Turmeric and curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce joint pain, inflammation and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation
The yellow powder from the root of the turmeric plant is thought to treat arthritis by blocking cytokines and enzymes that cause inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation noted studies on the effectiveness of turmeric for the treatment of the disease that causes pain and stiffness in the joints.
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A 2006 study suggested turmeric had a better effect in preventing joint inflammation than reducing inflammation. Research in 2010 showed long-term improvement in pain and functioning for 100 patients with osteoarthritis in the knee after taking a turmeric supplement with curcumin. A small study in 2012 indicated that BCM-95, a curcumin product, worked better at reducing joint pain and swelling for patients than a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reported
on a study that showed a reduction in pain and disability for people who took a formula of herbs and minerals, including turmeric, winter cherry, boswellia, and zinc, although it was not clear of turmeric’s effects on the improvement.
UMMC pointed out that turmeric has been used for thousands of years in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including the reduction of inflammation. Curcumin is an antioxidant that combats free radicals, which damage cells in the body. Antioxidants help prevent damage caused by free radicals.
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Turmeric is used as a spice in Indian cooking and is also available as a supplement. Although it remains an unproven treatment, it has “some preliminary convincing research” for treatment for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as for high cholesterol, stomach ulcers, colorectal cancer, and other disorders, according to WebMD
For osteoarthritis, the Arthritis Foundation recommends
taking 400 mg to 600 mg turmeric capsules three times a day, or using powdered root of 0.5 g to 1 g up to 3 g per day. For rheumatoid arthritis, 500 mg twice a day is recommended.
The foundation warned that turmeric can act as a blood thinner and cause upset stomach.
WebMD reported that pregnant women
should not take turmeric supplements. Turmeric can interact with prescribed medication, aspirin, NSAIDs and other supplements. People considering turmeric for arthritis should consult their doctor.
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