If you’re a fan of Indian food, you are probably familiar with turmeric, the spice that gives curry its flavor and bright yellow color.
But turmeric is much more than that. It’s also an ancient herbal remedy that benefits both the brain and body.
For instance, it’s long been observed that older people in India, where curry and turmeric are a daily dietary staple, have much lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia—and better cognitive performance and memory.
And there is also evidence that curcumin—an active component in turmeric—helps relieve joint pain.
The dietary supplement industry is finally discovering the science behind curcumin, but it’s only one of many therapeutic ingredients in turmeric. I always find that a whole plant has multiple components with synergistic health benefits—while medical science insists on looking for the single-ingredient “magic bullet” in hopes of capitalizing upon it.
And one new studies back me up.
Turmeric trumps Tramadol for pain relief
In this study, researchers looked at different components (or fractions) extracted from turmeric—and compared them with the addictive narcotic drug Tramadol in experimental animals.1
Of course, the researchers had an ulterior motive—they were trying to find a unique “new” compound in turmeric that could then potentially be developed as a “safe” drug.
But the study also revealed plenty of information for people (like you and me) who are interested in more natural approaches.
The researchers administered a single dose of a pain-causing chemical into the knee joints of lab rats. Then they gave the rats turmeric doses that contained two different fractions that are naturally found in the plant.
The fractions were administered orally as a single dose five days after the onset of pain, and then the rats’ functional pain was measured one, three, six, and 24 hours later.
Both fractions of turmeric reduced pain, at all intervals measured—and were found to be as effective as or even more effective than Tramadol. Specifically, one of the turmeric fractions resulted in a 57 percent pain reduction, and the other showed a 35 percent pain reduction.
My conclusion: Neither fraction is the “magic bullet” researchers were looking for. So instead of trying to figure out which component of turmeric is most effective for joint pain, just use the whole plant.
The study also showed the potency of just a single dose of turmeric for reducing joint pain. Other studies show turmeric works by reducing inflammation, which also has a long-term benefit for rebuilding healthy joints over time—as I have personally observed.
I recommend 400 to 500 mg per day of the powdered root of whole turmeric (Curcuma longa), along with my other two ABCs of joint health—ashwagandha (500 mg) and boswellia (450 mg). You can search my website for more information on these powerful ingredients.
1“Bioactive turmerosaccharides from Curcuma longa Extract (NR-INF-02): Potential ameliorating effect on osteoarthritis pain.” Phcog Mag 2017;13, Suppl S3:623-7.