Turmeric — the brilliantly yellow coloured spice — could hold the key to chronic joint pain, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia studied 70 participants over the age of 40 who had knee osteoarthritis.
To take part in the study, all participants had to experience significant knee pain on most days for more than six months and have swelling in that knee.
The chosen participants were randomly broken into two groups — one group took two capsules with 1000mg total of Curcuma longa extract (turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant) every day for a period of 12 weeks while the other group received identical-looking placebo capsules, as reported by The New York Times.
The researchers used clinic visits, self-reported questionnaires and M.R.I scans to measure knee pain and monitor excess fluid around the knee, which is associated with pain and swelling in order to measure the effectiveness of turmeric as natural pain relief.
At the end of 12 weeks, the researchers found that stiffness, pain and physical function improved significantly in those who took the turmeric capsules compared to those in the placebo group. According to The New York Times, despite these findings, there wasn’t any difference between the two groups when it came to the build-up of fluid in the knee.
While the study itself was only small and the duration relatively short, it is interesting to see how a spice like turmeric could be used in the treatment of joint pain.
“Considering the limited effectiveness of current pharmacological treatments for osteoarthritis, a modest effect may be helpful, and turmeric appears to be without side effects,” lead author, Benny Antony, told The New York Times.
As Antony noted, taking turmeric capsules doesn’t seem to have any notable side effects and could provide some relief to those with knee osteoarthritis, so from these preliminary results, it seems like a win-win situation!