Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition involving wear and tear of the cartilage of the knee. This leads to significant pain, stiffness, and dysfunction. Oral and topical anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce the pain and swelling of an arthritic knee. It turns out, natural compounds can do the same!
Turmeric has long been used in Eastern medicine for the treatment of arthritis. It is a common spice and is the major ingredient found in curry powder. Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
This randomized controlled trial compared turmeric to placebo for the treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Researchers enrolled patients who had underlying knee osteoarthritis with concomitant swelling in their knee. Subjects were then randomized to take either turmeric 1000mg daily or a placebo. Surveys were administered over the next 3 months to evaluate pain and swelling.
The researchers found that knee pain improved more with turmeric than with placebo. Turmeric also helped improve knee function and knee stiffness. There were no differences in adverse effects in those taking turmeric and those taking placebo.
It’s important to point out that the dose of turmeric in the study is 1000mg daily. This is considerably more than what you would use to cook with.
This study adds to the growing body of evidence to support the use of turmeric for musculoskeletal pains.