What is curcumin? Turmeric, a relative of the ginger plant, contains multiple active constituents, in particular the curcuminoids. The curcuminoid that appears to be most significant in terms of pain relief is known as ‘curcumin’.

Finding effective pain relief

One of the leading causes of pain and disability in Australia today, is osteoarthritis. This painful long-term condition is caused by deterioration of cartilage in the joints and is characterised by stiffness and deformity of the joints.

For sufferers, finding effective pain relief is critical to their quality of life and while pharmaceutical pain killers provide this, some have unfortunately been linked with unpleasant side effects. That’s why sufferers will be impressed to read the results of a recent trial using a natural supplement.
In 2009, researchers at Deakin University, set up a double blind placebo controlled trial, supplementing osteoarthritis patients with 1200mg of curcumin over a two-week period. Following supplementation, participants taking curcumin demonstrated approximately 50 per cent less pain associated with gripping. Researchers noticed that the curcumin appeared to work very quickly with participants reporting a reduction in pain within two hours. While osteoarthritis is not curable, this trial did demonstrate that strength may be improved and associated pain may be managed, thus allowing daily tasks to take place more comfortably.

Similarly trials on rheumatoid arthritis patients have shown positive results with curcumin. In one small trial rheumatoid arthritis patients received either curcumin (1200mg daily) or a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) (phenylbutazone 300mg daily) for 14 days. Both groups of patients showed similar improvement in symptoms including morning stiffness and joint swelling; however no side effects were noted in patients taking curcumin.