Turmeric is a spice used as a flavoring and coloring agent in many cultures. Botanically, it originates from another spice family, the ginger family, that has many of the same health benefits. It is derived from the rhizome part of the herbal plant and has a unique yellow color.
Turmeric has impressive health benefits. It can be used to reduce inflammation, and may even relieve arthritis joint pain. Joint pain happens due to a variety of reasons, but for most people, joint inflammation is from swelling of the tissue in the joint due to over-exertion and physical stress. Turmeric is a useful natural remedy to help alleviate this type of joint pain. It is also effective as a natural remedy for rheumatoid arthritis pain.
Damaged cartilage at the point where two bones meet causes joint pain and inflammation. This causes the diseases osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Taking turmeric can reduce inflammation in the joint and surrounding tissues. While it will not rebuild damaged cartilage, it can alleviate the related pain caused by local inflammation.
Much of this inflammation is caused by an enzyme called the COX (cyclooxygenase) enzyme. Turmeric works by inhibiting the action of these enzymes. COX enzymes known as COX1 and COX2 along with another enzyme called LIPOX (lipoxygenase) are responsible for causing local inflammation; However, their actions are inhibited by turmeric. Prescription drugs designed to block these enzymes have some fairly nasty side effects, all of which are completely absent in turmeric. While turmeric may not be as effective as the more potent COX-2 inhibitor drugs, for many the lack of turmeric side effects makes it the more attractive long-term solution.
Turmeric contains curcuminoid which is the actual ingredient that has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, the yellow hue of the rhizome is due to the curcuminoid present in the plant. These curcuminoids have beneficial properties such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and even anti-carcinogenic properties.
Turmeric obviously has many beneficial uses, most notably for helping to alleviate joint pain and inflammation. Generally, it is important to know that turmeric is an ingredient in several of the finest natural joint supplements on the market.