One of turmeric’s main claims to fame is that it’s commonly used to fight inflammation. In fact it’s medicinal properties have been recognised for many years in South Asia. According to numerous research studies, in the right dose, Turmeric may be a more effective anti-inflammatory treatment than common inflammation-fighting medications such as Advil (ibuprofen) and aspirin.

How does it work for Joint pain and arthritis?
The main active ingredient found in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is an inflammation blocker and has the ability to help reduce pain and swelling for people who suffer from joint pain and arthritis.

Why can’t I just take turmeric powder and why are tablets more expensive? Turmeric powder on it’s own only contains 3-5% of curcumin meaning you would need to consume a lot of powder to feel the benefits! Extracting Curcumin and putting it in a tablet allows for a much higher dose of curcumin. Some tablets can contain up to 95% curcumin!

Why do some companies add black pepper and ginger?
Curcumin on it’s own isn’t easily absorbed in the blood. Adding black pepper allows better absorption and better results! Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties aiding the reduction of pain in joints. There have been many research studies to prove the benefits of Curcumin. One study in particular enrolled 139 people with symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Each person had symptoms that required treatment with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). For one month they were given the NSAID diclofenac (50 mg, twice daily) or curcumin (500 mg, three times daily).

Here’s what this study found: Both treatments relieved arthritis symptoms and helped to a degree: 94% of those taking curcumin and 97% of those taking diclofenac reported at least 50% improvement. The main thing people reported was far fewer side effects with curcumin. 28% of those taking diclofenac needed treatment for stomach trouble whilst of the patients who were treated with Curcumin there wasn’t a single person who reported an issue.

Additionally, those taking curcumin lost, on average 2% of their body weight in just four weeks — that’s 1.6kg for a 79kg person. As a whole, there is the belief that curcumin in turmeric has many benefits taken as part of a daily diet. In time larger studies could prove all these benefits to be true and we could see Curcumin utilised as a mainstream supplement in the coming years. 


H. Shmerling, R., 2019. Curcumin for arthritis: Does it really work? - Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2021].


All content within this column is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.