Turmeric is a Natural Arthritis Remedy

Turmeric compounds may help treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis is a painful condition affecting the bones and joints. Clinical studies in arthritis patients suggest that turmeric compounds could help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (two of the main types of arthritis). (v.186-187)

Turmeric is used in traditional medicine to treat arthritis. A typical Ayurvedic herbal prescription for osteoarthritis could include turmeric, licorice, white willow, and devil's claw for their anti-inflammatory and other properties (e.g., improving circulation and the absorption of other herbs). Herbal remedies might also include oats to help with sleep and ginseng to overcome fatigue. Turmeric can also be substituted for Picrorhiza kurroa in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulas for rheumatoid arthritis. (v.188)

Symptoms and Risk Factors for Arthritis

Both osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are chronic inflammatory conditions that progressively worsen over time. Although the two conditions share many features, one of the main differences is that RA is considered an autoimmune disease. Some of the symptoms and risk factors frequently found in OA and RA include: (v.186-187189)

Table V.26: RA and OA Symptoms and Risk Factors
RISK FACTORS OA RA
Age of onset 20's to early 50s (typical)  
Older age
 
Excess body weight and obesity
 
Female gender  
Genetic susceptibility  
Prior joint injury
 
SYMPTOMS & CHARACTERISTICS OA RA
Chronic pain
Decreased mobility
Symmetrical inflammation of joints  
Progressive destruction of joint tissue (e.g., cartilage, synovial membrane, and bone)
Reduced life expectancy  
Stiffness
 
Swelling and inflammation of joints
Systemic inflammation  

Osteoarthritis most frequently causes symptoms in the knees. Other weight-bearing joints such as the hips are also commonly affected by OA. (v.186)

In both conditions, inflammatory proteins and immune system cells generate free radicals. Combined with increased levels of MMP enzymes, arthritis attacks collagen and collagen-producing cells, breaking down protective cartilage between bones: (v.186-187189)

Figure V.3: Arthritis in the Knee

Figure V.3: Arthritis in the Knee

Research indicates turmeric and its compounds helps stop many of the inflammatory events in arthritis. Clinical studies suggest that turmeric compounds could help prevent and alleviate painful arthritis symptoms. (v.186-187, v.190-192)

Glycyrrhiza glabra.
Salix alba.
Harpagophytum procumbens.
Avena sativa.
Various species of Panax.
Conditions where the patient's own immune system attacks and destroys cells. (v.186)
Women are 3 times as likely to develop RA than men(v.189)

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