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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a traditional Indian herb, also sometimes known as Indian saffron or “yellow ginger”. It has been used for centuries in Indian and Chinese medicine for digestive health and to treat menstrual pain and urinary tract problems. Clinical research has focused around the herb’s effect on joint and brain health. Turmeric isn’t only used for its medicinal purposes - it is used in many foods as a coloring and spice, in fact, it gives curry powder its yellow color and some of its flavor.
Recent studies have focused on turmeric and its active constituent, curcuminoids, as a powerful ingredient for joint health. 40 patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis were recruited to participate in a 2013 double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The study found that curcuminoids improved pain symptoms and physical function but did not improve stiffness.
A larger study on 107 patients with knee osteoarthritis was performed in 2009. Patients were split into two groups and given 800mg of ibuprofen or 2g of turmeric curcumin per day. Over 6 weeks, improvements were found in both groups in pain on level walking, pain on stairs, and functions of the knee.
- Curcuminoid treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial.Phytotherapy Research,2014
- Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis.Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,2009
56 patients with major depressive disorder were recruited for an 8-week study on the effect of turmeric curcumin. Patients were given 1,000mg of turmeric curcumin per day or a placebo. During weeks 4 through 8, curcumin was significantly more effective than placebo in improving several mood-related symptoms, but did not improve anxiety to a significant degree.
- Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studyJournal of affective disorders,2014