Persistent pain can really wear you down. Consequently, when people discover something that works, they like to share the good news. Some readers report relief from months of terrible discomfort by taking turmeric to ease pain.
Boswellia and Turmeric for Neck Pain:
Q. There’s a good reason people love NSAIDs. With chronic neck pain, I took ibuprofen regularly for over 25 years because it lowered my pain. But after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (an ulcerated/bleeding large intestine), I decided that ibuprofen was probably too risky for me.
I tried every natural supplement for pain that I read about. Six years later, I finally found one containing curcumin, boswellia and turmeric essential oil in a formula that increases absorption. After taking it daily for about a month, I no longer had intolerable neck pain. Taking this supplement daily, I haven’t needed ibuprofen for five years.
A. We’re delighted that you are getting such relief. You should be aware, however, that curcumin (a component of turmeric) could increase your risk for bleeding.
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, has anti-inflammatory properties. It can, however, trigger heartburn.
To learn more about the pros and cons of these remedies, you may wish to read Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This 104-page paperback booklet also provides information on many other natural approaches to easing inflammation and joint pain.
Can You Use Turmeric to Ease Pain?
Q. I started taking turmeric pills after reading that this spice might be helpful against pain. Because I work sitting in front of a computer all day, I had terrible pains in my hip, leg and back.
A few weeks after taking one pill a day my pain was greatly relieved. I’ve been taking three pills a week and have had no recurring back problems for three years.
Pros & Cons of Turmeric & Curcumin:
A. Many readers report that turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin can ease pain from a variety of causes. Scientists have found evidence to support this observation (Phytomedicine, Sep. 15, 2018). These reviewers cited “compelling evidence” that curcumin can be helpful.
There may be risks, though, as this reader relates:
“The turmeric/ginger tea I have been drinking has been very helpful in easing my headaches and fibromyalgia pain. But a rash is driving me crazy! It started on the left side of my neck and has moved down to my chest. I have never had anything like this before.
“When I searched the web, bingo! I learned that turmeric can cause skin rashes. What else can I use as a natural anti-inflammatory without risking a terrible skin rash?”
While we are enthusiastic about turmeric to ease pain, caution is appropriate. Some people are allergic to turmeric. Others experience liver enzyme elevations when they take either turmeric or curcumin medicinally. In addition, people taking anticoagulants should also avoid this yellow spice. Unfortunately, a combination of turmeric with warfarin could lead to elevated INR values or possibly even dangerous bleeding.
To learn more about the benefits and risks of turmeric and other natural anti-inflammatory herbs, we suggest our book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life.
Additionally, other natural anti-inflammatory medicines come from the Ayurvedic tradition: ashwagandha and boswellia. Herbs and spices that can help ease joint pain include cayenne, ginger, juniper and rosemary. You’ll find more information about them as well in Spice Up Your Health.
You may also wish to listen to our interview with turmeric researcher Dr. Ajay Goel. You’ll find it in Show 1079: What Is the Science Behind Fabulous Foods for Health?