Over-the-counter medications don’t always offer the pain relief they promise. But there are some near-guarantees: If you take them too often to help cope with pain, you’re likely to experience stomach aches and have a higher risk for heart disease and kidney damage.
They also don’t taste good.
Turmeric, on the other hand, tastes excellent and has the potential to be a big-time pain reliever. If you’ve never eaten turmeric before, it’s an essential ingredient in curries. It’s got a mildly earthy and bitter flavor with notes of orange or ginger.
For those of you worried about hot spice, don’t worry about turmeric.
A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that it worked better than a placebo at relieving knee discomfort, building on older research that found it can outperform traditional remedies. It’s also much better for you.
Participants in the small Australian study reported modest relief when using turmeric to reduce discomfort for 12 weeks. The work was conducted by researchers from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania.
The research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, used turmeric extract but you may get similar benefits from including the spice in your diet. Although safe in moderate doses, very high doses of turmeric could lead to digestive issues. As mentioned, turmeric is essential in curries, but it can also be added to rice, chicken, beef, or several other dishes for color and flavor.
It’s also a popular ingredient in smoothies and a key ingredient in golden milk, a turmeric-based drink named for the color of the spice.
Aside from its potential pain-relieving qualities, turmeric is also noted for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
If you struggle with pain relief and are looking for an alternative, adding some turmeric to your day may help lessen your struggle. It’s cheap, safe, and may have multiple health benefits.
Mohan Garikiparithi holds a degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade. During a three-year communications program in Germany, he developed an interest in German medicine (homeopathy) and other alternative systems of medicine. This article was originally published on Bel Marra Health.