I'm currently not taking any meds due to impending (hopefully at least) pregnancy. I have steroid injections but they last at best 3 weeks and I have to wait at least 6 weeks between injections. 

I'm pretty desperate so I've turned herbal. I'm reading Margaret Hill's book about treating it drug free but I've also heard that tumeric is a very good anti inflammatory. I've bought a tub of capsules and I'm wondering if anyone has tried it and if so, have you had any success with it? I need something to work for me! TIA

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19 Replies

  • Hi Beckywood89,

    It is always best to consult your GP/specialist nurse before taking any medication, including herbal, and unfortunately you may find the works for one person, does not work for another.  

    There has been some research done by ARUK on herbal remedies which can be found below.  They tested a number for RA and found only fish oil came out with the highest effectiveness: arthritisresearchuk.org/art...

    They also tested turmeric for osteoarthritis and, although it was found to have some anti-inflammatory properties, it still only received a 2 out of 5 for effectiveness rating.  arthritisresearchuk.org/art...

    There is lots of information on our website on pregnancy and RA - nras.org.uk/rheumatoid-arth... - so please do have a look and give the NRAS Helpline team a call if you have any questions. 

    Wishing you lots of luck,


  • Hi Beckywood -  like you I had read about turmerics anti inflammatory properties. I have been using it a lot more in curries etc and I also tried some capsules, but to be honest I cannot say it has helped my inflammation or joint pain at all.    Sorry to sound negative on this as I'm sure you are pinning great hopes on it.    It's worth trying though yourself because you might find it does help you.   If you like curries like we do try adding more turmeric to your cooking, much cheaper than buying capsules and makes a lovely tasting curry full of colour.    When we were in Grece last year I was talking to a pharmacist and she told me to take lots of extra virgin olive oil, she said it had very good anti inflammatory properties.  We always use Greek olive oil anyway so I upped my usage and I do think this had helped my pain levels, and it's certainly helped my psoriasis and the hair loss I was experiencing from methotrexate.  

    Wishing you well in your quest to get pregnant xxxx

  • How do you take the black pepper? Is it all in one?

  • I had regular acupuncture when I was pregnant, and afterwards.

  • I take turmeric tablets with my rheumy's blessing.  I don't think you can expect too much from them (though you never know) as there's research that shows they may be as effective, or nearly as effective, as NSAIDs for some people.  There's nothing to suggest that they are disease modifying, I know of no complementary approach that can prevent joint damage.  

    I asked my rheumy about turmeric as, although I don't get severe pain, I do find that NSAIDs limber me up a bit, a little (only a little) like steroids.  But painkillers don't seem justified.  He agreed that for me turmeric does seem like a good bet.  And I think I have noticed less discomfort though I cannot say for sure that's down to turmeric, I'm also on Humira and Mtx.  Turmeric takes a while to kick in, a few weeks at least ..... over all, if I had to take a bet I'd say that yes, a few weeks down the line I did start feeling generally that bit better.  

  • Thanks for all the responses. I'm not expecting tumeric to be disease modifying but I guess I am hoping it'll reduce my pain and swelling a little. 

    I'm pretty desperate at the moment. I can't take any medication apart from the steroids and they don't work for very long. 

    I'm not in agony at the moment but I know that by the time I'm due my next injection, I likely will be struggling and I have to work as a nanny in the meantime!

    Thanks again for all suggestions and responses :)

  • Have oral steroids been considered Becky? That way you can titre to an effective dose & when necessary (or when natural hormones kick in) taper them. They give mums steroids if baby's going to be prem to help the lungs develop so could be worth asking?

  • I wondered if oral steroids were a thing but I've never been offered them. Maybe I can ask because the injections just don't last. I'm in a lot of pain this evening and it's only been 12 days. I'll definitely ask. Thanks :)

  • It does seem that the majority of Rheumys in the UK prefer injections as short term solutions but maybe it's worth asking. Before returning here I'd always had a short course of oral (deflazacort) never injections & my current Rheumy just signed off my meds that I'd been prescribed previously, including my steroids.

