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04/18/2012 07:34 AM

Curcumin and arthritis pain

Posts: 3914
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Curcumin Shows Promise Easing Arthritis Pain

Chicago Daily Herald


For centuries, spices have been used as medicines. Today their healing potential is again being rediscovered, especially curcumin. In one recent medical study, curcumin was found to be better than conventional medications at relieving the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Curcumin is derived from the spice turmeric. Turmeric is a member of the ginger plant family. The ginger family is comprised of more than 1,300 members and many are considered medicinal plants including ginger, turmeric, melegueta pepper and cardamom. Although many studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, good medical studies comparing the effectiveness of curcumin to current medications are limited.

Medical research with curcumin or its parent, turmeric, is increasing. These studies suggest that curcumin and turmeric may have benefits for a number of medical conditions including many cancers, skin conditions like psoriasis, Alzheimer's disease, irritable bowel disease, autoimmune diseases and chronic pain.

One specific autoimmune disease often associated with chronic pain is rheumatoid arthritis. An autoimmune disease is a medical condition in which the body attacks itself. RA is most commonly expressed as pain and damage to the joints, especially in the hands. Severe RA can be life threatening and can damage many organs, including the heart and liver. Fortunately RA is relatively rare, affecting only about 1 percent of the population. For unknown reasons, women are affected three times more often than men.

Anti-inflammatory medications are used to help with the pain, but long-term use can damage the kidneys and increase the risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding. Safer pain-relieving products are needed for long-term use. Curcumin may be an option.

In the medical journal Phytotherapy Research, two researchers, one from the Nirmala Medical Centre in India and the other from Baylor Research Institute and the Sammons Cancer Center in Texas, published their work on curcumin. They showed that curcumin is more effective than the common anti-inflammatory medication diclofenac for the pain associated with mild, active RA.

In the study, RA patients taking curcumin for eight weeks had a 44 percent reduction in pain symptoms, while those taking diclofenac had a 42 percent reduction. It may not seem like there is a big difference between curcumin and diclofenac, but the difference was significant.

Interestingly, the curcumin group also had a greater reduction in overall inflammation (RA may have slightly improved) compared to the diclofenac group. There also were no adverse events with curcumin.

This was an initial study, but was well controlled and randomized. It is a good study and the results cannot be dismissed. Larger clinical trials are needed to confirm these results.

One drawback to curcumin is that, by itself, it is poorly absorbed. Black pepper can help increase absorption. Over-the- counter curcumin may or may not contain black pepper.

Although curcumin appears to be very safe, interactions with medications are always possible. RA is a serious disease and I strongly recommend consulting a medical doctor before using curcumin to treat RA symptoms.

* Patrick B. Massey, M.D., Ph.D is medical director for complementary and alternative medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network. His website is

(C) 2012 Chicago Daily Herald. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company All Rights Reserved


04/18/2012 08:36 AM
Posts: 4072
Group Leader

Good one Karen, They don't mention how much you have to take. My bottle said 3 capsules a few times a day. These are hard capsules to take, powdery, no coating, large. One bottle is a few days worth, not weeks. Maybe they will develop a smaller version, like fish oil.

My Dr is all for it, this turmeric and fish oil.

I can't wait till Friday to see RA Dr.

04/18/2012 09:35 AM
heager1Posts: 298

I also heard about Zyflamend from New Chapter. It was in a prevention magazine and I also heard a Dr. on t.v. talk about it before. Has anybody tried it?

Post edited by: heager1, at: 04/18/2012 02:27 PM

04/18/2012 12:30 PM
Posts: 3914
Group Leader

Here's some Zyflamend info:

Zyflamend is an herbal supplement containing ten different herbs as follows:

Ocimum sanctum (Holy basil) leaf; Curcuma longa (Turmeric) rhizome; Zingiber officinale (Ginger) rhizome; Camellia sinensis (Green tea) leaf; Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf and essential oil; Polygonum cuspidatum (Hu Zhang) root; Coptis chinensis (Chinese goldthread) root; Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) root; Origanum heracleoticum (Oregano) leaf; and Scutellaria baicalensis (Scullcap) root.

Zyflamend is used primarily as an anti-inflammatory agent. The reported method of action is inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 activity. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Zyflamend is used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Other uses are for anti-ageing purposes and potential prevention/treatment of cancer.

Because Zyflamend is an herbal remedy, it has not been thoroughly tested and approved by the FDA. The FDA has issued a warning statement concerning exaggerated claims about this product stressing that Zyflamend has not been well researched.

Common Uses:

This medication is used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, anti-arthritic agent and also for the treatment of rosacea.

Off Label Uses:

Cancer treatment

Side Effects:

No known side effects from medical literature but there have been some reports of diarrhea.

Cautions / Warnings:

Pregnant or nursing mothers should consult their physician before taking Zyflamend. It is an herbal remedy and has not been tested or approved by the FDA.

Drug Interactions:

Zyflamend should not be taken if there is hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients.

Zyflamend may potentially interact with pharmaceutical medications.

04/21/2012 06:49 AM
Posts: 28
New Member

Could this be taken in addition to my current meds MTX and pred?

04/21/2012 05:05 PM
Posts: 3914
Group Leader

Always check with your doctor(s) before you begin any medication or supplement.

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