Turmeric as an anti-inflammatory

Has anyone here had any experience of using turmeric as an anti-inflammatory? I have osteo-arthritis as well as PMR (though I hope I'm almost finished with that) and have some tendonitis as a result of pred treatment. I'm not allowed to take Ibuprofen or Diclofenac and have been considering using turmeric tablets to ease joint pain. However, does this also increase stomach acid?

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  • From my understanding tumeric is an anti-inflammatory. I was using it, before I was diagnosed with GCA, with little problems. However, after the diagnosis and then using medrol, I can only use a little tumeric. Otherwise, I do get the stomach burning, acidic problems. I have nexium, which I can use with medrol, but if I don't have to, I don't use it, due to blockage of some nutrients, I believe. From what I understand from the herbalists, tumeric is a very good anti inflammatory. believe it's the combination with some of the other treatments for these inflammations which may cause problems. all my best, Whittlesey

  • yes I use the following vitamins that have helped me get off pred.:

    Serrapeptase 800-455-9155 and black cumin 866-280-2852

  • Hello there. At PMRGCAuk we have a policy of endorsing treatments and therapies where there is strong validated research evidence that something is of benefit. I'm talking of 'double-blinded' research trials with control groups etc, which are very expensive to do. Unfortunately, there isn't that strong evidence available on food supplements such as turmeric, although there is anecdotal evidence that some people with PMR include it in their daily routine and believe it to be helpful. The tendonitis is a real drag after pred treatment, but hopefully you will find it eases after a few months, as your body restores itself.

  • Anno - I did include Turmeric among my anti-inflammatory foods whilst suffering from PMR/GCA, but only by adding to any suitable meals such as risottos, casseroles etc, so I don't have any experience of taking it in pill form.

    However, I know my rheumatologist is a great believer in taking a rosehip supplement for osteoarthritis - he has studied it, and some time ago it was covered in an article by The Daily Telegraph. Worth looking into perhaps?

    As Kate has said, the tendonitis is a pain we could do without, but it does slowly improve - I had some gentle massage and heat treatment by a brilliant physiotherapist to deal with that.

    So glad to hear that your PMR is on the wane - all good wishes that you'll be completely free of it soon and stay that way.

  • Thanks for all the advice. I had never heard of the rosehip supplement for OR. I will try anything, but maybe not turmeric, unless I put some in my soup! The problem with the tendonitis in my right arm is that when I travel, it takes a long time to recover. Even with a small case on wheels, it's a huge strain.

  • Prevention is perhaps more apposite - never pull your case for a start. That is VERY bad for tendons! Using a strap-on support may also help by preventing you doing the action that is irritating the tendon and causing the problem and I have had cortisone injections very successfully for resistant tendonitis - because it is to all intents and purposes tennis elbow or housemaids knee.

    Whilst turmeric is claimed to be a fairly good antiinflammatory substance, as Kate has said there is no proper evidence - it is all published in a certain type of journal which I know from some personal involvement tends to publish their positive results without proper peer review.

    A site called webmd.com which generally has good, well founded information says:

    "Other preliminary lab studies suggest that curcumin or turmeric might protect against types of skin diseases, Alzheimer's disease, colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Based on lab studies, turmeric and curcumin might also help treat upset stomach, scabies, diabetes, HIV, uveitis, and viral infections.

    But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these studies have been done in the laboratory. Researchers haven’t yet conducted significant studies on the benefits of turmeric and curcumin. So it's too early to say what health benefits turmeric might have.

    How much turmeric should you take?

    Turmeric is an unproven treatment, though it has years of traditional use and some preliminary convincing research. There is no standard dosage. Ask your health care provider for advice."

    and - a warning for most of us:

    "Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using turmeric supplements. They could interact with medicines like aspirin, NSAID painkillers, statins, diabetes drugs, blood pressure medicines, and blood thinners. They might also interact with supplements that decrease clotting, like ginkgo, ginseng, and garlic."

    How it works is far from clear - because the body does not absorb much at all so increasing the dose won't increase the effect.

    And a gentle warning - just because it appeared in a newspaper does not mean it is a reliable or even safe treatment. Most of those articles are written by the same journalist who writes the fashion page - it is kept away from real science journalists because they might tell the truth. It is quite easy to take a fact from a paper and turn it into a miracle cure to make a headline. When you read the original it often says something completely different. And any "alternative" supplement may cause trouble with your prescription drugs - being "natural" doesn't equate to being safe.

