bowl of turmeric spice

Turmeric and its most active ingredient curcumin have gotten attention for their anti-inflammatory properties. We have heard from readers that this yellow spice used in curry powder and mustard can help alleviate arthritis pain. One reader offered the following experience.

“After reading about turmeric in your column, I started using one teaspoon in my scrambled eggs each morning. My arthritis has greatly improved, and I have far less pain when I walk. I work in my yard every few weeks, weeding, hoeing, mowing and pruning. Usually I am sore for days rtfter this work. But this last time, since I started taking turmeric, I had no soreness the next day.”

Investigators are also studying the potential role of curcumin against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis and cystic fibrosis. Putting turmeric powder on cereal (as one reader did) or in scrambled eggs might taste a tad strange. One woman told us that she takes turmeric pills instead and they relieved her arthritis pain. When she stopped temporarily, the pain returned. She resumed taking turmeric pills and the pain disappeared.

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  1. Tom

    I’m a believer (I think). I have only been taking turmeric for a few days but my severe sciatica on both side was relieved almost completed when i coupled it with garlic one day. My wife cant stand the garlic smell so I’m on straight turmeric supplement now. Still have pain, but hoping for the best.

    • Sabrina

      I have sciatica as well and wanted to know how you coupled it with the turmeric.

  2. misty

    I give a spoonful with every feed to my horse who has complicated hip/back problems. he went from a horse that was reluctant to walk, and struggling to get up, to now cantering around, full of beans and enjoys his rolling again. ive also given to my dog with hip displeasure and ive noticed the difference, so I know its not placebo.

  3. cindy h

    I just started taking 1 800 mg capsule in the morning and another at’s been a week now and the soreness in both my knees have improved greatly…I work with a few people who are from the country Nepal and they swear by turmeric… They told me to keep taking the capsules because they know I can’t use it in my food like they do…I don’t like the taste of it AT ALL….

  4. Caroline
    Hicksville. Ny

    How much turmeric do I take to start. When should I start feeling its effects.

  5. Robyne
    Orange nsw

    I have been taking tumeric for 3months now with ginger and ground pepper every day but the pain in my hand hasn’t gotten any better

  6. Irene
    McAllen, TX

    Turmeric powder (level teaspoon) and black pepper (a few shakes) mixed into a cup of instant chicken consomme (rounded teaspoonful) in warm water, twice a day has helped a lot with my joint pain. Tastes pretty good. Don’t use more turmeric for one cup since it is somewhat bitter. I might start having a third cup since it hasn’t caused me any problems so far.

    • Cl

      The ginger is a hot herb and so is the tumeric. Perhaps it is to much heat in the body. I would stick with tumeric. A little honey. And a little lemon in warm water. Great for pain.

    • V

      Are you drinking it with pepper? Drinking it with ground pepper helps the digestion of turmeric better.

  7. Suzie

    I have started taking 5 days ago and I have seen a difference in my pain. The only side affect I have is that I can taste it in my mouth after taking it in capsule form. I’m happier because I’m not spending the day in pain. I keep thinking can it be this easy.

  8. marie

    I started taking tumeric and cur cumin capsules 2 a day 1200 mg,I could feel a relief from pain in a couple of days,Anyway then i started having dizzy spells,I had to quit taking them,I take the powder in yogurt,but it doesn’t help.I am going to try it in tablet form,

    • Ann

      @Marie – you might want to check the amount you were taking, as the suggested is 500mg/day.

    • V

      It would work quicker if you drank it with water and ground pepper. The ground pepper helps it digest;therefore, it will take effect quicker and effectively.

  9. Suze

    I recently started taking Turmeric, can not tell a difference yet. It is “triple strength”, 900 mg /95% curcuminoids and it also has 95% Peperline alkaloids. So far, I am taking 1 a day as instructed by label. Hope it works as NSAIDs are starting to affect my kidney function. Only taken for a couple of days. I will try increasing to 2 a day at the end of the week if no improvement. Boy, is it ever a large capsule! But I have no problem swallowing, other might.

  10. shiney
    new delhi

    I have OA of knees, lower back pain and cervical spondyilities of the neck. Please tell me the proper way how should I consume turmeric, whether in capsule form or otherwise. Me knee position is very bad. Thanks

  11. marie

    How long does it take for tumeric to take effect?

  12. Susan
    New york

    Just starting turmeric for pain.