  • Morning Becky, I've been having a cursory look (5 or 6 natural alternatives websites) about taking turmeric as a supplement whilst pregnant...I know I'm jumping the gun here but everything I've found states that it could be ok to use as flavouring but not in quantities needed to take as a supplement. If you are thinking of substituting it for an NSAID please to do your research, it may affect you at the mo as well whilst trying to become pregnant. If you do decide to try it & become pregnant do discuss it with your Gynaecologist/Obs or Midwife. I would certainly think you wouldn't wish to experience the reason why it's not recommended.

  • Just be aware that just because a product is natural or  herbal , doesn't mean its safe to use, especially in pregnancy.  Please check with your doctor or pharmacist whether anything you intend to take is safe for pregnancy.  Also remember that supplement doses are way higher than what you would normally get in a normal diet, so again, can cause problems that you need to be specially aware of before and during pregnancy.

  • I hope it works for you. I take it lang my meds, but can't really say it helps. But it is healthy, so why not! Wish you all the best and hope your dream may come true!


  • I did try Turneric capsules during a 10 year drug 'holiday' and can't say they worked for me BUT who knows, they might for you, I hope so. Going without anything cost me my hands so be careful. I took oral  prednisolone during a pregnancy and all was well and it controlled my joints until after the birth. Maybe they've moved on , that was a long time ago. Interestingly my son is much hairier than his non- Pred siblings! Good luck

  • You can buy turmeric powder in small packet from super market or a Indian shop. It takes time to get used to the taste and colour. I use 1/4 tea spoon in my porridge with honey and cinnamon for breakfast. There are green leafy veg, like Methi, coriander and others, you can cook the in butter or olive oil to have it for lunch or dinner. give it a try.

  • Just wanted to say that I was on sulfalasine and had 80% relief and fell pregnant. I am now 24 weeks and went cold turkey when I found out I was pregnant hoping for remission, alas it didn't happen and the pain has been intense to say the least (add in a 4.5 hours a day, 5 day commute into that too). I've just decided to take some meds as walking became very difficult and my hobbling round the office and fatigue has been extremely bad let alone when RA eats you up at night! I am now (as of yesterday) on oral steroids low dose and plaquenil and I have done more research than is humanly possible on it. I am not saying this where I want to be but a steroid injection didn't touch the sides and already I was able to sleep last night with minimal pain, it's been months. The rheumatologist and my obstetrician have made the decision with me as my joints were becoming damaged and I would not have been unable to even pick up my baby when she's here let alone how I would have got through the birth. Not trying to advocate the use of drugs far from it in fact, I have cried over this decision many times but I am saying it is possible to fall pregnant and all my scans have been perfect and I woke up to her somersaulting this morning, best feeling in the world. I wish you so much luck xx

  • If you can have turmeric sprinkled in soups, salad dressings etc and add a pinch of black pepper as the black pepper boosts the anti inflammatory effect of the turmeric. If you can stomach it try some turmeric, a pinch of black pepper mixed in a spoon of runny honey and a dash of apple cider vinegar!

    Also staying clear of tomatoes, potatoes, sugars and wheat helps me.

    All the best


  • I've been told about the water honey and cider vinegar. I had my first last night and it wasn't pleasant! Is it worth it? 

  • Not sure as am on MTX (20mg) and just hoping it's keeping my flare rate/intensity down and would only change or reduce my meds with rheumy consultation.


  • Hi I take a lot of supplements from Tumeric to Horny Goat Weed, Chaga mushroom, charcoal tablets and detox pills and the list could go on but you must talk to a herbalist before taking anything.  I actually find that I feel awful when I don't take things like vitamin d and get my b12 shoots but we are all different.  You must talk to your doctor.

    turmeric and cherry tart tablets worK for my ra. I was taking three tablets a day of turmeric but I am trying to cut down on the amount I take cause it can be a blood thinner.  I actually find that when I stop taking my supplements this is when I feel like I need to drug myself up to the nines. At the mo I am only taking a small amount of meds and over the last few days when I have had to do without I def feel the difference but we all react to things differently.

    Also you may want to check out someone called Kimberly Synder she has just had  child and has documented how she stayed fit and healthy throughout her pregnancy.

    have you thought about having some Chinese acupuncture and seeing a functional health dr that can help you with your pain etc.

    talk to your dr and herbalist before doing anything.

    Sorry to hear you are in so much.  Good luck with everything.