A bioactive compound in turmeric, called curcumin, may have an effect on the digestive system. However, there is little scientific evidence that turmeric is good for acid reflux symptoms.

Acid reflux occurs when the contents of a person’s stomach travel back up the esophagus, or food pipe. If acid reflux becomes chronic, doctors refer to the condition as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

In this article, we discuss the properties of turmeric and whether this spice may reduce acid reflux symptoms. We also look at some other treatment options.

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Turmeric could help protect mucosal cells in the esophagus from stomach acid damage.

The authors of a 2019 review suggest that this protective effect is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the curcumin compound in turmeric. However, researchers need to conduct more studies comparing the effectiveness of curcumin with that of clinical treatments.

When a person has acid reflux, their stomach contents, which include digestive fluid, travel back up the esophagus. The fluid contains hydrochloric acid, which irritates and inflames the lining of the esophagus. In the long term, acid reflux can result in complications, such as Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.

Learn more about acid reflux here.

Before using turmeric as a treatment for acid reflux, a person should discuss their symptoms with a doctor. People should also take care not to consume too much turmeric while pregnant or when breastfeeding or chestfeeding.

A person can take turmeric in various ways. Many grocery stores sell it in the form of a powder, which people can add to meals or combine with boiled water to make turmeric tea. Alternatively, people can obtain the powder by grinding dried turmeric stems or rhizomes.

People who dislike the taste of turmeric powder or cannot find it in the store could take herbal turmeric supplements instead.

Combining turmeric with black pepper may help the body absorb more curcumin, which, in turn, could amplify its health benefits. Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that helps stabilize curcumin so that the body can absorb it before it breaks down.

Before taking turmeric for acid reflux, a person should speak with their doctor about the potential health risks, which include:

  • Consuming excessive quantities of turmeric could lead to side effects, such as headaches and diarrhea.
  • People with a history of kidney stones should ensure that they do not consume too much turmeric. When turmeric breaks down in the body, it releases oxalates, and high oxalate levels may lead to the formation of kidney stones.
  • If someone has celiac disease or gluten intolerance, they should take care when buying turmeric powder. Some unreputable manufacturers may bulk out the powder with gluten-based fillers but not disclose this on the ingredients label.
  • According to a 2018 review, turmeric is an anticoagulant. Due to this, it could interact with drugs that affect blood clotting, such as aspirin and warfarin. People who consume turmeric while on these medications may notice that they bruise and bleed more easily. If someone has a prescription for any anticoagulant medication, they should speak with their doctor before increasing their turmeric intake.

Learn more about the side effects of turmeric here.

People experiencing frequent acid reflux or GERD can make several lifestyle adjustments to reduce the symptoms, including stopping smoking. Altering the diet and managing body weight by increasing physical activity levels can also help.


Making dietary changes may alleviate acid reflux symptoms. A person may find it beneficial to limit or eliminate certain foods and beverages, including:

  • acidic foods
  • chocolate
  • high fat foods
  • caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and tea
  • mint
  • spicy foods
  • alcoholic drinks

People may also notice a reduction in acid reflux symptoms if they eat small meals at least 4 hours before bedtime.

Learn more about foods to eat and avoid with GERD here.

Physical exercise

A doctor may recommend that a person with excess body weight increase their activity levels to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. A person could spread this over 5 days, dedicating 30 minutes of each day to staying active.

Examples of aerobic exercises include swimming and running. Muscle-strengthening workouts, such as resistance training and hill walks, are another good option. People who are new to exercise should gradually increase the duration and intensity of their workouts to build up their fitness levels.

Learn more about aerobic exercise here.

Turmeric may be unsuitable for some people with acid reflux. These individuals can speak with a doctor about trying the following treatments:


A person can take antacids to relieve heartburn. Antacids are suitable for mild symptoms, and a person should not take them every day. The side effects may include diarrhea or constipation.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

A doctor may prescribe PPIs for chronic acid reflux or GERD. PPIs reduce the amount of acid in the stomach and can heal the esophageal lining. They are available over the counter (OTC) or on prescription.

H2 blockers

When a person takes H2 blockers, their stomach may not produce as much acid. These medications may also help the esophagus heal, but PPIs are more effective. Both OTC and prescription-strength H2 blockers are available.

If someone is experiencing frequent acid reflux after reducing their intake of acidic foods, they should get medical advice.

While waiting for an appointment, a person can try using turmeric to reduce their symptoms. However, it is important to note that more research is necessary to determine the effectiveness of turmeric in relieving acid reflux symptoms.

Due to this, a person might wish to try OTC medications first.

Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin. This compound may have several health benefits, including reducing symptoms of acid reflux.

However, there are insufficient studies to confirm the effectiveness of turmeric as an acid reflux treatment. Consequently, people who experience acid reflux should discuss their symptoms and treatment options with a doctor.

Standard treatment options for acid reflux and GERD include antacids, PPIs, and H2 blockers.