    • Irene
      McAllen, TX

      I started taking turmeric for joint pain about three weeks ago after spending five days in the hospital for a necrotic antral ulcer. I was told that it was caused by my use of ibuprofen and aspirin. I was told that should try Tylenol and not take any anti-inflammatories anymore. I take Tylenol which is not an anti-inflammatory but supposedly dulls the pain a little. (Not much.) I am drinking two cups a day of chicken boullion in warm water with a level teaspoon of turmeric powder with a dash of black pepper. One cup in the midmorning and the second at dinner time. I think it tastes pretty good.
      The pain in my joints is much less and I plan to keep taking it. Turmeric power is not expensive nor is instant chicken consomme. I am surprised at how well it has worked.

  13. Rebecca

    I just found this forum and it is very informative. Thank you

    • annie B

      I have had ostio A pain for years , 5 days now a teaspoon per day , for the first time after a long hospital shift at work I was able to sleep with no pain , might be a fluke I don’t know , the only thing that works for me is diclofenac , I have not had to take them !!! this is the first ever post for me on this subject, so impressed I had to look it up .

      • Sue

        I am going to try this I have Fibro and RA …anything to take the pain away or to ease it up…….Great website I

  14. Ljq

    Several people have asked about suffering diahrea when taking curcumin, but nobody as ever answered. I have been taking 500g now for about 3 weeks, but I’m scared to increase it because of the diahrea. Will it stop once my body adjusts? Has anyone found they can increase the dosage in time?

    • Leigh

      About the diarrhea, yes I think your body will adjust and it should stop. I take at least 2,000 mgs per day, sometimes a bit more. Always with a meal, always with black pepper. I take that much because that’s what works to stop the inflammation from arthritis in my hands. I’ve been on it for about 4 years now. It’s amazing how well it works. I split that dose morning and evening. The amount of black pepper needed is fairly small, maybe 1/8 tsp. I just grind some fresh pepper into my hand. When I started the black pepper with it about 6 months ago, it really made a difference. I also take D3.

      • david
        Toronto, Canada

        I happened to be watching TV late one evening when one of the PBS stations was trying to raise funds…….. There was doctor on who was promoting his books and DVDs and speaking about ‘brain fog’ problems as people age. I was feeling exactly like he described…… unable to concentrate, unable to recall names or places…. it was driving me crazy….. In any event, he described his work in the area of mental problems, mainly Alzheimer’s.

        He went to areas of the world with very low incidence of this disease and looked for differences between their eating habits and the rest of the world. It turned out that in these ‘low incidence of Alzheimer’s’ areas, they ate a lot of curry. One of the main spices in Curry is Turmeric! So, he did more research and found that if you took about a teaspoon of Turmeric along with a small amount of 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, the pepper acted as a catalyst and increased the effectivity of the turmeric!

        I tried it and found that it did help immensely with the ‘brain fog’ as well as clearing my sinuses up (think that the pepper (freshly ground) was responsible for this). I was not looking for an improvement in my mobility but indeed that seems to be happening as well!

        I have to add that I firmly believe in the power of your mind to control your body in ways you can’t imagine. It’s called the placebo effect. So, if you think it will help, it will and if you don’t think it will help, it won’t. For example, I, my wife and my 15 year old son went to one of Tony Robbins “Fire Walk” seminars and at the end of the evening, we all (as well as over 250 others) walked across fifteen feet of burning hot charcoal (you could make steel with this stuff) without shoes and felt no pain and received no burns. Mind over matter, you bet!!

    • terry

      I started taking one 450 mg capsule each day and within two days noticed change in joints–much less soreness and swelling. However after taking it for 2-3 days I developed severe diarrhea. I quit taking it 2 and a half days ago and loose stools still present although getting better. How long did it take for the stomach problems to stop for those that had this–would love to continue. BTW I also take a Proton Pump Inhibitor due to reflux and other stomach problems–could this be affecting it??

      • Jeff
        Dagsboro, DE

        Google the side effects of your proton pump inhibitor. That is the source of your joint and arthritis pain. I moved to Zantac and in two days pain was gone. And dropped 18 ponds in two weeks without trying!

    • Gerri Ford
      Hughesville, MD

      After years of suffering with arthritis in hands, elbows, and knees and fingers, I read about Tumeric and curcumin. I have been taking this combination supplement for 3 years and I have been pain free for a long time. Only one side effect: The tips of my nails have turned a pale yellow from the Turmeric. My doctor said “stop worrying about all of these little things, and just cover your nails with nail polish” Halleluijah! It feels good to be pain free.

  15. sankar

    will curcumin develop kidney stones or uti?

  16. Mari-Jo

    I have taken homemade pills I make of turmeric mixed with black pepper capsules for 2 years now. It has cured the arthritis in my hands and (knock wood) I haven’t been sick with a cold in that time frame, also. I take two capsules a day with fish oil.

    • Janet
      United States

      I have been making my own turmeric capsules in the 00 capsule size. How many do you take a day and how much black pepper do you add?

