Evidence based medical wellness for active people from a doc who walks the walk

Oral Turmeric for knee pain–safe? helpful?


I have been taking a capsule of raw turmeric (smells icky!) every couple of days or so to see if it helps with my knee pain.  My operated knee is always stiff, and it didn’t help to mess up the MCL recently.  Since I am taking  the turmeric, it seemed reasonable to see if the stuff actually works!

I hunted around the internet, and there is a good article (click here to read) looking at various treatments of osteoarthritis.  The article reviewed 11 studies on turmeric, and all but one showed decreased pain and improved function with oral turmeric use.  One study compared turmeric taken at a one 500 mg tablet 4 times per day with ibuprofen (two 200 mg pills taken two times per day.) Patient that took the turmeric had decreased pain, especially with stair walking or climbing than those in the ibuprofen group.

Turmeric appears to be safe taken in oral form.  (I did read a case where a patient received an IV injection and died, so I would not be doing this!) According to WebMD, oral turmeric is “likely safe.” Side effects of the oral form are minimal, but can include diarrhea, nausea and stomach upset.  However, turmeric may prolong bleeding, and so should not be used with medications like aspirin, or warfarin.

SO, yeah, I take it. It’s safe, it likely doesn’t hurt anything, and I’m hoping it will help with my dang knee stiffness! I haven’t been diligent about taking it frequently enough, so that could impact my results.  I feel like it makes me sleepy, but I didn’t notice that listed as a side effect, so it’s probably just me.

Any one out there with experience with turmeric?

My strong smelling turmeric capsules.

Back of bottle, listing mgs.




Author: PookieMD

I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I love medicine and seek to bring evidence based medicine to the fitness and wellness world.

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