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).
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.
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.
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
- Diabetes medications
As always, you should consult your doctor before you start taking a new supplement.