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Spicy Supplement Solves Pain Problem

As people age and develop aches and pains, they look for relief. The spicy supplement turmeric (curcumin) helps some.

We love skeptics. These are people who approach both prescription drugs and home remedies with a healthy dose of doubt.  That is as it should be. Outcomes matter. Do NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as celecoxib, ibuprofen, meloxicam, or naproxen ease those aches and pains without serious side effects? Do nondrug alternatives do anything meaningful or is it all a placebo effect? Some people have found that a spicy supplement is very helpful for joint pain.

Golden Milk with Spicy Supplement Eases Joint Pain:

Q. About three months ago, I gave up dairy and no longer take Celebrex for my arthritis pain. I do drink golden milk (almond or coconut milk with a dash of black pepper, a squirt of ginger paste and half a teaspoon of powdered turmeric) morning and evening. I have found this keeps my joints moving.

A. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Golden milk is a time-honored way of taking the spicy supplement turmeric in the Ayurvedic tradition. One reader told us that when he was growing up in India, his mother gave him golden milk to ward off colds. Other people use it for digestive disorders, and many find it helpful, as you do, against arthritis.

Dairy Products May Increase Inflammation:

When you avoid dairy products, you may also be helping your joints. In one small study of people with rheumatoid arthritis, those who ate no meat, dairy products or gluten-containing foods for three months had lower blood pressure and inflammation as well as less joint pain (Nutrients, Oct. 9, 2021). While rheumatoid arthritis differs from osteoarthritis, lowering inflammation may benefit both.

Golden Milk as Source of Spicy Supplement:

We include a traditional dairy-based recipe for golden milk along with numerous other remedies in our book, Recipes & Remedies From The People’s Pharmacy. Substituting non-dairy “milk” also works for this recipe, although the fat in cows’ milk aids absorption of the turmeric.

Recipes & Remedies also provides natural approaches for lowering blood pressure and managing cholesterol, easing indigestion and treating colds and coughs.

Skeptic Gets Relief from Spicy Supplement:

Here is one Aussie who who went from a doubter to an enthusiast when it came to pain control:

Q. I am a 50-year-old police officer (and alternative medicine skeptic) with severe osteoarthritis in my shoulder and neck joints from work-related injuries. I had shoulder surgery ten weeks ago, and I was still struggling with the pain until recently.

Two years of NSAIDs and other pain relievers have not helped, but I started taking curcumin capsules three days ago. I am now 50 percent pain free, with a much-improved range of motion. Most unbelievable, I can sleep without discomfort. I have not experienced any side effects. Why isn’t this remedy better known in Australia where I live?

A. Curcumin is the active component in turmeric, the yellow spice in curry powder. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is being tested against cancer as well as joint pain and psoriasis (Molecules, June 3, 2011; Journal of Family Practice, March, 2011). Many health professionals are not familiar with its healing properties, except in India.

Other Stories from Readers:

Paula “got her life back:”

“I’ve been in pain for years in my lower back.

“I have tried EVERYTHING I could find, both natural and from the doctor. I’ve been on turmeric (3 pills a day) for two months and can really tell the difference. I have my life back, thanks to turmeric.”

Nancy from Washington, DC, shared this approach:

“I make a dairy-free version of ‘Golden Milk’ almost daily as well as taking fish oil. These compounds do reduce clotting some, which is of additional benefit to me, since the side effects of daily baby aspirin was causing spontaneous bruising. (That was years before I had even heard of golden milk) Now I can walk, whereas I had been looking at knee replacement! No more bruising, no NSAID side effects.

“My recipe is: 1 small piece of fresh turmeric root, 1 small piece fresh ginger root, 1 TSP cinnamon, 1 TSP black peppercorns, 1 TBS flax or chia seeds, 1 thin slice of fresh pineapple, 8-10 oz unsweetened coconut water and 1-2 TBS melted coconut oil. Blend until smooth and drink. I also add a TSP of ‘no salt’.”

Turmeric May Benefit Psoriasis:

Cathy reported:

“I tried turmeric for psoriasis after reading an article on your web site. I am amazed by the relief it has given me. My foot is 100% better in less than two weeks. My doctor wanted to put me on a drug that has dangerous side effects and is extremely expensive. Now I don’t have to worry about any side effects! Thanks for your help!”

Paula had a similar story:

“I took two caps of turmeric a day and after 50 days my legs were clear of psoriasis after suffering for 12 years and trying ‘everything.’ Finally, a cheap, no side effects treatment that works!”

Turmeric (Curcumin) Caveats:

Actually, some people do experience side effects from taking turmeric. We have heard from a number of people who have reported increased bleeding after consuming turmeric. Their experience suggests that this spice has anti-clotting properties. One person had a severe nosebleed while using this spicy supplement. That’s why people taking anticoagulants should avoid turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin!

We also worry about allergic reactions. Some folks develop a nasty rash on this natural remedy. Even nondrug approaches can have serious side effects.

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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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