More than 50 million adults across the world are suffering from arthritis. Actually, arthritis refers to 100 different types of joint diseases and related conditions. Out of all these, two types of arthritis are very common – Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Regardless of any type, common symptoms of arthritis include – pain, stiffness, inflammation and decreased motion range in the joints. These symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the arthritis level. Chronic arthritis can result in difficulty in walking, climbing stairs, permanent joint changes and severe pain.
Permanent cure for arthritis is still not available. Using medications like NSAIDs for pain relief have potential side effects over the long term. However, there are many things that can be done to get relief from pain and improve joint functionality. Taking natural alternatives for pain and inflammation relief, reducing weight, doing simple physical exercises are helpful for leading a normal life.
Natural alternatives for arthritis treatment include turmeric, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera and ginger. In this article, let’s know why turmeric is effective for arthritis and how it can be used to reduce discomforts caused by arthritis.
Is Turmeric Really Good for Arthritis?
Let’s have a look at turmeric's benefits and supporting statements on its use for people suffering from arthritis.
1. Natural Anti-inflammatory Agent
Curcumin present in turmeric naturally contains anti-inflammatory agents. They inhibit the action of both pro-inflammatory enzymes – LOX and COX. Its intake doesn’t cause any gastric erosion which is one of the common side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. (1)
2. Contains Anti-Arthritic Activity
It contains anti-arthritic activity due to curcuminoids and other components present in it. Many clinical trials and experiments have validated turmeric effect in arthritis treatment. (2)
3. Excellent Antioxidant
The oxidative stress between the antioxidant agents and prooxidant agents in the body lead to the degradation of joint tissue. Clinical studies reveal that the anti-oxidant effect of turmeric reduces oxidative stress, reduces pain and restricts the arthritis from getting worse. (3)
4. Effective in Auto-immune Conditions
Certain types of arthritis are caused by immunity disorders. Curcumin present in turmeric has immunomodulatory effect which regulates immune responses. It restricts the immune T cells and prevents the swelling from spreading. (4)
5. Combats Infection in Arthritis
Sometimes, infection in arthritis can be caused due to Candida and Aspergillus. Certain medicines can also increase the risk of developing serious arthritis infections. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which deal with the growth of microorganisms. (5)
6. Prevents Arthritis Complications
In arthritis, the inflammation can sometimes spread to other organs like lungs, blood vessels, eyes, heart and etc. As per many research studies, turmeric is helpful in prevents cardiovascular diseases. (6)
How to Use Turmeric for Arthritis
There are many effective and proven ways of using turmeric for arthritis. We have listed them below for you. You can try any one of them as per your convenience.
1. Turmeric on its Own
- Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of turmeric everyday on scrambled eggs, add it into soups, sauces, and salad dressings.
- After one week increase the turmeric intake to ½ teaspoon.
- After one month increase the quantity to 1 teaspoon.
- Follow this daily to prevent the joint pains and inflammation.
- Or Stir a tablespoon of turmeric into a glass of warm milk and drink this night time to get relaxed sleep without any pain.
2. Turmeric and Ginger
The phytonutrients known as gingerols and shagoals are present in ginger and provide relief from inflammation, pain, prevent cartilage destruction caused by arthritis. Apart from that, ginger can increase curcumin effect on the body.
- Peel and chop 1 inch of ginger and turmeric root.
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil.
- Add ginger and turmeric to it.
- Simmer for 10 minutes and remove from the flame.
- Cover and let it steep for another 10 minutes.
- Strain, add honey to taste and consume while it is still lukewarm.
- Repeat the process once daily.
Note: you can add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder and turmeric powder instead of fresh ones.
3. Turmeric and Black Pepper
Peperine present in black pepper makes the curcumin more absorbable by the body. As per some studies, curcumin absorption increased by 200% when consumed with peperine.
- Combine 1/3 cup of honey, 2 1/2 teaspoons of ground turmeric into a paste. Store this mixture in a jar for 2 weeks.
- Into a cup of hot water, add 1 teaspoon of the mixture and mix well.
