Ever felt a sharp pain in your knees that lasts for hours? Such disturbances can be totally tiresome and exhausting. Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of autoimmune disorder that is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage that covers and lubricates the joints. Due to certain health complications, the cartilage starts wearing away, which results in the rubbing of bones against each other. This causes inflammation and pain in the joint. Inflammation is mainly the work of a body enzyme named COX-2. Arthritis is the most prevalent kind of joint disorder in the US, and knees are the part of the body most frequently affected by this disorder (Wolfe et al., 2007).
Herbs vs Drugs
Pain relief medications are widely offered to help reduce knee pain. However, such treatments may idncue several side-effects like kidney damage and cardiac complications. For example, Ibuprofen, which is frequently used as a pain killer, can gradually produce symptoms like convulsions and kidney abnormalities. This anti-inflammatory drug not only inhibits the activity of COX-2, but also disturbs the normal function of another enzyme named COX-1. This particular enzyme is in charge of protecting the lining of the stomach and blood vessels. Long-term usage of pain relief medications may subsequently result in stomach ulcers and internal bleeding (Mungo et al., 2002). Medicinal plants, however, have a remarkable history of treating various health-related complications with little or no side- effects. Numerous scientific studies have reported the use of turmeric as an effective treatment against joint pain.
Turmeric: A Solution for Joint Pain
In a rather long list of spices, turmeric stands out with its unique bright yellow color. It is widely used in smoothies, herbal teas, beauty products, ointments, and facial masks. Turmeric constitutes numerous antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is commonly used as a medication and food spice in South Asia, while it is generally used for cooking in the US. (Debjit Bhowmik et al., 2009).
Curcumin, a Bio-active Compound of Turmeric
Daily usage of turmeric in meals is helpful for achieving numerous health benefits. Turmeric contains an active compound named curcumin that can assist in relieving joint pain. Curcumin belongs to a class of naturally occurring phenols called curcuminoids. Curcumin has numerous antioxidant properties that can also help in minimizing the oxidative damage induced by inflammation in the body (Daily et al., 2016). In addition, this compound inhibits the activity of COX-2 without altering the healthy activity of the COX-1 enzyme.
The bottom line
Chemical-based synthetic drugs or medications have the potential to minimize the symptoms of pain, but there’s always the possibility of side effects. Research studies have reported on the numerous medicinal properties that turmeric possesses. While this spice may assist in reducing knee pain, it will not improve or heal the joint completely. If you want to utilize turmeric as medication, you should discuss it with your doctor first so that they can properly guide you in making the right decision.
- Daily, J. W., Yang, M., & Park, S. J. J. o. m. f. (2016). Efficacy of turmeric extracts and curcumin for alleviating the symptoms of joint arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. 19(8), 717-729.
- Debjit Bhowmik, C., Kumar, K., Chandira, M., & Jayakar, B. J. A. o. a. s. r. (2009). Turmeric: a herbal and traditional medicine. 1(2), 86-108.
- Mungo, D. V., Zhang, X., O’Keefe, R. J., Rosier, R. N., Puzas, J. E., & Schwarz, E. M. J. J. o. O. R. (2002). COX‐1 and COX‐2 expression in osteoid osteomas. 20(1), 159-162.
- Wolfe, F., Michaud, K. J. A., & Rheumatology, R. O. J. o. t. A. C. o. (2007). Biologic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and the risk of malignancy: analyses from a large US observational study. 56(9), 2886-2895.