The People's Perspective on Medicine

Turmeric Relieved Nerve Pain

Q. I read that turmeric could help relieve muscle pain, so I began taking three capsules each day for my fibromyalgia. The pain has eased somewhat, but the greatest benefit was that the neuropathy in my feet has almost entirely disappeared.

After two weeks I urged my sister, ten years younger than me and with a much more severe neuropathy problem, to try it. She began taking turmeric and is now almost completely pain free.

A. Neuropathy can manifest as numbness, tingling or pain in hands or feet. This kind of nerve disorder is notoriously hard to treat.

Turmeric has long been used in the traditional medical systems of Asia. Malaysian scientists confirmed last year that an extract of this bright yellow spice could quell nerve-related pain in rodents (Molecules, April 22, 2010). The anti-inflammatory activity of turmeric may also provide benefit.

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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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Here’s a quote from a clinical study: “These results indicated that curcumin exerted a therapeutic role in neuropathic pain by down-regulating p300/CBP HAT activity-mediated gene expression of BDNF and Cox-2….Treatment with 40 and 60 mg/kg body weight curcumin for 7 consecutive days significantly attenuated CCI-induced thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia, whereas 20 mg/kg curcumin showed no significant analgesic effect. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that curcumin dose-dependently reduced the recruitment of p300/CBP and acetyl-Histone H3/acetyl-Histone H4 to the promoter of BDNF and Cox-2 genes. A similar dose-dependent decrease of BDNF and Cox-2 in the spinal cord was also observed after curcumin treatment…” Read the rest here:

I began using organic turmeric powder by making golden milk as a remedy for preventing onset of the common cold. It definitely works for this! What I noticed was that after drinking golden milk for about one week, the neuropathy in the heel of my left foot and the toe of my right foot pretty much went away! I was about to consult a doctor for the problems with my feet, and am thankful that I now have one less health issue to worry about. Curcumin is amazing and it’s healing power is well known for adverse conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases and more. I will definitely continue taking turmeric every day! I So glad that I found this health promoting root!

Am wondering how much turmeric with circumin in capsule form can safely be taken daily. Mine is high potency with bioperine (2capsules = 1300 total daily is recommended. Have chronic sciatica/piriformus syndrome which means chronic .muscle spasms squeezing sciatic nerve. Am on diazepam 3 times daily for chronic muscle spasms +400mg ibuprofen 3times for pain and inflammation. Have been using the 1300mg of turmeric in place of one dose of ibuprofen at night but pain is still agonizing in lower back and both legs.

Would like to totally get off ibuprofen because of side effects but can’t stand the pain without it combined with diazepam or ibuprofen or turmeric. Anyone know whether it would be safe to take turmeric in place of ibuprofen 3 times daily? I read that 1300 turmeric is the max daily dose but also heard that it’s supposed to be better for you with no serious side effects. Anyone out there with any knowledge and/or advice? Pain is driving me crazy!!!!

I put or sprinkle heavily organic ground turmeric and black pepper on my scrambled eggs (from my own feather girls)…..
I also bought tumeric tablets from heartbook guy Christian Wilde, his “enhanced tumeric formula”. Recommended dose is 2 tablets.

I take one since I use tumeric in my eggs. Heck it’s great on popcorn, too.
Lately, been also sprinkling Nutrional yeast on stuff, too. Dont know if it helps anything, but why not??? Will soon buy tumeric by the pound, which is so much cheaper. Also looking for kefir starter grains…..locally

Hi Hunni, I have the same pains as you and you can keep away from such strong tablets just by the yoga stretches throughout the day morning and evening and at the weekends I do 3x a day…it has stopped those excruciating and agonising pains and helps me to keep flexible and mobility immensely! There are also a lot of homeopathic remedies like Neuro Fix, I have been on for about 2- weeks now and I’ve not had that horrible tingling and numbness anymore at least.

I am also due to start secssions in chinese alternative medicine doctor clinic as the NHS and Doctors just won’t do anything at all but rather give you pills to pump you up with tables to cover up the pains as they don’t have time anyway whereas the Chinese Doctors actually look for and treat the actual cause of the problem in the physical sense but also working on our body’s Qi flow and the meridians etc etc…..I have only just started with the turmeric, I just bought two little spice jars to start off with, I like the taste though mixed in milk.