- Now add lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Stir well and consume while it is still lukewarm.
- Repeat the process once in a day.
Note: You can replace black pepper with cayenne pepper.
4. Turmeric and Coconut Oil
The curcumin present in turmeric can be absorbed easily by our body when combined with fats like coconut oil. Apart from the coconut oil also helps to reduce the inflammation. This turmeric wrap is also helpful to reduce joint pain and increase mobility.
- Combine 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with enough coconut oil to make a paste.
- Apply the mixture on painful joints and secure with a bandage.
- Leave it on for 3 hours.
- Wash it off with water.
- Repeat the process whenever necessary.
5. Turmeric Paste
The below process explains step-by-step process of making turmeric ointment. Its application provides relief from joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
- Combine ½ cup of water and stir in ¼ cup of turmeric.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 7 minutes, stirring constantly.
- The solution will turn into a paste.
- Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Add few drops of water if the paste gets too dry.
- Pour the mixture into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
- Apply the mixture to sore joints and leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Rinse off the application with water.
- Repeat the application regularly to get rid of arthritis pain and inflammation.
6. Turmeric, Egg Yolk, and Coconut Oil
- Melt 2 teaspoons of coconut oil.
- Separate two egg yolks and beat them until smooth.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of turmeric and melted coconut oil into the egg yolks.
- Blend the mixture on high speed for 30 seconds.
- Drink 2 times daily to treat arthritis.
7. Turmeric and Water
- Boil a quart of water and stir in 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the flame and let it cool down.
- Drink it which lukewarm.
- Repeat the process once in a day.
Note: After 4 hours, the curcumin percentage drops from 10% to 6% and gradually lowers over time, so drink it as soon as possible after preparation.
8. Turmeric and Fenugreek
As per a research published in International Immunopharmacology, fenugreek contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Apart from that it also contains iron, vitamins, flavonoids, saponins, trigonelline and other alkaloids.
- Mix equal quantities of turmeric powder, ginger powder, and fenugreek powder.
- Stir one teaspoon of this mixture into a glass of hot water.
- Drink twice daily to get complete relief from arthritis and pain.
9. Turmeric and Lemon Grass
Lemongrass contains anti-inflammatory properties which suppress the activity of cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme which is responsible for joint inflammation and pain.
- Pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees.
- Melt 2 cups of coconut oil and then pour it into a glass oven dish.
- Mix 5 tablespoons of turmeric powder, 5 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, and 1 ounce of dried lemon grass into it.
- Bake for 3-5 hours, then remove from oven and let cool.
- Strain with cheesecloth.
- Store the solution at room temperature in an airtight container.
- Apply this solution to painful joints whenever required.
10. Turmeric and DMSO Solution
As per some studies, cartilage afflicted with degenerative arthritis contains subnormal levels of sulfur. DMSO solution contains high amounts of sulfur. It also contains potent anti-inflammatory properties and easily absorbed by the skin.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of 70% DMSO solution with 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder to make a paste.
- Rub into sore joints and let dry.
- Rinse off the application with water.
- Alternative: secure the application with a plastic or saran wrap, apply heating pad, and leave it on 30 minutes.
Note: Add more water if the application is causing any irritation.
11. Turmeric, Powdered Lime and Saltpeter
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of turmeric, powdered lime, and saltpeter to make a paste.
- Apply the mixture to sore joints and leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Rinse off with water.
- Repeat the application regularly.
12. Turmeric and Lime Juice
Lime/lemon juice is a rich source of citric acid which helps to reduce inflammation and pain. This process is very effective for treating arthritis caused by uric acid deposits in the bones.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric with 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
- Add this to a small amount of boiling water to make a thick paste.
- Apply the mixture to sore joints.
- Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse off with water.
- Repeat regularly to get relief from pain.
13. Turmeric Capsules
If you don’t like taking turmeric in raw form then you can opt for turmeric capsules. These capsules are helpful in reducing inflammation, pain, stiffness and other problems caused by arthritis.
Dosage: For Osteoarthritis – 400mg to 600mg 3 times per day. For Rheumatoid Arthritis – 500mg 2 times per day.
