How Turmeric Can Treat Arthritis Pain and Inflammation

Turmeric, a plant root that gives a bright yellow color to curries, has long been used for medicinal purposes in India and China. Now, Western counties are discovering its use in fighting pain and inflammation in the body.

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can be especially helpful for those with arthritis. This includes both degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) and inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, or others).

See Turmeric, Vitamin D, and Coenzyme Q10 for Fibromyalgia

How to get turmeric (and curcumin) in your diet

Turmeric is usually found in root form or in a powder (ground from the root) and can be sprinkled on veggies and rice or added to soups and smoothies. You can even drink turmeric tea.

Watch: Video: The Best-Tasting Anti-Inflammatory Cocktail You've Never Tried

However, curcumin—the active compound that accounts for much of turmeric’s health benefits—only makes up 3 to 5% of turmeric.

In order to get enough curcumin for its benefits to be effective, many experts recommend that people take curcumin supplements. Advocates suggest a daily curcumin supplement of 200 to 1000mg that contains 95% curcuminoids.

Read more: Dietary Supplements for Treating Arthritis

Cautions for some users

Most people can safely take curcumin supplements without any serious side effects. But like nearly every medication or supplement, there are some people it may not be right for.

See Do Curcumin Supplements Have Drawbacks?

Those who should avoid curcumin supplements because of potential negative effects include:

  • Women who are pregnant or nursing
  • Those with iron deficiencies
  • Those who take medications that may interact with curcumin, including:
    • Sulfasalazine (sometimes prescribed to treat RA)
    • Blood thinners
    • Antacids
    • Diabetes medications

As always, you should consult your doctor before you start taking a new supplement.

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Carrie DeVries worked as the content marketing manager at Veritas Health. She combined a background of writing and editing, marketing, and patient education to best serve the consumers, patients, and physicians who rely on Veritas Health for information.