Turmeric is a bright yellow herb that has a long history of use in cooking, dyes and Ayurvedic medicine. Anecdotal evidence points to its effectiveness in treating numerous diseases and conditions, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. More recently, turmeric has drawn attention from Western health practitioners for the treatment of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.
However, this herb's effectiveness is not yet proven, according to a review in the March-April 2010 issue of "Alternative Therapies." A January 2008 report in "American Family Physician" summarized that turmeric is not recommended for the treatment of osteoarthritis due to insufficient evidence regarding safety and effectiveness. However, a small but more recent study investigated the use of a curcumin-containing supplement, the active ingredient in turmeric, in study participants with osteoarthritis. In this study, published in the December 2010 issue of "Alternative Medicine Reviews," pain control benefits were noted with a curcumin dose of about 200 mcg daily. If you want to try the use of this herb to help manage pain, have a discussion with your doctor first to ensure it's safe and appropriate for you.
Use turmeric in cooking. Turmeric powder is the most common form, but fresh turmeric root may also be available. This herb may be added to smoothies, curried foods, pasta, legumes or rice. Fresh turmeric root can be grated and added to your stir-fry, eggs, salad and smoothies.
Drink turmeric tea. A simple recipe is to mix 1 teaspoon turmeric with 1 quart, or 4 cups of water. Mixing turmeric with hot almond or soy milk is another great way to add this anti-inflammatory herb to your diet.
Consider turmeric supplements. Although there is no official consensus on the dose required to achieve health benefits, typical label-recommended doses are considered safe for most people. Taking supplements with meals is believed to enhance the absorption of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory component in turmeric.