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Study: Turmeric proves more effective than pharma pills at treating rheumatoid arthritis

Monday, December 30, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: turmeric, rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin

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(NaturalNews) What if there was a way to safely and effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) without the need for pharmaceutical drugs? The good news is that there is a way, and researchers from Nirmala Medical Centre in Kerala, India, wrote all about it in a paper that they published back in 2012 in the journal Phytotherapy Research.

The substance is known as curcumin, and it is the primary active ingredient in the spice turmeric. Researchers from the Centre found that it works better than diclofenac sodium, also known as Voltaren, at relieving pain in patients with RA. And the best part is that, unlike diclofenac sodium, curcumin does not cause any harmful side effects.

For the study, 45 patients diagnosed with RA were assigned to one of three groups. The first group received 500 milligrams (mg) of curcumin alone, the second group received 50 mg of diclofenac sodium alone and the third group received both the curcumin and the diclofenac sodium together. Each patient was assessed using the standard Disease Activity Score, or DAS, as well as the American College of Rheumatology's (ACR) criteria for assessing RA pain.

Based on the research, patients in all three groups experienced significant changes in their respective DASs as a result of the treatment. But patients in the curcumin-only group experienced the most drastic improvements in both DAS and ACR scores, measuring significantly higher than the scores achieved in the diclofenac sodium-only group.

Even more significant were the respective treatment outcomes in terms of adverse event prevalence. Patients in both the diclofenac sodium-only group and the diclofenac sodium-plus-curcumin group both experienced some degree of adverse events, while patients in the curcumin-only group experienced no adverse events whatsoever.

"Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions," wrote the authors in their abstract.

Curcumin works to treat RA by naturally stamping out joint inflammation

Though this particular study does not go into great detail about how curcumin works to treat RA, related research provides more insight. The Life Extension Foundation (LEF), for instance, published a full-length report back in 2012 discussing joint inflammation and the role that curcumin can play in treating it.

Multiple studies over the years have confirmed the anti-inflammatory efficacy of curcumin, and more recent inquiry has identified RA and its associated symptoms as a major target for curcumin therapy. A 2008 review published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, for instance, found that curcumin is capable of reducing all the inflammation-promoting targets in the body, while pharma pills are generally single-targeted.

"[W]here curcumin really shines is in directly suppressing the inflammation that underlies not only rheumatoid arthritis, but also most of the chronic diseases of aging that afflict all of us sooner or later," explains the LEF report. "Curcumin's ability to safely quash inflammation in such a broad-spectrum manner makes it a compelling topic among anti-aging researchers."

You can read the full LEF report on curcumin and inflammation by visiting:

Sources for this article include:




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