While there are over 100 different forms of arthritis, the most common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you may experience varying degrees of pain, warmth, swelling and stiffness in the affected parts. To ensure if turmeric for arthritis is effective in treating your condition, you need to have proper diagnosis from your physician and understanding on the healing benefits of turmeric in the body.
Curcuma longa has been a time-honored herb in Ayurvedic medicine when it comes to treating inflammatory conditions. Studies have shown that curcumin in turmeric as a highly pleiotropic molecule, is able to interact with several molecular targets involved during inflammatory processes. Based on animal studies and cell culture tests, it has shown that curcumin may have possibility as therapeutic agent in different diseases such as pancreatitis, arthritis, bowel disease and certain types of cancer. Due to curcumin’s quick plasma clearance and elimination, its therapeutic uses have been limited, causing researchers to investigate and look for other means of increasing the herb’s bioavailability.
Curcumin changes the inflammatory response by down-regulating the activity of COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2), lipoxygenase and nitric oxide synthase enzymes. It also blocks the production of cytokines, interlukin and other inflammatory mediators. Downregulation of COX-2 and interlukin are possibly done via curcumin by suppressing nuclear factor kappa B or NF-KB, an ever-present eukaryotic transcription element involved in cellular proliferation, regulation of inflammation, transformation and tumorigenesis.
Because of curcumin’s influence in the inflammatory process, researchers discovered its potential in naturally alleviating rheumatoid pains and osteoarthritis. In an animal study, turmeric extract was administered intraperitoneally on rats for four day before arthritis induction. Results showed significant inhibition of joint inflammation in both acute and chronic phases. To test the effectiveness of turmeric for arthritis via oral ingestion, a 3o-times higher dosage of curcuminoid preparation was given to rats for four days again prior to arthritis induction. It resulted to significant reduction of rheumatoid arthritis by 48% on the 3rd day.
Besides rheumatoid arthritis, turmeric may also treat the inflammation symptoms in osteoarthritis. Something that often occurs due to aging, osteoarthritis is primarily caused by the ‘wear and tear’ of the cartilage cushion. In a study on curcumin in turmeric and capsaicin in red pepper, these two substances reduced the production of cytokines. Both also inhibit the secretion of collagenase, elastase and hyaluronidase, which are associated with the destruction of cartilage that characterizes osteoarthritis.
Although research does not yet support taking turmeric for arthritis, the spice may help reduce inflammation, pain and stiffness caused by this disease, as well as other inflammatory conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, etc. Because curcumin may change the body’s inflammatory response, experts suggest taking turmeric as a preventive measure from joint inflammation rather than as treatment. The suggested safe dose of turmeric is generally 400 mg to 600 mg three times a day or 0.5 grams to 1 gram of turmeric powder up to 3 grams per day. But if you are maintaining other anti-arthritic supplements, better consult your physician for medical supervision.