    • donna
      Boston, Ma

      How long do you think it will be before seeing results? I have been on prescribed medicines with side effects. I just bought turmeric 30mg with pepper and take 2 caplets two times a day. Although it has been only 2 days. I still have a lot of pain and inflammation. When I was on medication it took about a month to see results. Do you think it will take the same amount of time with turmeric before I see results? Thanks.

      • Terry Graedon

        It could take just as long for turmeric to take effect as the medications.

      • Shelly

        30mg is not enough turmeric to notice any pain relieving benefits. I take 2000-3000mg per day for arthritis (and other chronic pain issues). I will not notice any results if I take less than 1500mg per day. You need to incorporate either black pepper or virgin coconut oil with your dosage as well, to reap the full rewards turmeric has to offer. Surprisingly, coconut oil (it must be cold pressed, virgin) tastes delicious stirred into coffee or hot cocoa, so I will usually take my turmeric with some coconut oil to help my body better absorb all the wonderful things turmeric has to offer. If you stuff your own capsules, you can look into adding ground black pepper directly to the turmeric before filling your capsules, although I would do a little research first to see what the proper ratios are before doing so (this is why I have chosen to go the coconut oil route). Hope this helps!

      • Nisha chelaka
        Hoboken, new Jersey

        You will need to take a lot more than 30 mg.. Atleast 1500 mg split into 3 doses of 500 mg through the day. But start slow as it can cause tummy upset.

    • helen

      Hi mary jo
      How are you.

      I have been buying curcumin capsules and they are costing me a lot of money. What do I look for when I am buying curcumin cause I am told tumeric powder will not work. I am from england, so would it be best for me to go into a Indian wholesaler, any chance you could give me the name of the powder you are useing. Thankyou so much

      • Cheryl
        Beacon,N. Y.

        I started pills three days ago,noticed a great difference the second day. I have titanium (knees ) and taking the powder now.
        Before i started pills i couldn’t swing legs out of bed and then it felt like i had a thousand pounds of lead on my knees. Now i can swing legs out of bed and stand up holding the door knob and stand up with very very little pain.
        Going to try with chicken broth now. Will try to keep you posted.
        Oh you can buy powder in grocery store for $4.99 vs the health food store for $23.99 for 30 pills.

        • Cheryl
          Beacon N. Y.

          That was for 20 pills for that price and the amount they recommend you take a day.

      • Pen

        I use organic turmeric powder 1/2 tsp at a time mixed with 1 tsp of coconut oil and it stops my pain within a few minutes. I have lumbar stenosis and the pain is like sciatica. This lasts a few hours at a time. Some days I take it 3-4 times a day and other days I don’t need it. It works faster than any other pain relieved I’ve taken.

    • Natasha

      Hi Mari-jo

      I am writing a article about how turmeric can help ease arthritic pain- could you explain your case a little further?

      Where did you learn about turmeric?
      Did someone advise you to try it? If so, Who?
      How long did you suffer with Arthritis before you began taking it?
      What medications did you depend on before turmeric?
      Why do you mix the turmeric with fish oil?

      Thank you so much for your time!


  17. Skeeter

    I’ve started buying root turmeric from Chinatown in London. I dice it and mix it with porridge or rice. Too soon to know how it works…..

  18. Mary

    how long does it take for Turmeric to work, for you to know it does? HELP

  19. Jay A Clark

    What, if any, legitimate, scientific studies have been done to determine specific, effective dosages, based upon actual study groups of believable sizes?
    Testimonials don’t tell how much of what concentration to take for what specific conditions.
    If Natural Health treatments want to truly be of service, they need test results that are equal to or better than conventional medicine. Otherwise, it is just Medieval guess work.
    People’s Pharmacy response: There’s a good bit of animal research and some human tissue work. We definitely need good clinical trials. You might find this review of interest:

    • Shelly

      There have been extensive studies with curcumin (found in turmeric) proving it’s effectiveness for fighting inflammation, depression (beat prozac in a blind study), cancer, and many other illnesses.

      The trick is proper absorption, and thats where the black pepper or coconut oil (or any other healthy fat) come in. Both black pepper and coconut oil, when taken with turmeric, help the human body process and absorb the curcumin. If you’re ingesting your turmeric via cooking with the root/spice, try adding coconut cream to your dish (curries and what have you), rather than coconut milk, as the cream has a higher fat content and will aid in absorption.

  20. jbw

    I see where several people asked if they could take turmeric with prednisone but I saw no answer. Please let us know.

    • Shelly

      Your doctor will be able to tell you if taking the two will have any adverse affects. I always ask my doctor before starting a new herbal remedy and he cross references whatever I bring up in his database for adverse effects and drug interaction warnings. I’m sure your doctor can do the same for you. Good luck!

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