I am trying to take the recommended 3 teaspoons a day, I think they’ve said…I will do and try anything to get rid of these bad pains! There is also a belt Sciaticalm, works with electric pulses to the nerve and I have read amazing reviews for that too! I am keeping away from the strong tablets ow and I stretch through the pain, brings great relief! Hope this helps hunni xx I know how much it hurts xx Love & hugs xx

Finally went to health food store & bought Turmeric w/pepperin. Took 2 – omg. Within hours the PAIN in my muscles eased. The next day I took 3 capsules with same result! This is the third day I can actually walk and even go up steps without moaning and groaning out loud. My CPK and ANA are both seriously elevated. The doctor said that I could take it – and in her words ” it won’t hurt”. Omg. It helped sooooo much. Now my muscles are still “sore” as my Lupus is supposedly in a flare but the debilitating pain is gone. I am so grateful and will check blood sugars as they say it also helps with that! Wonder Spice.

As noted in my prior posts, turmeric appears to be effective in a 24 hour test. Reduced pain from a 10 to about 3-4 (10 point pain scale as used by hospitals). I am now beginning a 1 week test (7 days) to determine if the pain relief is maintained over time. I will post again after completion. I will then complete a 1 month test. I will post at that time as well. Note: I have stopped taking Lyrica and Butrans during these testing periods. Of course, in the event turmeric loses its effectiveness, I will re-instate the Rx’s. My hope is turmeric continues to work???

Hi Bernard. Do you have any updates for us?
I am considering trying turmeric tea for my sciatica.

I wanted to add that you must take large doses of turmeric (and add a black pepper supplement) to assure that the herbs chemicals (curcumin) can be properly absorbed. The body has difficulty absorbing turmeric (thus the need for mega-doses with a black pepper supplement). BTW – I also take Corydalis (Chinese herb) and Alpha Lipoic Acid. However, I recently did a 24 hour test of turmeric and it appears (at least short term) to reduce the pain equally as effective as the Rx pain meds I take (Lyrica and Butrans). I am now testing the longer term effectiveness (1 week test).

I have had severe neuropathy in my feet for about 15 years. It disabled me for 10 of those years (completely disabled). I recently tested turmeric by stopping Lyrica and Butrans (morphine patch) and then beginning turmeric (2000 mg every 4 hours). Based upon this very short term test, turmeric reduced my pain score to about 3-4 (10 point pain scale) within the first 24 hours. Essentially, turmeric decreased my pain score to about the same level as the two Rx’s (without the side effects of those meds). Does it have long term pain reduction effectiveness? DK??? Have to wait and see. I will continue the regimen of 2000 mg every 4 hours over the next week or so. That should determine its longer term effectiveness (at least for me). Note: I also add turmeric (and black pepper) to my daily meals.

I have sciatica I have been reading that turmeric can help with the pain. Is there anyone who has used turmeric and experienced relief from sciatic pain?

I do not have sciatica, but I do have a spinal cord injury (severe – requiring a 10 hour surgery to repair). Read my prior posts (Bernard).

Dry turmeric powder made into a paste with salt can be applied to swollen or damaged muscle/tendons/joints, then cover lightly to protect color damaging clothes etc. 3 nights should do the trick, tea spoon of turmeric add to a glass of warm milk does wonders too.
when we grew up in India this is all we had, it has wonderful medicinal properties.

Hi, I was having severe back pain (cervical spine) since about 8 months. I visited a couple of doctors but they were unable to identify what was wrong. I got an x-ray done which showed some nerve damage at C5-C6 and C6-C7 level in the spine. These nerves extend to the arms from the upper (cervical) spine. At times when the pain was severe it would extend from my neck/ upper back and go down my arm causing tingling and dullness and weakness in the arm. Can this nerve damage be cured by turmeric or any other herb?

Cure?? Probably not. Reduce pain. Yes it works quite well especially nerve damage pain.

Hi I also have fibromyalgia pain…make the golden milk it. it does help a lot. I drink it at bed time and no longer wake up stiff and in pain most of the days. I start feeling the pain around at 2pm the next day. So now I drink a cup at noon.

