Turmeric – the main spice in curry – can help relieve the pain and stiffness of knee osteoarthritis.
Turmeric comes from the root of a ginger family plant, Curcuma longa, and contains a chemical compound, curcumin, which has long been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.
In a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the researchers instructed 70 people with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis to take either two capsules of Curcuma longa extract per day or two capsules of a placebo that looked identical.
The study in the Annals of Internal Medicine measured knee pain and function with regular clinic visits and self-administered questionnaires. Using M.R.I. With scans, researchers examined the knees for the presence of excess fluid in the synovial cavity, which is associated with joint swelling, stiffness, and pain.
They found that pain, stiffness, and physical function improved significantly more in those who took the curcumin extract than in those who used the placebo. However, there was no difference between the groups in the M.R.I. Assessment of the excess fluid in the synovial cavity and no difference in the cartilage structure.
Lead author, Benny Antony, a senior researcher at the University of Tasmania, admitted that this was a small study, short-lived, and that the effect on pain was only moderate.
Still, he said, "Given the limited effectiveness of current pharmacological treatments for osteoarthritis, modest effects may be helpful and turmeric appears to be without side effects."