The degenerative form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis is probably humanity’s most common cause of chronic pain. In the United States alone, epidemiologists estimate, about 27 million people have osteoarthritis. Worldwide, probably over half a billion people have the condition.

People who have osteoarthritis know all too well that inflammation leads to the destruction of the cartilage that lines the joints, and this destruction of cartilage leads to aching pain and stiffness that just won’t go away. Learn about turmeric for osteoarthritis, and you may find significant natural relief.

The Secret to Healing Osteoarthritis Is Not to Over-Treat It

There’s no medical cure for osteoarthritis aside from surgery. Joint replacements stop degeneration and inflammation by replacing natural tissues with synthetic materials, but the procedures themselves are painful and debilitating. There are medical treatments for osteoarthritic pain, but they also present their own problems.

Generic pain relievers can have a serious side effects. Most people who have arthritis take non-prescription, over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) pain relievers. Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and indomethacin are examples of medications in this class.

With NSAIDs, people often run into problems when they take too much. Aspirin can cause damage to the lining of the stomach when it is taken in excess. Acetaminophen is a no-no for anyone who has even a hint of liver disease. Overdosing on ibuprofen can lead to ulcers of the esophagus, kidney problems, high potassium levels, and sometimes fatal asthma attacks. Overdoses of indomethacin can result in dizziness, headache, confusion, “pins and needles” sensations, numbness of the arms and legs, nausea, and vomiting.

The Truth About NSAIDs

But these aren’t the most common complications of using NSAIDs. All of the NSAIDs can actually make osteoarthritis worse. One reason why NSAID medications can actually make osteoarthritis worse is because taking a synthetic pill never fixes the problem.

You take an aspirin, or two, or three, or four, but it does not target the cause of the problem. Your joint pain stops, so you go right back to doing whatever it was that was wearing out your joints. NSAIDs just mask osteoarthritis. They don’t cure it.

A bigger reason why NSAID medications can make degenerative arthritis worse is because some inflammation is actually necessary to the healing process. If you are constantly taking a pain reliever to stop your pain, your joints never get a chance to remove the damaged proteins in the linings of your joints so they can build new ones.

An inflammatory hormone called interleukin-1 (IL-1) is necessary for “cleaning up” damaged tissue in joints. When your body makes this particular inflammatory hormone, it clears a path for new collagen to be laid down to protect a damaged joint. However, this process also releases a natural COX-2 inhibitor that stops pain. [2] All inflammation is not bad.

Sometimes Inflammation Is What You Actually Need.

Your body does its best to limit that inflammation to taking out damaged tissue.

NSAID pain relievers cancel out the good inflammation along with the bad. It is important to remember that all pain is not bad. Agonizing pain, of course, is always bad. A little dull pain, just enough to know your joints are there, is a different matter. It takes just a little pain to activate IL-1. As the nerves respond to pain, the body sends out this inflammatory hormone to correct the source of the pain. [3]

Therefore, healing arthritis does not require utterly eliminating inflammation. A little inflammation is a good thing because it is part of the natural healing process. And it turns out there are some surprising natural remedies that give you just the right amount of relief from osteoarthritis for your joints to heal.

Organic turmeric for osteoarthritis is one of the most well-known sources of natural relief. Taking organic turmeric on a daily basis is one of the smartest things you can do if you struggle with osteoarthritis.


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Edible Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Did you ever feel strangely good after you had a serving of strawberries? It turns out that there is a biological reason for that. Strawberries can relieve joint pain. In fact, they are clinically proven to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis while also accelerating recovery.

A group of 11 physicians, kinesiologists, and nutritionists at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, University of South Carolina, and University of Nevada at Las Vegas recruited overweight men and women who had arthritic knees for their study.

The volunteers agreed to drink either a two-ounce strawberry smoothie or a vanilla smoothie every day for six weeks. Then, they skipped strawberry smoothies for two weeks and tried the other kind of smoothie for another six weeks. While the volunteers were drinking strawberry smoothies every day, they had not just less pain but also less loss of cartilage. [4]

The same researchers suggest that blueberries and raspberries should have a similar effect. No researchers have yet done clinical trials testing these berries for relieving arthritis pain, but there have been preliminary studies that suggest they should also work.

Other Plants That Have Shown To Help Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Enough people have reported relief of joint pain after taking the marine algae Spirulina, Chlorella, and Aphanizomenon (an algae you are more likely to get over the counter in Europe than in North America or Australia and New Zealand) that physicians have begun documenting their stories. [5] However, they have not done clinical testing of these products for osteoarthritis.

There were positive results in a small-scale clinical trial of Chlorella for joint pain caused by fibromyalgia, with just 20 volunteers [6], but it has not been tested for osteoarthritis. There have been other clinical studies of food for arthritis pain relief. A clinical trial with just 12 people showed that taking apple peel powder every day for 12 weeks reduced joint pain and increased range of motion.  [7]


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The University of Guelph in Canada performed a clinical trial with 62 people and found that drinking spearmint tea every day for 16 weeks significantly reduced stiffness in arthritic knees, but only if the spearmint was a special variety that is unusually high in a compound called rosmarinic acid. [8] 


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Another clinical study by NIS Labs in Klamath Falls, Oregon involving 14 people found that daily consumption of açai berry pulp with other berry juices reduced joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. [9] A natural product called D-002, extracted from beeswax, reduced stomach pain in volunteers in a clinical trial who took the prescription drug piroxicam for osteoarthritis. [10]

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Finding The Best Natural Remedy For Osteoarthritis

There is no shortage of natural remedies for arthritis that relieve pain but that do not damage joints. The problem is finding a natural remedy that is really practical. Most of us like berries, but consuming them every day is not very realistic.

