Improve Arthritis With Turmeric

Why rely on dangerous prescriptions when the solution to your pain problems is sitting on your spice rack?

September 24, 2014
Thomas MacDoland

There are so many reasons to love turmeric. This traditional Indian-cuisine spice has been shown to do improve bronchitis, curb cancer risk, and lower blood sugar. Here's another reason to make sure that your spice rack is stocked with this yellow miracle worker: It does wonders for arthritis, according to a study published in Inflammopharmacology

More: Skip the Ibuprofen: Use These Natural Pain-Relief Tactics Instead


People suffering from knee osteoarthritis were given one of four treatments: turmeric, a dietary supplement glucosamine, both, or a placebo. They measured pain severity, stiffness, functional limitations, and the patients' doctor's assessment of change in condition.

While all four groups saw improvement in these categories, the turmeric group came out ahead. Turmeric improved pain severity, stiffness, and functional limitations better than the turmeric plus glucosamine treatment, and it resulted in better doctor assessments than just glucosamine alone. 

More: 6 Problems You Can Cure With Medicinal Herbs

Plus, compared to the other treatments, taking turmeric resulted in fewer complaints of joint pain (only 4 people out of 30 complained); also, fewer people in the turmeric group needed to take acetaminophen during the trial.

For an easy way to sneak more turmeric into your diet, try this recipe for sweet-hot carrot chips from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook.

Sweet-Hot Carrot Chips

Makes 2½ cups

3 carrots
½ cup white or cider vinegar
½ cup water
5 Tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 dried hot chile pepper, 1 to 2 inches long

1. Cut the carrots on the diagonal into ¼-inch-thick slices. In a steamer, cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain and place in an ovenproof glass or earthenware container.

2. In a small non-aluminum saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey, garlic, turmeric, and chile pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Pour the hot mixture through a sieve over the carrots to cover them completely. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator.