[caption id="attachment_385" align="alignright" width="300"] Many articles show that turmeric is a safe and effective treatment for RA.[/caption]
When you search for “turmeric” on the Internet, these are just a few of the headlines that come up :
- Turmeric Extract Found Superior to Blockbuster Drug for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Turmeric Benefits Superior to 10 Medications at Reversing Disease
- Turmeric May Be The World's Most Important Herb
The good news is that many articles show that turmeric is a safe and effective treatment for RA. It’s inexpensive, readily available in your grocery or health food store, and has no side effects. Read on to discover what it is, and how to use it.
[caption id="attachment_386" align="alignright" width="300"]
Turmeric is the main spice in curry.[/caption]
Turmetic's Golden Power to Heal Joints
Turmeric is a highly prized health remedy with a revered place in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia, a comprehensive holistic health care list that dates back to 500 B.C.
Today, PubMed has more than 6,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles on curcumin
(the active compound in turmeric), making curcumin one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in science. It even surpasses other well-studied herbs such as garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, and ginger.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is one of the most popular spices in the world. It’s been prized in East India and the Middle East for thousands of years for its peppery flavor and for the unique kick it lends to foods.
It is the main spice in curry, and it also gives mustard its bright yellow color.
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, in the ginger family. It has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh.
It has been used throughout history as a condiment and textile dye, and a healing remedy. In ancient times, when healers noticed that turmeric had anti-inflammatory properties, they began to use it to treat a wide variety of conditions, such as aches and pains, jaundice, menstrual problems, hemorrhaging, toothaches, bruises, chest pain, flatulence, and colic.
Curcumin - primary pharmacological agent
[caption id="attachment_387" align="alignright" width="300"]
Curcumin is the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric, with powerful healing properties.[/caption]
is the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. It has proven health effects that are comparable to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents as well as some prescription medications.
But curcumin doesn't produce the toxic effect that synthetic drugs sometimes do, such as internal bleeding, ulcer formation and even a lowered white blood cell count.
Anti-inflammatory compounds in curcumin
The most powerful aspect of curcumin may be its ability to control inflammation. Inflammation puts people at risk for almost every disease process we know today, such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, and arthritis. Turmeric’s ability to keep inflammation at bay may be the key to reversing disease.
In fact, curcumin can be a better anti-inflammatory treatment than many of the popular medications. The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds. They found that curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world, more effective than aspirin and ibuprofen.
“A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene
found that curcumins were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen
in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.”
Curcumin for arthritis management
[caption id="attachment_388" align="alignright" width="300"]
Curcumin is known for its powerful ability to reduce pain.[/caption]
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is known for its powerful ability to reduce pain. In a 2012 study conducted on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients, published in Phytotherapy Research in 2012, the benefits of curcumin in turmeric were compared with the arthritis drug diclofenac sodium.
The study split the participants into three groups: those given curcumin treatment alone, those given diclofenac sodium alone, a third group given a combination of the two. The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement
, and their scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group.
Even more important, the curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events associated with diclofenac, such as the risk of developing leaky gut and heart disease.
According to Dr. Josh Axe, author of The Real Food Diet Cookbook
, Superfood Super You
, and The Dr. Axe Detox
, “This study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.”
According to Sayer Ji, author, educator and founder of GreenMedInfo, the most widely referenced health resource of its kind, “What is most remarkable about the study is not that turmeric curcuminoids have potent anti-inflammatory properties – there are already hundreds of studies confirming its COX-2 reducing
and otherwise anti-inflammatory effects
-- but rather how much safer they are relative to NSAID drugs like diclofenac
, which like most pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs have been linked to adverse health effects such as increased cardiac mortality, miscarriage and seizure
8 Ways to Use Turmeric to Heal Joints
To get the most out of turmeric’s health benefits, you can use it as a food or a supplement.
[caption id="attachment_389" align="alignright" width="300"]
Turmeric adds delicious flavor to many dishes like soups, vegetables and rice.[/caption]
1. Choose the full, organic turmeric spice rather than a curry blend, which has a negligible amount of curcumin.
2. Use turmeric to add delicious flavor to dishes such as mashed potatoes or cauliflower, vegetable sautés with onions, broccoli, carrots, or bell peppers, in soups, shakes or teas, or as a base for creamy vegetable dips, sauces, and egg salads.
3. To benefit from cooking with turmeric, be sure to add some black pepper to the food. The curcumin in turmeric is not easily absorbed unless you add black pepper or piperine, a compound in black pepper.
To ease arthritis pain, it’s difficult to get enough turmeric from food alone. Most natural experts suggest you try supplements.
Dr. Andrew Weil
, a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, recommends taking turmeric supplements as follows:
4. Whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including for arthritis and tendonitis
5. Take 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric extracts (available in tablets or capsules) three times per day or as directed on the product label. Look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids.
6. When shopping for supplements, choose one that contains black pepper extract or piperine.
7. Be patient when taking turmeric supplements. The full benefits may not be apparent for eight weeks.
8. Don't use turmeric if you have gallstones or bile duct dysfunction. Pregnant women shouldn't use it without their doctors' approval. Discuss the advisability of taking curcumin with your physician.