Does Turmeric interact with Metformin for Diabetes?
Peoples Pharmacy response: We have not found an interaction with metformin, but it seems that turmeric or curcumin may have an impact on blood sugar. Here is the link to the study abstract:

Hi, I suffer from Fibromyalgia, and don’t want to take the meds prescribed from my Nuero. They’re soo strong, and I feel so out-of-it, so I’d be very appreciative if you could share with me how much of Turmeric I need to take, I don’t have the tablet form, I bought the spice. It’s a fine powdery spice, but how do I prepare it, or eat it? I don’t know how to cook Asian or Indian food, so how easy can I prepare it, or “wash it down” to reap the benefits. Please let me know, thank you. In the meantime, I will try to find the capsules somewhere.

Had a root canal 2/01/2013, since then I have been miserable: experiencing severe pain when I talk & when I eat: my pain is @ the left tongue & the base of my tongue, it is always @ the scale of 10 out of 10. For 6 weeks now I have the same level of pain… I am taking Neorontin & narcotics which really did not give me any relief. I was talking to my niece tonight sharing with me about her relatives overseas having therapeutic response from turmeric, so right away I looked @ my pantry have some powdered ones started taking it.
By the way I got diagnosed by the endodontist (went for a second opinion said it is a lingual nerve injury secondary to trauma from the anesthesia injection) my pain specialist said I have a glossopharyngeal nerve injury. I am hopeful this amazing turmeric will relieve my agony, worst pain in my life I swear & I am ready to sue my dentist. Will get u updated of the outcome!

The human body is unable to process turmeric soon enough for it to be of a real benefit. It is hard to digest and is generally expelled from the body too soon. In capsule form, there are varying strengths. (ask the pharmacist) and they have already been broken down for you so them the benefits are easily absorbed. If you have just purchased the spice powder from the supermarket it’ll taste great but won’t do what an activated capsule or powder will do. There are lots of western ways you can use turmeric as well, just search for ideas on the internet. I put a few sprinkles of turmeric in with the rest of my spices to crumbs for chicken etc. It not only tastes good, but makes it a nice golden colour.

I have muscle pains, and sometimes felt like have nerves problems too, been experiencing this for 10 years now..someone told me about this turmeric. If have the fresh turmeric, 1 thumb size of it is 2 cups. Boil it and then upon reaching its boiling point, you have to uncover it and reduce the fire of your stove and just boil it without cover for 10 to 15 minutes. Excited to do this today and this turmeric juice will serve as my water… I’ll give you the result after a week or a month.

I have type 2 diabetes after six years of insulin I began to have severe-pain in my legs thighs hands and feet which was at it’s worst at night I am seventy-years old and don’t care for all the pain medication. A friend told me about turmeric I started three weeks ago taking 800mg twice a day morning and before bed with food And for Me It Work!!!!!!! The pain has decrease and I am so “Happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can also make turmeric tea. I drink this with honey. It is not bad tasting and the suspension makes it easy to digest. Look up golden milk tea or turmeric tea. You can adjust the amounts.

I have found that taken with insulin it dramatically DECREASES your blood sugar. You need to make sure you check your glucose levels more frequently if using turmeric.
-Type 1 diabetic

for those who can not get relief from neuropathy or lower back pain, take hot coffee or milk, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric, sprinkle heavy with black pepper, sweeten to taste with milk and sugar. This combo will give instant relief for pain. Be sure to drink while hot. This is the only thing in 34 years of diabetes that has brought relief.

Another easy way to take turmeric is to spread the powder on buttered toast, then sprinkle on salt for taste and pepper for bioavailability.

Barbara, you can use it in a lot of foods. It’s what makes mustard and commercial chicken noodle or rice soup yellow. I use about one-eighth teaspoon in soup or rice. (not good in Senate bean soup–it clashes with the nutmeg) I mix the same amount or less with paprika, parsley and crushed rosemary with olive oil for salad dressing, or spreading on fish before microwaving. Or when making sweet potato fries, I brush the olive oil mix on the sliced yams before baking. A little bit goes a long way, and in small amounts doesn’t change the taste that I can tell. Experiment with it, and see what you like. My husband is used to yellow rice at home now, because he knows the yellow is supposed to help his leg cramps! (Besides he can’t tell if it’s white or brown rice, or a mix that way!)
You have to be careful about getting it on your clothes. It makes a bright yellow stain. The best way to get it out is salt, lemon or lime juice and sun. if you get to it quickly, that can take the stain out pretty well.

