Natural Curcumin Beats Drug for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Study

Curcumin from turmeric may help rheumatoid arthritisA pilot study published in Phytotherapy Research compared curcumin – derived from natural turmeric – with the drug diclofenac for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Natural curcumin actually reduced RA symptoms even better than the RA drug diclofenac: a 44% reduction in symptoms on the Disease Activity Score and the American College of Rheumatology criteria for reduction of swelling and tenderness of joins. Patients receiving diclofenac had a 42% reduction.

This is good news because curcumin has no known side-effects. Using anti-inflammatory medications over the long term sometimes has side effects that can result in stomach ulcers and damage to the kidneys. The extremely popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication Vioxx (Rofecoxib – $2.5 billion in sales in 2003) was removed from the market in 2004 due to increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Turmeric is a bright yellow, pungent root that is a member of the ginger family. It is a favorite ingredient in many East Indian recipes. Turmeric is also a key ingredient in many traditional Ayurvedic (East Indian) remedies.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the joints that affects people of all ages, but it most commonly starts in middle age. It is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints and surrounding tissue. Genetics, infection and hormonal balances may be linked to RA.

Joint pain from arthritis is bilateral, meaning it affects the same joints on both sides of the body. The joints are usually stiff in the morning for more than one hour, and may feel stiff, warm and tender after an hour of inactivity. Long-term, range of motion is reduced and the joint may get deformed. Other symptoms associated with RA including Sjogren’s syndrome (dry eyes / mouth), eye burning, eye itching and eye discharge, nodules below the skin, sensation in the extremities and trouble sleeping.

The primary treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is medication. RA sufferers typically try different medications under their doctor’s supervision to find what works for their case of arthritis.

Natural Eye Care Note: By itself, curcumin is poorly absorbed, but taking it with black pepper can improve absorption. Try our  Curcuma NF-kB: Turmeric Supreme.

Study: “A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis” by Binu Chandran and Ajay Goel. Phytotherapy Research March 9, 2012

Important Note: Before taking turmeric supplements check with your doctor if you are taking a blood thinner.  While adding a bit of turmeric to your cooking is usually ok, more concentrated forms have a lot of punch.  Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric is a blood thinner.