We have received an impressive number of messages from people who insist that turmeric helped ease their arthritis pain. You can read about recent research at this link. A study published in Clinical Medicine Insights: Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders (March 25, 2022) provides scientific support for this ancient spice against inflammation: “From our analysis and review of turmeric extract, it can be seen that turmeric has significant effects on reducing the pain indices of patients with OA [osteoarthritis], and there is literature evidence for the effects on a cellular level through inhibition of the NF-κB pathway and other cytokines including IL-1β and IL-18.” Sometimes, though, a dog story can be especially revealing about the benefits of a natural product.
Turmeric vs. Hip Pain:
Q. I have been using turmeric for over a year for arthritis in my hands and have had really great results.
I have an elderly large breed dog with hip problems. The pain was so severe the vet suggested we might put him down.
I started him on turmeric capsules and within 24 hours there was improvement. Within a week he was playing like a puppy again.
I break open the capsules and add them to his canned dog food. Perhaps this will help others.
A. There is a significant amount of research demonstrating the anti-inflammatory activity of the yellow spice turmeric and its principal ingredient curcumin. Although most of the clinical studies have been done in humans, there has been some research in dogs. The investigators for one study wrote:
“The results would suggest that curcumin offers a complementary anti-inflammatory support for OA [osteoarthritis] treatment in dogs” (Veterinary Immunology & Immunopathology, June 30, 2012).
Before dosing your dog, though, please check with a veterinarian. Too much turmeric could be dangerous. Your vet can advise you about appropriate products and doses.
Some vets say that if turmeric helped a dog, it must be due to the placebo effect. They admit that the dog may not be susceptible to suggestion, but the human companion could be. If an owner wants to believe that turmeric helped, then they will see benefit where none really exists.
A reader suggested that the bar of soap she put under her sheets helped her dog’s arthritis. She figured that since the dog did not even know the soap was there that the benefit it experienced had to be “real.”
We were chastised for supporting her in this assumption by a veterinarian who insisted that it was a false perception because there have never been any double-blind placebo-controlled trials of soap against leg cramps or arthritis symptoms. If you want to read his argument and our response, here is a link.
Human Stories About How Turmeric Helped:
We don’t think the turmeric story is pure perception, though. We have received hundreds of messages from people who have achieved benefit using curcumin for their arthritis symptoms. Here are just a couple of stories:
This comes from Ross who says the active ingredient in turmeric helped his shoulder:
“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 recently had shoulder surgery and have been struggling with the pain 10 weeks down the track. Two years of NSAIDs and other pain killers have done nothing.
“Three days on Curcumin capsules and I am 50% pain free. My range of motion has improved and I can now sleep. Quite unbelievable. No side effects that I am aware of. Bring on the next few weeks!”
“I have severe osteoarthritis in both knees. Only cortisone shots were keeping me from a knee replacement. My MD’s nurse suggested curcumin, as I can no longer take any of the prescription NSAIDs due to gastric irritation and a strong family history of cardiovascular disease. I got pain relief on the second day I took curcumin from my local supplement store.
“It is almost unbelievable how well it has worked for me. I now go up and down stairs with no pain, the swelling around my knees is greatly reduced, and even on three capsules a day I have not had one single side effect. It has been over three weeks. I read all the info I could find on it, and decided to give it to my husband for general good health and possibly protection from Alzheimer’s disease. I would like to know if anyone else has had similar spectacular results.”
You will find other natural approaches to easing the pain of arthritis along with more detailed information about turmeric in curry in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. If you like herbs and spices, you will love our book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices and Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life.
Be sure to check with the veterinarian before giving a dog any human food or spice. Turmeric in large doses can harm the liver (Medicinal Chemistry, March, 2009). Some people are more susceptible to bleeding if they take curcumin. Be sure to check with a pharmacist before adding turmeric or curcumin to any medication regimen.
Share your own turmeric or curcumin story below in the comment section. Has turmeric helped your arthritis pain?