After reading the letter in the newspaper column, I decided to try Turmeric for my foot pain. I bought some at the market in the spice section not realizing it comes in capsules. How much do I take and how do i take it? Should I just scoop some out with a spoon or add it to something? Is Turmeric in capsules the exact same thing as what I bought?
I haven’t tried it yet but want to make sure I am using it correctly and in an effective dose. Any advice would be appreciated.
p.s. I don’t know why I have foot pain but it is sometimes severe. I have been suffering for many years. Sometimes I have no pain at all! OTC analgesics help but I’d rather use something more natural. Thanks!

HI every body, I heard turmeric capsules are not that effective as organic ground turmeric. You can find that in whole food stores. It’s expensive but it’s real and work .good luck

Hi my boyfriend has renel cancer and has very painful neuropthy in his legs and fingers he was hospitalized for 2 weeks for high calcium levels. Now he is bedridden because of the pain in his feet. I was wondering would it be harmful for him to try turmeric capsules?

Hi my boyfriend has renel cancer and they believe he has neuropthy he has a very hard time walking because the pain in his feet. In fact he was in the hospital and now he is unable to walk at all. Do you think I should give him this product? Thanks
Peoples’ Pharmacy response: Talk to his oncology team before giving it to him. There is always a danger of interaction between botanicals and chemotherapy drugs, and we don’t know if it is safe.

Thanks for the tip on using turmeric and honey. It has helped get rid of the pain in my hands. I use it every night.
As ever

You can purchase Turmeric capsules at Walgreen’s. I usually purchase the capsules when it is a buy one/get one free sale. You can purchase the turmeric at other drug stores also.
I have read that turmeric is also good for lowering triglycerides. When I had my last blood test in July, I was shocked that my triglycerides were only 59! I take 900 mg daily!

I am going to try this tomorrow as I have the same symptoms. Also pain in my feet!! I’m being tested for inflammatory bowel disease and not sure if these pains are linked or not but well worth a go. Will let you know if it works for me. Thanks for the post.

For the last several months, I have experienced extreme sensitivity in my hands. Everything I touched was too hot or too cold, or it would feel like I had paper cuts in various parts of my hand. Hard to describe but extremely annoying. Then a month ago I started having arthritis symptoms in my hands along with the other pain.
The neurologist and endocrinologist appeared to think I might have some form of neuropathy but were unsure.
In any event, I was in constant pain. After attending a yoga class last week, I was told to try a one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder (which I bought at an Indian grocery store) mixed with honey and to take it just before bedtime. I was not told that it would alleviate the pains I was experiencing, but when I woke up the next morning, I had no more sensitivity pain and the arthritis symptoms were mostly gone.
This is my third day, and still not feeling pain. It is a great feeling, and I am grateful to have maybe found a cure to this persistent and annoying problem. I hope this helps someone with intractable pain.

Can persons taking coumadin also take alpha-lipoic acid for neuropathy?

I read that turmeric could help with my severe pain from neuropathy. I am on coumadin and need to know if I can take turmeric without interfering the other drugs.

What does mustard have to do with the turmeric? Do you take dry or wet?
What is the amount, of each?

If you look on the small packages of mustard you will see that turmeric is in them.

Are turmeric and curcumin the same thing? Does curcumin by itself also interact with warfarin? Would a low dose of 600mg per day interact? We have been so excited since reading the article on turmeric as my husband has had neuropathy for many years. Is there any other natural thing that could be helpful? We will try most anything. Thank you

Does you body weight have any thing to do with how much turmeric to use?
I had open heart surgery in 96 broke my neck in 03. I have not been able to exercise. I quit smoking after 57 years of puffing the things that ruins your health. I still have a cold beer. Does that have any bearing on neuropathy?
I hope that someone has a answer.
Please help!
As ever

I have been eating sandwiches with mustard and also take a teaspoon of yellow mustard at night.
I would like to know if there are capsules instead of eating yellow mustard. Please reply. Try taking diet tonic water it may also help.

I have seen turmeric root or fruit (about 2-3 inches in size) at farmers market, in my
area they are Hispanic/Cuban families. It’s gnarly like ginger root but dark brownish red. Asian or Indian markets probably have it also.

If you RE-READ the article, the lady took 3 caps/day! Experimentation is the key here!

A friend is taking Arimidex and has joint pain. Is Turmeric, ground or capsules, compatible with the gin soaked raisins, or the Certo in white grape juice? She loves to garden and has to take the Arimidex for 5 years.

