In the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers studied turmeric (Curcuma longa) for reducing osteoarthritis knee pain using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial performed in Australia.
Seventy patients took either turmeric or a placebo for 12 weeks. Turmeric was found to significantly improve pain scores compared with placebo. However, MRI testing failed to show radiological improvement.
Turmeric has been used for pain relief for more than 4,000 years. Around 500 BCE, it was reported as a therapeutic agent in Ayurvedic medicine.
Conventional medicine treats osteoarthritis with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. All NSAIDs have serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and decreased blood flow to the kidneys, which can cause renal failure. In fact, one of the most common diagnoses requiring hospital admission is an NSAID-induced gastrointestinal bleed.
Turmeric is not associated with any serious adverse effects. I have used it for many years as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. In a case of osteoarthritis, turmeric should be used before an NSAID medication.
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