8 Benefits of Turmeric for Reduced Pain
The benefits of turmeric for reduced pain go a long way, in some cases proving almost as effective as painkillers. Here’s how it works and what you can use it for.
Turmeric is a spice coming from the turmeric plant and is extensively used in Indian cuisine, especially in curry. It gives a warm, slightly bitter taste and colors curry powders, butters, mustards and cheeses.
However, apart from its culinary uses, turmeric root is used in medicine. Its specific yellow-pigment ingredient known as curcumin is often used as a pigment for food and cosmetics.
Due to its healing and pain-relieving properties, turmeric has been widely used in medicine, proving effective in treating a number of ails such as stomach pain, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach bloating, gas, liver disorders, stomach ulcers,gallbladder disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), skin inflammation caused by radiation therapy, and fatigue. (1)
The yellow spice is also used as a remedy for bronchitis, headaches, colds, lung infections, fibromvalgia, fever, leprosy, menstrual pain, itchy skin (pruritus), post-surgery recovery, and even certain types of cancer. Other pain and inflammation relief uses of turmeric include urinary bladder inflammation, water retention, kidney disorders, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, infected wounds, and gum diseases.
Applied topically to the skin, turmeric can alleviate pain caused by certain skin conditions like ringworm, swellings, sprains, bruising, acne, eye infections, and eye infections.
The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin as well as other chemicals found in the flavorful, yellow spice make it efficient in reducing swelling. At the same time, these compounds are known to combat pain. Among the noteworthy benefits of turmeric for reduced pain are:
1. Turmeric May Alleviate Arthritis Symptoms
There is compelling evidence that turmeric extracts taken alone or in combination with other herbal ingredients can reduce pain and improve mobility in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis. (2) Some research even suggests that turmeric had about the same effect as ibuprofen.
2. Turmeric Provides Relief for Itchy Skin
Other research suggests that taking turmeric orally three times a day for eight weeks relieves itchy skin in patients with kidney disease. Furthermore, according to earlier studies, a certain curcumin-based product (C3 Complex) taken in combination with black pepper or long pepper on a daily basis for a period of four weeks helps reduce itching and improves overall health in people suffering from chronic itching caused by mustard gas. (3)
3. Turmeric Provides Relief from Joint Pain
Patients with acute joint and hip pain reported an improvement of 100% in their symptoms after taking turmeric supplements. The same holds true for people suffering from acute back pain and hands caused by arthritis. Regular intake of turmeric eliminated joint stiffness and restored mobility in those people. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin-based alcohol extracts were found to be as effective as cortisone in treating acute inflammation. While taken orally, turmeric can ward off arthritis pain throughout the body, applied topically can only stop pain in specific joints.
For therapeutic use, mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder with 1 tablespoon (or more) of 70% DMSO solution (to prepare 70% DMSO, dissolve 99.9 DMSO into distilled water equal to 30% of the amount of DMSO). Rub the paste thus obtained over the sore, swollen joint and let it dry. Alternatively, apply the paste and wrap the joint into plastic wrap and cover it with a heating pad for 20-30 minutes. If the paste is too strong and irritating, add water to dilute it.
4. Turmeric May Be An Alternative to Painkiller Medications
In one study, patients who had undergone a hip replacement surgery reported a significant alleviation of their symptomatic pain and stiffness post procedure after taking turmeric.
5. Turmeric May Be Used in the Treatment of Wounds
Apart from being a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent, turmeric also has the ability to stop bleeding, which makes it extremely effective in wound care. Once the initial bleeding stops, the next step is healing. To speed up the process, you can consider combining turmeric with pineapple and papaya, which are potent infection fighters. (5, 6)
6. Turmeric May Alleviate Muscle Pain
According to preliminary cell studies, curcumin and similar compounds called curcuminoids found in turmeric trigger inflammatory response by inhibiting the expression of the “pain” enzyme, COX – 2. Yet, curcumin is also very difficult to absorb, which urged scientists to do more research. (7)
Luckily, they discovered that if they combine curcumin with soy-derived phosphatidylcholine which is easily absorbed by the body, more curcumin could penetrate deeper into the body, reaching painful joints and/or muscles. Phosphatidylcholine has a shuttle-like action, carrying the curcumin and pushing it through cell membranes into the bloodstream and tissues where it provides pain relief.
7. Turmeric May Help Treat Severe Burns
In general, burn victims are treated with opioids and chemical, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Because of the anti-inflammatory attributes of curcumin, the US Army Institute of Surgical Research recommends it for treating burns instead of conventional, chemically-based therapies.
Varied therapeutic use of turmeric and of other curcumin-rich plants holds promise to steadily replace conventional medical treatments and prove the herb’s natural and non-toxic painkiller capabilities.
8. Turmeric May Be An Alternative to Corticosteroids
It’s a fact that this humble herb has proven to be a powerful antidote for a number of conditions, which are normally treated with corticosteroids, such as psoriasis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and chronic pain.
A 1999 groundbreaking clinical study found that turmeric, due to its high curcumin content, can cure chronic inflammation in the eyes. Conventionally, this condition was only treated with steroids, nowadays it is quite common that healthcare practitioners prescribe curcumin for it instead. The added advantage of curcumin in reversing chronic diseases and pain management, compared with steroids is that it has no side effects.
Considering all the side effects that typically come conventional treatments, the superiority of curcumin therapy to steroids or other pharmaceutical products shines in that it is less stressful on the body. If you have been diagnosed with any of these ailments, you may want to consider this natural cure first. If you aren’t ill, taking turmeric on a regular basis may serve as prophylaxis.
Knowing the numerous benefits of curcumin in treating a significant number of debilitating conditions and its ability to reduce pain, turmeric is definitely an alternative to consider either as a therapeutic solution or preventive treatment if you are at risk of developing any of these.