Most people cannot get berries year round, and if you eat berries all of the time, then you are also consuming all of the sugar that comes along with them.There is also a dietary consideration. Berries are not a high-calorie food, but their calories do count.

Apple peel powder is extraordinarily rich in a compound called quercetin. This compound also appears in grapefruit juice. It is the reason people on hundreds of medications are warned not to drink grapefruit juice. Unfortunately algae work on a different kind of joint pain, and beeswax is not easy to find.

What is needed is a natural product that stops pain and reduces inflammation, but does not stop the small bits of necessary inflammation that need to sneak through. In addition, it should be easy to take and naturally calorie-free. It should be something that won’t interfere with your enjoyment of food, and it shouldn’t cause any side effects.

The natural product that meets all these requirements is turmeric with curcumin. It is now widely accepted that many people use turmeric for osteoarthritis, and if you are someone who is looking for natural relief, then you may have just found your new best friend.

What Is Turmeric with Curcumin?

It is easy to get turmeric and curcumin confused. Turmeric is a spice. It is derived from the ground root of a tropical plant in the Ginger Family. Turmeric is one of many spices used to make curry powder. Curcumin is the best known healing plant chemical in turmeric. Curcumin is a plant chemical, not the plant. Turmeric is the plant, and curcumin is one of the plant’s chemicals. However, curcumin is not the only healing chemical in turmeric.

There are also compounds called polyphenols in the dried spice. Curcumin has a number of applications by itself, but you get better results from a combination of turmeric, the whole herb, and curcumin in treating the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Therefore, when choosing a turmeric for osteoarthritis supplement, make sure to keep these things in mind. They all play a factor in how much pain relief you will find.


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How Do We Know Turmeric with Curcumin Relieves Osteoarthritis?

Why Is Turmeric Plus Curcumin Is Better than NSAIDs?

There have been eight well-designed clinical studies of the use of turmeric and curcumin in treating osteoarthritis. Five of them found that taking turmeric plus curcumin yielded pain relief greatly superior to taking NSAIDs. [11]

Three clinical trials found that taking turmeric plus curcumin yielded pain relief equivalent to taking NSAIDs. [12] In addition, some clinical trials found that people who took turmeric plus curcumin reduced their use of NSAIDs. [13]

Tests of how far patients could walk in six minutes, measurements of how much pain they reported from going up stairs, and time spent on a 100-meter walk were about the same for those taking turmeric plus curcumin and those taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

Some clinical trials found that turmeric plus curcumin was clearly superior for treating knee arthritis. [14] Others found that turmeric plus curcumin was superior to chondroitin. [15]

If you were to “smoosh” the data of these eight studies together through a mathematical tool called meta-analysis, they would show that turmeric plus curcumin yields pain relief at least as good and usually better than what you would get form over the counter NSAIDs.

And of course the best part: it’s a naturally occurring plant, not a synthetic drug. Curcumin is also is at least as effective for improving flexibility and ease of walking and going up stairs.

Turmeric is the Clear Choice

There is one more very important reason for taking turmeric and curcumin instead of other pain relievers. Remember, the NSAID pain relievers accelerate the loss of cartilage.

The more synthetic pain pills you take, the more synthetic pills you need. NSAIDs are not really addictive, but you can get into a state in which you need more and more for the same amount of pain relief because your osteoarthritis is getting worse.

Turmeric for Osteoarthritis Doesn’t Just Relieve Pain.

It also helps stop and reverse the progression of arthritis, and dozens of other scientific studies have revealed how:

  • Curcumin regulates the activity of a specialized group of white blood cells known as macrophages. Macrophages are the “clean up” crew of the immune system. Curcumin blocks a factor that causes macrophages to destroy bone but allows a factor that stimulates macrophages to remove damaged collagen in joints. [16]
  • In addition, curcumin allows the production of a clean-up chemical called IL-1, but it stops the full-scale attack on joints by Natural Killer cells. [17]
  • Because curcumin restarts the production of collagen to repair the lining of the joints, it keeps the production of repair proteins in ligaments “turned on” by signaling their cells not to allow themselves to be destroyed by inflammation. [18]
  • Curcumin can sometimes prevent osteoarthritis before it starts. It encourages the “early retirement” of cells called synoviocytes so they never generate the free radicals that initiate the formation of inflammatory chemicals. [19]

But it isn’t just the curcumin that relieves joint pain. At least two studies have found other compounds in turmeric that also help to regulate the immune system and to reduce harmful inflammation. When choosing turmeric for osteoarthritis, make sure that the product offers both kinds of relief. It should contain both turmeric, the whole herb, and curcumin, the active plant chemical. [20]

The Bottom Line on Turmeric for Osteoarthritis

There is strong clinical evidence that turmeric and curcumin taken together every day can relieve the joint pain of osteoarthritis and improve flexibility. Furthermore, they can relieve pain during walking, work, and exercise. But even more importantly, in addition to relieving pain, they help the body correct the underlying process that causes osteoarthritis.

Unlike modern medicine, turmeric helps address the root cause of the pain, which is the only way to truly get rid of pain. Turmeric and curcumin together help the body get back to normal structure and function. The bottom line: there is clinical evidence supporting the use of turmeric for osteoarthritis, and there are many people every day using this supplement to find relief.


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