Curcumin for arthritis: Can turmeric help with arthritis?

25 January 2021

Arthritis is by no means a straight-forward condition. The term arthritis refers to joint pain or joint disease and there are more than 100 types of this and related conditions. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that causes severe joint pain and inflammation.

Affecting more than 10 million people of all ages in the UK, there is no cure for arthritis, but treatment options focus on easing symptoms and slowing down the progress of the condition.

Curcumin is linked to reducing pain and known for its anti-inflammatory properties. If you have arthritis or know someone who does, here we explore the benefits of curcumin for arthritis.

What is arthritis?

There are several forms of the condition, with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) being the two most common types.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Affecting nearly nine million people, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. It wears away the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more challenging and leading to pain, swelling and stiffness. The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are:

  • Hands
  • Spine
  • Knees
  • Hips 
This form of the disease is referred to as degenerative arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Affecting more than 400,000 people, rheumatoid arthritis involves the immune system targeting affected joints, causing pain, inflammation and swelling. Initially attacking the outer joint covering (synovium), rheumatoid arthritis can spread across the joint and cause further inflammation and alter the shape of the joint. Sufferers of this type of arthritis can also develop other conditions together with tissue and organ problems.

This form of the disease is referred to as inflammatory arthritis.


While arthritis symptoms differ depending on the type, they can include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • Inflammation in and around the joints
  • Restricted joint movement
  • Warm red skin over the affected joint
  • Joint weakness and muscle wasting
Elderly man with neck pain

Turmeric and arthritis: The medical evidence

There is no cure for arthritis; the available treatments are designed to slow the progress of the disease. Alongside surgery, osteoarthritis treatment involves medication and lifestyle changes. With this in mind, it is no surprise that arthritis sufferers are keen to find effective means of relief.

This is where curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, comes into play. Turmeric for joints can potentially help osteoarthritis sufferers.

There is significant evidence to suggest that turmeric’s anti-arthritic effects can relieve arthritis pain.
A study conducted by BMC in 2019
explored the use of curcumin, the natural substance found in turmeric, for the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Advocated for its anti-inflammatory properties, the 139 participants took either curcumin three times a day or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called diclofenac twice daily. The results revealed:
  • Both treatments relieved arthritis symptoms, with 94 per cent of those taking curcumin to report at least 50 per cent improvement.
  • Participants reported fewer side effects when taking curcumin.
  • No participants taking curcumin required treatment for stomach-related trouble, compared to 28 per cent of those taking diclofenac.
  • Curcumin participants lost an average of two per cent of their body weight in four weeks.
Bowl and spoon of curcumin

Turmeric and inflammation

The results of the above study demonstrate the effective anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of curcumin. If you are considering taking turmeric for pain relief, several other studies demonstrate a link between curcumin and reduced inflammation.

The results of an industry-sponsored systematic review of randomised controlled trials in 2016 conducted by Chin cited by The Arthritis Foundation
found that 1,000mg of curcumin per day reduced osteoarthritis pain and inflammation as well as diclofenac and ibuprofen.

A further study conducted by Shep et al showed that curcumin could also prevent the breakdown of bone in sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis.

The evidence suggests links between curcumin and reduced pain, inflammation and stiffness related to both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Discover more about curcumin health benefits here.

Always talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement to your regime. 

Find out more today  

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to speak to one of our friendly expert team and discover how our Yellow Root Curcumin could alleviate your arthritis symptoms today.