Painful, worn out knees? Turmeric works just as well as ibuprofen
A supplement containing a turmeric extract provides just as much relief to people with worn out knee joints as the painkiller ibuprofen does, researchers at the University of Mahidol in Thailand discovered. Both substances reduce pain and stiffness and improve functioning of the knee. One of the differences is that turmeric has fewer side effects.
The researchers did experiments on a total of 331 people over the age of 50, all of whom had osteoarthritis in their knees. About half of the participants took 1200 mg ibuprofen everyday for four weeks; the other half took 1500 mg turmeric extract. The participants took the substances at their three main meals.
The researchers made the turmeric extracts themselves.
During the experiment the researchers used a questionnaire several times to calculate the participants' Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. The higher the index, the worse the state of your joints.
The participants who took turmeric extract reported just as much reduction of pain and stiffness in their knee joints as the participants in the ibuprofen group.
The functioning of the knee joint improved equally in both groups, as the figure above shows.
Both turmeric and ibuprofen had side effects, but those caused by the turmeric were less pronounced. Turmeric caused stomach ache or a bloated stomach significantly less often.
"Curcuma domestica [that's the scientific name for turmeric] extracts are as effective as ibuprofen for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis," the researchers concluded. "The side effect profile was similar but with fewer gastrointestinal adverse events reports in the Curcuma domestica extracts group."
Clinical Interventions in Aging 2014:9;451-8.
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