If you were to ask me if I have arthritis, I’d answer “no.” Which is an odd response, because I have an achy hip that will one day need to be replaced. Among the problems with it, says my doctor, are bone spurs and some arthritis. Obviously, I’m in denial.
Regardless, the danged thing hurts and I can’t take anti-inflammatory medicines. After looking around, I’ve discovered several natural alternatives that help with inflammation and pain, including black cherry juice, and another that looks so promising, I plan to try it soon: turmeric.
Yes, the bright yellow spice that’s used in Indian curries and South Asian cooking. It’s also the component that gives yellow mustard its bright color. What’s really interesting about the spice, however, is that anti-inflammation effect.
According to a 2009 study, the active ingredient in turmeric (curcumin) was found to ease pain as well as ibuprofen. And research touted by the University of Michigan Health System has shown it to be superior to non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in relieving inflammation after surgery.
In its capsule form, an additional compound such as piperine will be added to aid absorption. Other supporters of turmeric, such as alternative medicine proponent Dr. Andrew Weil suggest taking it in conjunction with ginger for even more anti-inflammation effect.
A study by researchers at Baylor University found that taking curcumin daily in moderate doses for up to three months was safe. However, I’ve read that the active ingredient in turmeric can sometimes slow blood clotting, so it should be avoided for at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery, and it should not be mixed with other blood thinners. It should also be avoided if you have gallstones.
As always, ask your doctor before starting any new supplements for your health, especially if you’re interested in altering a course your doctor has prescribed.