and Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
More than 2 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA),
a condition in which the body's immune system attacks the joints,
causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function.
turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine (a whole
medical system that originated in India) as a treatment for
inflammatory disorders, including RA.
Janet Funk, M.D., and colleagues
at the NCCAM-funded Center for Phytomedicine Research at the University
of Arizona created symptoms in rats that mimic those of RA in humans.
In a series of experiments, they treated the rats with different
preparations and dosages of turmeric extracts. Some received treatment
before developing the RA-like symptoms, others afterward. The results
(mainly measured in terms of joint swelling) suggested to the authors
that an extract processed to contain only curcuminoids (a family of
chemicals that is the major component of turmeric; curcumin is one
curcuminoid) may be more effective for preventing RA symptoms than a
more complex extract containing curcuminoids plus other turmeric
compounds (this is similar to commercially available supplements). They
also noted that the curcuminoids-only formulas appeared safer and more
effective at lower doses. Also, the researchers found that the
compounds had greater effectiveness when the rats were treated before
instead of after the onset of inflammation.
The authors identified a
need for well-designed preclinical and clinical studies to look further
into turmeric for anti-inflammatory use. Journal
of Natural Products, March 2006
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