The People's Perspective on Medicine

Can Turmeric Relieve Your Aches and Pains?

Some supplements, including turmeric, can help alleviate aches and pains associated with arthritis, bursitis or tendinitis.
Drink with turmeric and anise star cinnamon – golden milk. Antioxidant. A warming drink due to flu and colds. Selective focus

Do you have trouble getting relief for your aches and pains? Lots of people take common pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve) to manage joint and muscles discomfort. While such drugs can help in the short term, long-term use caries risks. Those who take them regularly are more likely to experience intestinal irritation, cardiovascular complications and even kidney injury. Could anti-inflammatory supplements help?

Turmeric to Alleviate Aches and Pains:

Q. I find turmeric powder mixed in a morning drink relieves my aches and pains very well. As a result, I very rarely need to take an NSAID pain reliever like ibuprofen.

A. Turmeric, the yellow spice that gives curry and yellow mustard their characteristic colors, has a reputation for anti-inflammatory activity. A review of eight randomized controlled trials suggests that it can be helpful in alleviating arthritis pain (Journal of Medicinal Food, Aug. 2016).  A pilot study found a proprietary formulation of turmeric (Longvida®) was effective and safe for knee pain due to osteoarthritis (Journal of Inflammation Research, June 5, 2019). One person in this small study developed an itchy rash while taking the turmeric product. Consequently, we are not surprised it helps your aches and pains. We suspect others would also find it beneficial.

Learn More:

Other anti-inflammatory herbs such as ashwagandha and boswellia can also help alleviate aches and pains. We discuss turmeric, boswellia and other botanical treatments in our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis. You may also want to find out about other anti-inflammatory herbs in our book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life. In addition, we discuss the anti-inflammatory power of cherries and anti-cancer effects of turmeric in Show 1079: What Is the Science Behind Fabulous Foods for Health?   

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
4.2- 218 ratings

Today's Newsletter Reading List

    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
    Alternatives for Arthritis
    $5.99

    This eGuide describes nondrug alternatives for arthritis with the latest scientific studies to document anti-inflammatory activity. This comprehensive online guide (too long to print) adds the science behind ancient healing traditions.

    Alternatives for Arthritis
    Citations
    • Daily JW et al, "Efficacy of turmeric extracts and curcumin for alleviating the symptoms of joint arthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials." Journal of Medicinal Food, Aug. 2016. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2016.3705
    • Gupte PA et al, "Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of Capsule Longvida® Optimized Curcumin (solid lipid curcumin particles) in knee osteoarthritis: a pilot clinical study." Journal of Inflammation Research, June 5, 2019. DOI: 10.2147/JIR.S205390
    Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

    We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

    Showing 13 comments
    Comments
    Add your comment

    I have had great success with turmeric. But it also has given me nosebleeds. This tendency toward bleeding has me worried about hemorrhagic stroke. Don’t want that, so I have stopped taking turmeric. I bet there have been no studies of this.

    I started taking Turmeric Curcumin pills after reading about its possible effects on pain. I worked sitting in front of a computer all day and had terrible pains in my hip, leg, and back. After a few weeks of taking 1 pill a day my pain was greatly relieved. I’ve been taking 3 pills a week and have had no reoccurring back problems for 3 years now.

    I just purchased some turmeric powder. What “morning drink” have you found that you can mix this strong tasting powder with?

    TURMERIC. YOU FAILED TO MENTION NOT TO TAKE THIS IF YOU ARE TAKING WARFARIN. AM I CORRECT ??? JOHN R. JORDAN

    That is correct. Turmeric could increase the INR to dangerous levels.

    Remember: adding a little black pepper (or bioperine) increases the absorption tremendously for either turmeric or ginger. I would suggest taking all 3 for pain control. Consider also vitamin D (especially for bone pain), magnesium (a cofactor for vitamin D as well as a muscle relaxant, helps repair muscle injury), and omega-3 (molecularly distilled fish oil with DHA, EPA; helps reduce inflammation). These all benefit the gut as well. Might as well also increase the leafy greens, beans, berries, nuts, seeds when possible and reduce the processed foods/sugar/fried foods while we are trying to reduce inflammation!

    I put half a tsp of 95̀ curcumin powder on my food twice a day with a 1/4 tsp black pepper. Since I started that regimen I have reduced my Glucosamine&Chondroitin from two grams to 1/2 gram, and the improvement in my arthritis is extensive. I don’t ride the carts at the WalMart any more, and my job entails walking 6 miles a night. I occasionally get a twinge in my hand or knee but it is only a minute or two and interferes with nothing.

    Turmeric has not helped whatsoever. I’ve been trying Boswellia. Again, no effect.

    How much turmeric is considered a dose?

    Do not take turmeric if you get kidney stones. It can cause them to form. It happened to me. It happened after taking it for 2-3 weeks. Nothing is worth kidney stone pain.

    I’ve been using the active ingredient in Turmeric, curcumin (with bioperine), for several years now to alleviate my low back and hip pain…all due to osteoarthritis. Once a year I have an xray of my left hip (the right has been replaced). The films show the arthritic changes have slowed down quite a bit since I started taking these capsules every day.

    I took turmeric and believe it helped with aches and pains. Unfortunately, my wife and I both started bruising very easily, and I had a lot of nosebleeds. These symptoms cleared up when we stopped taking turmeric.

    I have been taking Boswellia for about 5 years. I have a titanium hip ball from an accident in 2010 and was having a good bit of pain. Boswellia has helped significantly.

    I’ve been using turmeric for many years. It’s a wonder herb for me. At 67 I have very little joint pain. As a guitarist I certainly would be dismayed if my finger joints were to stiffen up. I’m convinced that, if not for turmeric, they probably would. I’m not about to stop taking turmeric in order to find out!

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^