The People's Perspective on Medicine

Did Turmeric Help Man Overcome Dupuytren’s Contracture?

One reader reports that turmeric supplements relaxed the tissue in her brother's hands affected by Dupuytren's contracture.

Middle-aged and older men sometimes suffer from a condition known as Dupuytren’s contracture. Their fingers may curl in to the palm. They may find it difficult if not impossible to open the hand fully. Doctor sometimes treat this disorder by dry needling or by injecting corticosteroids or collagenase (Xiaflex). Surgery is a last resort. Up until now, we did not know of any home remedies that could help.

Will Turmeric Capsules Improve Dupuytren’s Contracture?

Q. My brother has had worsening Dupuytren’s contracture for the last ten years. In the last month he has seen amazing improvement. He can now open his hands nearly all the way.

He attributes this change to the turmeric capsules he started taking for knee pain. Within three days of taking the first pill, he felt a change happening in his hands. Have you ever heard of this?

A. We had never heard of turmeric helping Dupuytren’s contracture until we read your note. This condition results from a thickening and tightening of connective tissue in the palm of the hand. Frequently the fourth or fifth fingers may curl in toward the palm, making it hard to put on gloves, grip tools or put hands in pockets.

Turmeric to Fight Inflammation:

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory activity. That may explain why it can be helpful for knee pain (Journal of Medicinal Food, May 2018) as well as why your brother has found it helpful for Dupuytren’s contracture. We have found no studies demonstrating that it can help this condition, however. A review of research points out that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) may be beneficial in cardiometabolic disorders (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Sep. 24, 2018). The authors point out a need for more rigorous clinical trials.

Learn  More:

You can learn more about turmeric, ginger and other natural agents with anti-inflammatory activity in our book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life.  You may decide that this book would make an excellent holiday gift for someone you know.

You can also learn more about turmeric or curcumin and its ability to fight colon cancer cells. That is the topic of our interview with Dr. Ajay Goel in Show 1079: What Is the Science behind Fabulous Foods for Health?

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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. .
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My wife read an article about turmeric about two weeks ago and recommended that I try it.
Ten days ago I began taking one cap (450mg) daily.
On my left hand, D.C. swelling is now almost zero.
On the right, it has shrunk by about fifty percent.
Just sayin…

Just ain’t seen it. Have been on turmeric/peperine supplement for years now and eat a 1/4 tsp of turmeric (again with pepper to improve bioavailability/absorption) at both regular lunch and dinner salads. Maybe my Dupuytren’s contracture is ‘less-bad’ than it would be otherwise due to the turmeric consumption but by no means good and gone (and getting worse). Anyway, am consuming turmeric for many other anti-inflammatory, antioxidant pro-circulation reasons and will still do so. Happy to hear that turmeric is working for others.

i have this syndrome & when i showed my dermatologist,
he referred me to a hand specialist,m.d. i have not made an
appt yet becuz research states there really is no successful
treatment. i want to try turmeric. does anyone know dosage?
i will get an eval from an accupuncturist. i dont have fingers curling,
however, r.middle finger slightly painful on extension /flexion.
thanx. grateful for this site with holistic remedies. p.s. my father & brother have red hair & we all have freckles!

I too have Dupuytren’s but I have been using acupuncture to good effect, I believe. My acupuncturist needles along the “hard chords” coming out of the knotted areas. After we do that for 2-3 sessions there is no advancement for a year or more. When I feel it being active I go back to the acupuncturist. I have had this for about 10 years, very minor finger curling. I also eat and take turmeric.

Thank you all. I am a female of Irish decent who has been Duypuytren’s Contracture.
My right ring finger is bent and the small finger slightly. it’s also starting on my left ring finger.
I shall try the turmeric!

Just a question about another nutrient, chromium picolinate. Why can’t we find it with supplements. Chromium is essential for glucose metabolism and was discovered when it was not in liquid nutrition the patient’s developed diabetes. I was involved in a small study with pregnant women with gestational diabetes, one group took phytochromium and the other group a placebo. the group who took the phytochromium had lower glucose values. Is chromium picolinate availability decreasing?

When my finger started to curl and addressed it with my doctor he also said it was from Scandinavia heritage. My ancestry came from Sweden and possibly Ireland.
I was told about the surgery but did not pursue it. I have never taken anything for it although I have used turmeric at different times.
My finger is not curled but I can’t raise it with my other fingers and it is my ring finger.

A friend of mine said that he had gotten some reversal of his Dupytron’s by taking nattokinase, the enzyme that breaks down fibrinogen. Don’t know what dose he took–he got it from his local health food store.

Yes another woman here who was diagnosed with it several years ago. It improved and hasn’t got worse and now I know why. I’ve been taking curcumin for a few years. I believe it means Viking heritage the same as my haemochromatosis and my red hair. Damn Vikings.

Thank you!! I am of Irish descent, plus a Heinz 57, and for years my little fingers and the ones next to it have curled and gradually gotten worse. I drop things sometimes as a result. I was told it was probably arthritis, but after reading this article my husband and I believe this is the problem. I pulled up I believe it was the Mayo Clinic site, and they had a picture of a hand with this problem. My hand could have been used for that picture. It was exactly the same. As they described it, the symptoms of the beginning of it, etc. my progression was exactly like that. I’m giving this info to both of my doctors when I see them in January. I see an osteopath and a naturopath. I’m going to start taking turmeric. Can’t hurt and might help! Thank you. Oh, I’m female.

What milligram turmeric capsules did you use

I used Turmeric for inflammation (diabetes control) and had dramatic results at first but after 2 months or so the effect diminished and then had no effect so I stopped after 90 days and noticed no change. It may work for some but not all so try it but be careful in using long term as that might just be costing you money.

This article may prove very useful for my sisters and me. It is men who are “supposed” to get Dupuytren’s, but my sisters and I have it. One sister has a little finger curled all the way over and the second, ring finger starting to curl. The other sister has a little finger starting to curl. I have taken turmeric for knees for awhile, and although I have Dupuytren’s my fingers haven’t started to curl.
Dupuytren’s is thought to be associated to having a Northern European heritage, such as Scandinavia or Ireland. I don’t know if this is proven. Neither of my brothers had it at the time of their deaths.

I was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture by my acupuncturist, and he told me to see an orthopedist, which I did not do. However, I started taking turmeric for severe shoulder pain, completely unrelated to the Dupuytren’s contracture. Within a week the Dupuytren’s contracture started to ease, and I could open my hand naturally. Unfortunately, the shoulder pain got worse. I went to an orthopedist and diagnostic tests indicated a torn rotator cuff. Tumeric did nothing to assuage the pain.

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