Warning: People who take blood-thinning medications, are undergoing surgery, have gallbladder issues, are pregnant, or breastfeeding should not take turmeric capsules.
14. Turmeric and Bromelain
Bromelain enzyme is extracted from pineapples. Eating pineapple along with turmeric has shown a great improvement in reducing the arthritis pain. If you don’t like eating pineapple then you can take bromelain capsules for the same. Consume turmeric or turmeric capsules along with bromelain for effective results.
Bromelain Dosage: 400mg 1 – 2 times in a day.
Warning: people who are allergic to pineapple, latex, carrot, fennel, grass pollen, papain, celery, and wheat should not take bromelain in any form. Consumption of bromelain should be stopped before 2 weeks of surgery as it can increase chances of bleeding. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not take bromelain capsules.
Turmeric for Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic form of inflammatory arthritis which can develop in people suffering from psoriasis. As per National Psoriasis Foundation, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric have been effective in treating the psoriasis arthritis. You can add turmeric to your daily food or try any remedy mentioned above or consume turmeric capsules for relief.
Other supplements That Boost Arthritis Treatment
Taking these supplements along with turmeric treatment helps to provide results quickly. It is better to consult a doctor before taking any supplement to know the proper dosage as per your medical history.
1. Omega Fatty Acids or Fish Oil
Food that contains omega-3 fatty acids has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Foods rich in this include: fatty fish like salmon/mackerel, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, fish roe, seafood, soya beans and spinach. If you don’t have sufficient time to eat then you can take them through supplements.
Dosage: 2.6g per 2 times in a day.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps to maintain blood calcium levels. It helps to regulate calcium and phosphorous levels to keep the bones and teeth hard. So, this vitamin is very important if you are suffering from arthritis. You can get vitamin D from sun exposure, fortified foods, wild fish, and cod liver oil. If you are unable to get proper vitamin D from natural sources then try take supplements.
Dosage: 600 IU per day
Side Effects of Taking Turmeric
- Curcumin, an active component present in turmeric is not suitable for everyone. Some people may react with a severe rash which signals an allergy. Turmeric capsules may cause digestive distress in some people. If you are experiencing any of them avoid taking turmeric for arthritis treatment.
- People taking warfarin (Coumadin) should avoid taking turmeric as it can increase the anti-clotting effect. Turmeric can also interact with other anticoagulants like clopidogrel or even aspirin. So, make sure you don’t take turmeric while taking anticoagulants.
- Turmeric might lower blood sugar levels. People taking diabetes medication should avoid consuming high amounts of turmeric or curcumin. It is better to monitor the sugar levels as it can sometimes drop the levels too low.
- People who are suffering from kidney stones should avoid considering turmeric for arthritis treatment. As turmeric is high in soluble oxalate which increases the possibility of kidney stone formation.
- People taking blood thinning medications or who are undergoing surgery should avoid taking turmeric in either raw or supplement form.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid taking turmeric capsules. Discuss the interactions with raw turmeric consumption with your gynecologist before consuming it.
- Recent studies show that turmeric, when used regularly, may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Tips and Precautions
The following guidelines provide few things to consider while suffering from arthritis. Make sure to have a look at them as well.
- Always stay active to improve quality of your life. It helps to strengthen your muscles and bones. It helps to keep your joints more flexible.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the extra weight burden on the joints.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in omega fatty acids, vegetables, green leafy, nuts, olive oil, avocado, fish and lean meats.
- Sleep well to cope up with the pain. Place pillows below the legs to take the pressure off the painful joints. If you have sleepless nights regularly then talk to your doctor.
- Reduce your stress levels as it can create havoc in your immune system.
- Try to use cold or hot packs to get relief from the pain and inflammation.
- Stay positive as your mental health can have a big impact on how well your body can function.
- Perform slight exercises to increase and maintain the mobility of the joints.
Start implementing turmeric consumption and other tips provided in this article to get relief from the discomforts of arthritis. If you have any queries or suggestions, write to us in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share your experience with us as it can help others suffering from the same situation you have been through.