Is Turmeric Good for Arthritis?

Is turmeric good for arthritis
Is turmeric good for arthritis

Yesterday, I spoke with an older friend who suffers constant pain from arthritis in his hands. I shared with him my research on ginger’s arthritis-alleviating effects.

However, he might also benefit from taking ginger’s cousin turmeric (Curcuma longa) for arthritis. Multiple studies have shown its usefulness in treating the disease.

But exactly why is turmeric good for arthritis?  Its powers (including cancer-fighting ones)  come from the extensively researched polyphenol curcumin, which constitutes “between 2 and 8 percent” of most turmeric products.

In addition to relieving arthritis pain, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory powers protect against MetS and other chronic diseases.

The scientific focus has been directed to curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a 2015 review on the health benefits of curcumin, the researchers began by describing the likelihood of oxidative stress leading to chronic inflammation as “extensively verified.”

Chronic inflammation can, in turn, wreak havoc in our bodies and lead to multiple diseases and conditions, including:

  • arthritis
  • dementia
  • cancer
  • metabolic syndrome

and diabetes.

It’s Never Too Soon to Ask “Is Turmeric Good for Arthritis?”

If we were smarter, we’d make choices earlier in life that could prevent or delay the onset of inflammatory diseases.

However, there’s hope even for people already afflicted with these painful conditions. Research has also investigated the spice’s role in treating  “… chronic inflammation diseases.” 

Let’s see what it’s discovered.

A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials focused on those related to joint arthritis. The researchers, headed by nutritional biochemist Dr. James W. Daily, Ph.D., found eight articles meeting their selection criteria.

Arthritis-troubled joints suffer annoying stiffness, swelling, pain, and loss of movement. Both the PVAS and WOMAC scales rate these symptoms according to intensity. The review’s eight studies used one or both to measure their participants’ pain.

The few that compared curcumin with a placebo (fake pill) were consistent: Regardless of the test used to measure their pain, the curcumin groups’ scores were “much lower.”

The remaining studies compared curcumin to the common pain medications diclofenac, ibuprofen, and glucosamine. Their pain-scale test results suggested that curcumin relieves arthritic joints as well as standard drugs!

Is Turmeric Good for Arthritis Patients in Other Ways?

Turmeric does much more than reducing arthritis pain. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits extend throughout our bodies, bringing immediate and long-term benefits with few potential side effects for moderated doses.

Side effects can include:

Turmeric: slow blood clotting, upset stomach, acid reflux, diarrhea, dizziness and headaches.

Pit turmeric performance against the potential side effects of these pain-killing drugs:


Ulcers, bleeding, “holes in stomach,” nausea, vomiting, vertigo, headaches, rash, heart attack, stroke, and it may cause death!”  


Headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, fluid retention, abdominal pain, and bladder irritation. Long-term ibuprofen intake has been linked to heart attacks, stomach bleeding, and kidney damage.


Nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation. Sounds better than the first two drugs, until we come to this:

A 2016 study of glucosamine/chondroitin ended early because the glucosamine/chondroitin drug group of its 162 participants reported worse symptoms than the placebo group! In other words, they hurt more with the glucosamine than without it.

Compared to these three drugs, turmeric or curcumin are clearly the better (and much safer) options for reducing arthritic pain!

In What Amounts Is Turmeric Good for Arthritis?

Take turmeric with black pepper to unleash all of curcumin’s healing power.

The systematic review and meta-analysis provided evidence that taking enough turmeric to get 1000 mg of curcumin daily for two to three months would be sufficient for reducing painful arthritis symptoms.

However, while taking curcumin to prevent or treat arthritis is a great idea, there’s a catch. Its bioavailability is “known to be poor.” In other words, our blood doesn’t absorb it very well.

That is unless we take it with black pepper! Studies have revealed an incredible 2000-percent increase in curcumin’s s bioactivity when we consume it with black pepper!.

So, should I have also recommended turmeric to my arthritic friend?

Definitely! I’ll be reaching out to him to share my research about taking both ginger and turmeric, with a side of black pepper!

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