Whether you’re young or old, arthritis is a condition that could strike at any moment. Although more common in the elderly, this condition can still be of potential concern if preventative measures are not taken. Not surprisingly, arthritis, like most other health conditions, can be prevented or even treated with the implementation of the right foods. Among these arthritis-fighting foods is turmeric, a powerful spice used widely in India both for it’s taste-enhancing aspects and its ability to heal. This connection between turmeric and arthritis exists thanks to one active compound in turmeric known as curcumin; this compound possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties, allowing it to be used as an effective natural arthritis treatment.
Turmeric and Arthritis | Curcumin Used for Natural Arthritis Treatment
In a recent study, published in the March 2012 edition of Phytotherapy Research, the effectiveness and safety aspects of curcumin were researched on individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The human clinical trial and single-blinded pilot study was conducted to determine whether curcumin, both separately and when combined with an arthritis drug known as Voltaren, can help individuals with arthritis.
For the research, 45 individuals were put into 3 different groups: one group taking 500mg of curcumin twice daily, another taking 500mg of curcumin twice daily along with an arthritis drug, and the last only taking the arthritis drug. After 8 weeks, it was found that the curcumin group experienced the greatest improvement.
“The findings of this study are significant, as these demonstrate that curcumin was not only safe and effective, but was surprisingly more effective in alleviating pain compared with diclofenac…Our observations that curcumin alone was able to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in this study are quite encouraging, and these results provide an ideal springboard for investigating the potential of curcumin in other chronic diseases arising in the setting of dysregulated chronic inflammation,” wrote the study authors Binu Chandran and Ajay Goel.
In another study published in November 2006 in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology, turmeric extract prevented the production of enzymes that ignite the onset of inflammation. . Similarly, a study in the August 2009 issue of Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed how curcumin extract could be used as a natural arthritis treatment for those suffering arthritis in the knee. Individuals who took curcumin extract felt substantially less pain – even outranking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. The study concludes “These translational studies demonstrate in vivo efficacy and identify a mechanism of action for a well-characterized turmeric extract that supports further clinical evaluation of turmeric dietary supplements in the treatment of RA”.
Curcumin’s ability to inhibit several enzymes involved in the onset of inflammation, including cyclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, makes turmeric rank among any natural arthritis treatment. Since curcumin can suppress the enzyme COX-2, the production of prostaglandins – compounds that trigger inflammation and cause swelling and pain – is reduced.