It has long been recognized in holistic health that in order to reduce pain, you must reduce the inflammation associated with and contributing to that pain. In addition, holism works to allow the body to heal itself by providing the necessary nutrients and to allow it to build back up and heal. The effects of chronic inflammation and pain can be devastating not only to your muscles and joints, but to the whole body.
Curcumin, a main ingredient of turmeric, has been used for thousands of years for its ability to reduce inflammation and to help in the treatment of pain. Because of its potent anti-inflammatory properties, it has demonstrated benefit not only in the treatment of arthritis, but also has been shown to have significant heart benefits and anti-cancer properties. For those suffering with osteoarthritis, the addition of turmeric can be extremely helpful in lowering inflammation, treating pain, and helping to restore function and improve quality of life.
How does turmeric work to fight inflammation? Well, in one study the authors demonstrated that turmeric can inhibit different pathways in the body that stimulate the inflammation. Unlike prescription medications, it has no detrimental side effects. For example, nonsteroidal medications (aka NSAIDS) have significant risks associated with them such as gastrointestinal bleeding, elevated blood pressure and worsening kidney function.
This makes Turmeric invaluable in the treatment of osteoarthritis. In one research study, Turmeric was found to be very beneficial in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. It is well tolerated and has a wonderful safety profile with few side effects. When it is combined with other herbs and supplements such as Devils Claw and the Omega 3 fish oils, the synergistic effect of all three can reduce inflammation and relieve pain compared to using Turmeric alone.
- Funk JL, Frye JB et al. “Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis.” Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2006 Nov;54(11):3452-64..
- Henrotin Y, Priem F et al. “Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: curcumin for osteoarthritis management.” SpringerPlus. 2013 Dec;2(1):56.
- Hu P, Huang P et al. “Curcumin attenuates cyclooxygenase-2 expression via inhibition of the NF-κB pathway in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated human gingival fibroblasts.” Cell Biology International. 2013 May;37(5):443-8
- Madhu K, Chanda K et al. “Safety and efficacy of Curcuma longa extract in the treatment of painful knee osteoarthritis: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.” Immunopharmacology. 2013 Apr;21(2):129-36.