  • Hi Annodomini, I also have a problem with the inguineal tendon and until I get a hip replacement, walking can cause problems with the tendon. I am currently using flector pain patches, which I put on the top of my thigh, over the inguineal tendon. It helps me get through the day, if I have to walk. I also try backwards stretches of both legs to try and stretch the tendon. It is painful and I sympathasize with what you are going through. best, Whittlesey

  • Hi Annodomini. Turmeric is very poorly absorbed, with only around 20% passing into the bloodstream, so putting it onto food has very little anti-inflammatory effect. Unfortunately high strength capsules can irritate the stomach.

  • Wiki can tell you a lot about Tumeric and how old and how long it has been used in the Middle East.

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  • Thank you, Sambucca. I will look into your website. In the U.S. many who are on the "anti inflammatory" diet, mentioned here, many times, and who use herbal remedies, pretty effectively speak of the value of Tumeric and use it regularly to help in a general anti-inflammatory approach. And it has been used in the Middle East for centuries. It seems that both Chinese and Middle Eastern people use herbs for medicinal purposes. It would seem that we should not just "ignore" this approach because we have immediate access to pharmacological medicines, which sometimes in the long run, cause some harm.

    I have GCA, and prednisone may have saved my eyesight. I have spoken to two doctors of Chinese medicine (which is respected here, in the U.S.) and they have said that in China, when they do not have access to prednisone for a patient diagnosed with GCA, they use three treatments of ginseng a day. There are some translations problems and I usually have to have a translator present. But I have repeated the question "do they get better?" And the answer has been "yes." As we are aware, there may be no "cure" for GCA and PMR.

    I am not advising to use ginseng instead of prednisone. Because GCA, is a rare disease there is very little study on it. The continuing use of prednisone over several years will often lead to Cushing's disease and Addison's disease, which are major diseases. If, as the GCA symptoms, the inflammation, decreases, and if your doctor agrees, to get the prednisone down to "no prednisone" -- and you then use ginseng to "encourage" your adrenals to begin again to produce cortisol, (which is how Chinese doctors define what happens), this may be beneficial. Many have tried this and it seems to be effective and avoids Addison's disease. There are many with GCA, who take the Addison's as a matter of course. They may not have to.

    It seems that if you take ginseng with prednisone, it increases the amount of cortisol in your blood, it's like taking two aspirin, when one is prescribed, or two valium, when you expect the effects of one. From the readings, they claim it isn't specifically dangerous, but may expose the body to more cortisol. i.e. if the doctor prescribes 5 mgs of prednisone and you take ginseng, it may be like taking 10mgs of prednisone which is not what is wanted.

    What some people are trying is, to get the prednisone dosage down to zero and then when and if the fatigue sets in, from the adrenal suppression, instead of taking 5mgs of prednisone, try the ginseng. For a possibly better result. And of course always with a physician's involvement.

    I have talked to people at the Mayo clinic and they said this does sound sensible. They do consider GCA one of the rare diseases, they do study. I believe there are no current ongoing studies on GCA. Aside from the biologicals, which inhibit the growth of the killer t cells, there seem to be no ongoing studies of alternatives, to prednisone for GCA.

    I am now taking 10mgs of methetextrate per week by injection and am now down to 3mgs of medrol a day. Am experiencing the fatigue, but not as much as when I came down both from the 60mgs per day and the 10mgs per day. I am hoping my adrenals will begin to work as they should., again. As I am feeling better, I am noticing that there are several things that can begin the fatigue. I am just noticing this and I hope that I have adrenal function as time goes on. I am 61.

    Thank you everyone for your information. It is important.

    I do believe herbals, a good anti inflammatory diet, and a good doctor are important keys, as well as the traditional treatments, to keep these diseases in check and for us to go forward in health.

    My mother, living in Connecticut, was diagnosed with GCA when she was 70 and she took the prednisone as the doctor told her and never tried any other course of treatment. She died at 74 of a heart attack, with no history of heart disease. My brother and I both wonder what caused the fatal heart attack.

