Turmeric may help relieve joint pain

Arthritis is the most common joint disorder in the United States, and knees are often the first joints affected by the condition. One study found that in people above age 60, more than 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women had symptoms of arthritis in their knees.

OTC and prescription pain medication can offer relief but are frequently associated with side effects. These side effects include kidney damage and heart problems. Almost 20 percent of Americans report some degree of knee pain, according to figures published in 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pain can range from mild stiffness to levels that are nearly disabling.

Recent studies have found that turmeric, a flavorful spice popular in India, may help relieve joint pain. The spice is popular in Ayurvedic medicine but is mainly used in food in the United States and not as a medication. Experts say that there is increasingly clear evidence that the active ingredient in turmeric may have health benefits. “It is widely believed that curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And for this reason, it’s frequently used as a supplement by many people to help with joint symptoms,” Dr. Nagendra Gupta, FACP, CPE, an internist at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, said.

A study published in the medical journal Trials compared the effectiveness of turmeric to that of an anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac. Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is a frequently used spice in South Asian foods like curries, and it can add a warm orange or yellow color to meats and rice dishes. It also has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, and research finds that it “has a surprisingly wide range of beneficial properties.” Curcumin, unlike some NSAIDs, has also been determined to be nontoxic. NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, taken in excess can cause symptoms that include convulsions, coma, and acute renal (kidney) failure.

Source: Healthline