Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease prevalent among people of advanced age. But this is not to say that it is only applicable to aged people alone, arthritis can be found among people of middle age or below.
Usually, it is believed that there is no cure for arthritis and the patient would only have to keep enduring the pain. While there are lots of medical treatments for this condition, most of the medical treatments come with severe side effects.
Recently, studies on alternative cure and natural home remedies for the sickness show that turmeric – a natural spice often used for cooking – can be an effective remedy for the treatment of arthritis.
Turmeric is one of the centuries-old spices used to add flavor to all kinds of cooking. Turmeric is also used to achieve a yellow color in curry. Aside from the culinary benefits, turmeric is touted for its great pain and anti-inflammatory properties.
How Turmeric Works for Arthritis
Turmeric is said to contain a very potent pain and anti-inflammatory component referred to as Curcumin. Curcumin is believed to be the major compound in turmeric that helps to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritis. Regular consumption of curcumin is also believed to inhibit the works of certain enzymes and cytokines in the body responsible for pain. With consistent use for at least six months, patients can experience little or no pain.
In a study involving about 139 arthritis patients, the patients were treated with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or curcumin for one month. The result shows that 97% of those treated with curcumin and 94% of those treated with NSAID reported a significant reduction of pain to up to 50%.
Since curcumin can be gotten from turmeric and turmeric is a natural remedy, there was no reported side effect from patients who have used this. This made the spice a go-to cure for arthritis. If you have arthritis, here are some of the ways you can use turmeric to treat the diseases.
How to use turmeric for the treatment of arthritis
There are many ways turmeric can be used for the treatment of arthritis, however, research has shown that using turmeric in high doses is the only possible way of getting effective results. This is because curcumin has poor bioavailability. Hence, it absorbs poorly into the system.
Also, turmeric is available in two different ways: the root form, similar to ginger root, and the dried and powdered form. The best ways to use turmeric include:
As a spice
For the treatment of arthritis, turmeric can be used as a spice for cooking. However, because of its yellow color, the spice may not be good for all kinds of dishes. Turmeric can be added in high quantity to dishes like rice, and salad.
It is important to note that the curcumin compound found in turmeric is only 2 to 9%, hence using it just as spice might not be as effective as when it is combined with other methods. Also when using turmeric as a spice, don’t forget to add some black peppers to boost the absorption of the spice.
As a tea
Turmeric tea is readily available and can be gotten from the pharmacy or from supermarkets. To make your own turmeric tea, follow the steps below:
- Boil two cups of water with one spoonful of turmeric tea. Add about half a spoonful of black pepper to the water and allow this to boil for 15 minutes
- Allow the mixture to cool a bit. You can either take this alone or add some sweeteners like honey, lemon or milk
- When choosing your turmeric tea, You can go for a more herbal one like McKel Hill’s turmeric tea. The tea contains some other effective herbs for the treatment of arthritis such as ginger and cinnamon.
For effective result, you can use turmeric both as tea and as a spice. This would help to increase the quantity of curcumin absorb into the body and also hasten the result of the treatment
As a supplement
While turmeric is not available as a supplement, curcumin is. Curcumin is available both as a supplement and as a capsule. Also, studies on the effectiveness of turmeric for arthritis is usually carried out using curcumin.
Instead of taking turmeric, taking curcumin supplements is more advisable. This is because the curcumin compound in turmeric is very low and using the supplement helps to increase the curcumin absorbed into the body. Also, most of the store-bought curcumin supplements contain natural spice that helps to hasten absorption. The spice includes piperine and black pepper.
For the treatment of arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation recommends a minimum of 500mg curcumin supplement. This should be taken at least twice in the day.
Things to note before using turmeric for arthritis
Both turmeric and curcumin are generally safe. However, if you are on medication before, it is important to talk to your doctor before using the herbs. This is because curcumin can interact with other medications and either inhibit the work of the medication or reduce it. Also, while there are no reported side effects of using turmeric and curcumin supplement for arthritis, some might arise if you are on medication for another health-related issue such as
- Blood thinner
Some curcumin supplements can contain piperine which can also interfere with other medications such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and propranolol (Inderal). Aside from all these, turmeric is generally safe and highly effective.