    Thank you everyone for your input. I agree Sambucca and Annodommini about your information about tumeric and the information on rosehips. These may be part of the assistance needed to get off of the prednisone and use medicinal herbal ingredients that will keep us healthy for the future years. Wishing everyone a happy New Year.

    Whittlesey in NYC U.S.

    ABLE NY Newswriter

    site: ablenews.com/wp-content/upl...

    my article about "Judge Issues Injunction for Tested Veterans"

    Part of my heritage is American Quaker, the Bownes in Flushing, New York

    The Bownes were printers in England, and came over with the Puritans

    in 1660 and settled in Flushing L.I. They harbored the Quakers and became Quakers

    helped to create our "Bill of Rights"

    site: nycgovparks.org/parks/marga...

    Amish (a later sect of Quakers) use of red ginseng study

    "One study at the Yonsei University College of Dentistry in Seoul, South Korea, tested red ginseng saponin extract (RGSE) against arthritis symptoms in mice. It found that 10 milligrams a day reduced arthritis symptoms, leading researchers to conclude that RGSE may be beneficial to help ease arthritis in humans."

    site: livestrong.com/article/5583...

  • Hi, I have never tried turmeric, but have had good results from omega3. You do have to take loads thought. I take 7 capsules a day. Anne

  • I have PMR & have really struggled to get down below 10mg pred - the rheumatologist wants me to go on Methotrixate (?sp) and I have an appointment this week to discuss this BUT I have started on turmeric (having been advised to use it on my horse!) - and I DO think it's making a difference. Blood results will tell a fuller picture, but I feel fairly convinced that it's helping. It has DEFINITELY made a difference to a rather creaky horse who is now firing on all cylinders! And, I'd rather go herbal than chemical if I can!

  • This makes sense.

    all my best, Whittlesey

  • Whittlesey

    You wrote " I believe there are no current ongoing studies on GCA".

    You are incorrect in that assumption. Research is current here in the UK and in other centres abroad, including the Mayo and Stanford. Currently there are trials in 14 designated hospitals in Europe on a new drug for GCA. There is also research going on into cause and this has increased in the past six years, as the baby boomers are coming on stream and both PMR and GCA are on the increase.

    I notice you are in the USA and Joan Reiter started the National Medical Foundation, originally located in Arizona and now states wide for GCA & PMR and has done and is doing good work both raising money for research and support groups.

    I had GCA only and it went into remission after 5 years. You can have an adrenal function test at anytime, but it is not worth it until you get to below 7.5mg and been on that low dose for sometime. I took nothing except Prednisolone, Manuka Honey and Tumeric (in stews etc).

    The pred reduction programme is still too fast. But the current thinking is never more than 10%, especially when you are on 10mg and below and once down to 5mg then 0.5mg at a time and with a long reduction pattern. The pattern has been posted on this website. However if you cannot find it, send me a pm with your email address and it will be sent to you to look at and decide if you want to try it. Methotextrate is a steroid sparing agent only and comes with its own side effects. It is brilliant for arthritis, especially late onset rheumatoid arthritis (LORA). I was offered it but weighed up the additional side effects ie Pred (82 known ones) and Metho (16) and decided not to take it as I thought my body had enough to cope with. However, it is a very personal decision and one you must make for yourself in conjunction with your medics as everyone is a unique person and has different problems and conditions.

    Good Luck in your journey.

  • Thanks, Sambucca. I will try to contact Joan Reiter and her foundation. I did a fair amount of "Key word" searches and found papers on GCA. I would be interested to speak with Joan Reiter or to get a sense of what she is involved in. Thank you.

    I would be interested in the steroid reduction pattern. My email address is Lynnandmarie@live.com (Marie is my middle name)

    Understood on the methotextrate. At this point would rather deal with it and a lower dosage of medrol. The idea of having very little adrenal function and then at some later point, have a need to use prednisone for adrenal function is not one I would want to deal with. The GCA may have spread to some other large arteries - cartoid, and two vertebral arteries at this point. I take an aspirin a day in addition to the medrol. I don't know if the "Other" large vessel involvement was there or not, when I was first diagnosed.

    I'm glad you're in remission from the GCA.

    Thank you for your information. wishing you continued remission and good health.

    all my best, Whittlesey

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