Library of Science .

Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.

The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.


The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.

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