Turmeric may help osteoarthritis knee pain, small study suggests


  • Turmeric, a bright yellow-orange spice related to ginger, has been researched for potential anti-inflammatory benefits, responsible for a compound called curcumin.
  • A small new study has found that turmeric may be helpful in treating osteoarthritic knee pain.
  • Data on 70 patients found that taking turmeric capsules for 12 weeks was more effective than a placebo for pain relief.
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There is new evidence that your joint pain can be relieved.

Turmeric, a brightly colored spice in curry and related to ginger root, has been shown to relieve osteoarthritis of the knee compared to a placebo, according to a small study published 14 September in the Journal of Internal Medicine is.

Researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia studied 70 patients over 40 years of age with osteoarthritis of the knee, who were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Half the patients received two capsules with a total of 1000 mg of turmeric each day for 12 weeks, while the other half received a placebo.

They found that patients taking turmeric significantly reduced knee pain at the end of the study, according to a standardized questionnaire. They experienced better knee function and less pain during use, not only that four participants stopped or reduced other pain medications, and none of the patients taking turmeric reported any side effects.

However, turmeric was not effective for treating other aspects of osteoarthritis of the knee, such as the physical function of the knee, fluid buildup, or knee cartilage health, the researchers found.

Turmeric has long been used to treat arthritis in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and research has found that the active ingredient, a compound called curcumin, has well-documented anti-inflammatory properties.

There were several limitations to this study.

First, it was funded by a natural products company out of India that sells turmeric supplements for knee pain. Although this funder was not involved in the design, analysis, or publication of the study, financial relationships to the research generally present a potential conflict of interest.

Second, the study is relatively short, and the 12-week time period was not sufficient to understand the potential long-term effects of treatment, so more research is needed.

However, the results are supported by previous evidence suggesting that curcumin has shown promise for the treatment of osteoarthritis. A 2016 review of 8 studies found that curcumin seems effective as pain medications such as ibuprofen for the treatment of knee pain; However, the review concluded that there was a moderate risk of bias in most studies, and more rigorous research should be done about whether curcumin can effectively treat knee pain.

This research is promising, as osteoarthritis of the knee affects around 250 million people worldwide, but there are few available medications to treat it effectively, and current treatments can have side effects such as digestive issues, bloating, and heartburn.

This adds to existing evidence that turmeric, and curcumin in particular, is a safe way to get many health benefits, including antioxidant effects, eliminating chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and even promoting cognitive health .

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