I am a breast cancer survivor and am taking Arimidex, which has as one of its’ side effects, joint pain. Since I am a massage therapist, when my hands started hurting way too much and I found out from my wonderful oncologist that the hands are often very affected from this drug, I began taking turmeric capsules, 800 mg. a day, sometimes twice a day.
It is one of the things I attribute to having helped my hands. The only other supplement I added was systemic enzymes (natural anti-inflammatory), and that may be helping also. Could be that if you can get or grow fresh turmeric root that it would be better. I don’t know if an isolated ingredient, as suggested previously, would be best to take, as there are other elements in whole foods that may work synergistically. I believe in organically grown whole foods prepared with consciousness as opposed to isolated ingredients from a lab. That said, I am taking the capsules from a lab since I live in the woods and mountains, where many things don’t grow. Thank you for all the information!

I also take this for joint pain, once daily and have found it also helps my digestive problems. I started using after my doctor was diagnosed with cancer and I found it is also to have anti-cancer benefits.

I am having a very bad time with this disease. What name do you want too call it!
I have very bad pain.
Please help!!!!!!

My husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the fall; and after reading about curcurmin and its effect on tumors, he started to take it about 2 months prior to surgery.
When the surgeon came out to see us after the surgery, he told us that the tumor was smaller than he thought it was. We will never know if the curcurmin made the difference, but I think it did; otherwise, why would the tumor have been smaller than shown in the various tests that were taken?
My mother is in the last stage of alzheimers, and I am taking it because of its effects on the inflammation. We have a Dr friend from India who tells me that India has a low incidence of alzheimers, and they think it is from the turmeric that is used for cooking.
I am ordering a truckload!!!

My husband often has leg cramps and can’t take mustard because of acid reflux. Therefore I put turmeric (the spice) in rice, soups and anything else I can think of, and am glad to hear it has positive benefits for both of us!

I sent a regular e-mail to you asking about drug interactions with turmeric. Also, I agree with others, there is no recommended dosage. please advise

Enjoyed the article BUT what Dose do you take… a very important part of the article was missing !!!

Can you tell me what kind of foot neuropathy the author of the 1st comment suffered with that responded to turmeric? Was the neuropathy due to diabetes, or low B12, or some other cause? Many thanks, tc

Does Turmeric or cucurmin raise the blood sugar like prednisone?
I am diabetic and Epidural blocks for sciatica pain (2) did not help
me. Will Turmeric help sciatica?

It is Curcumin you want to take. I have ovarian cancer – currently in remission – and have been taking 6-8 grams of curcumin daily. That’s really a lot, but it’s safe. Curcumin has shown to prevent cancer from growing in some studies. Doing a little research will lead you to a reliable, well-formulated product. It’s not cheap.

Hi, I started taking Indian Turmeric about a year ago, because I read where it helps with memory and Alzheimer’s.. It seems to help my memory, but I haven’t noticed a great improvement with nerve pain. I have pyriformis syndrome, which involves sciatic nerve pain. I take 2 every day, but maybe I need to increase it to 3.
I am passing on this site to a friend with fibromyalgia..

Ah, thanks for the link. 1/2 teaspoon daily seems to be the normal recommendation. I will give it a try.

I went to the health food store to buy turmeric. They said I should just by cucurmin, the ingredient in turmeric that is really what works. They were out of turmeric. Is this true or is turmeric better? Please advise!

I started taking turmeric because I heard that it was helpful in preventing breast cancer (I am at high risk). I recommended it to my husband, as his PSA levels rose slightly (it’s also recommended for prostate cancer). My husband also lost his sense of smell (none of his doctors could find a reason); however, prednizone brings it back, but he can take it only twice a year and for only ten days.
Prednizone is an anti-inflammatory. After about a month of taking turmeric, his smell started returning (which allowed him to taste food). He takes about 6,000 units a day. On the research that I could find, it seemed that it was safe to take up to 10,000 units a day. The research said that because it’s so prevalent in Indian cooking, India has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimers. I would like to know if anyone else has experienced a loss of smell and what they did to treat it.

There is a People’s Pharmacy topic on turmeric with more information, posted a month ago.

Try Turmeric Extract capsules, 95% standardized Curcumin, 900 mg (+) per day, with Black Pepper Extract (BioPerine)for bioavailability. Worked for my foot pain, too.

What kind of dosage is recommended to experience benefits of pain or tingling relief?

The article did not mention the dosage taken to relieve the neuropathy pain. Any recommendations or comments?

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