As per research, turmeric is one of the most potent herbs for treating arthritis naturally. Turmeric as a herb and its active ingredient curcumin are proven, natural anti-arthritic agents.
They help reduce pain and inflammation and also halt disease progression.
Arthritis treatment involves prescription of various drugs to help manage pain and prevent the disease from progressing. So a common concern presented by the readers is the possible herb-drug interaction with turmeric and arthritis medications.
But is it safe to take turmeric alongside arthritis medication? Let’s find out.
Is it safe to take turmeric/curcumin with arthritis medication?
The answer is -Yes, it is safe to take turmeric (curcumin) in the regular diet with arthritis medications. If taking large doses of Golden Paste or turmeric supplements for arthritis, maintain a 3-4 hour gap between taking turmeric and arthritis medications.
Turmeric and black pepper interfere in the activity of drug metabolizing enzymes, and hence it is advised to maintain the gap. Curcumin in turmeric may increase the therapeutic action of arthritis medications and protect from their side effects as well.
Let’s examine the scientific details behind the safety of taking turmeric and curcumin with arthritis medications.
1.Curcumin may change drug absorption
Piperine, bioactive of black pepper, is used to enhance the bioavailability of turmeric (Read How to improve turmeric’s bioavailability). Piperine is a strong bioenhancer and increases the absorption of various drugs. This increased absorption delivers a therapeutic effect, but on a long-term, it may cause side effects.
Hence it is advised to maintain a 3-4 hour gap between taking arthritis medications and curcumin supplements or large doses of Golden Paste. (Read Does Black Pepper in Golden Paste interact with Drugs?)
2.Turmeric and curcumin may decrease the side effects of arthritis drugs
Various studies show that curcumin may have a synergistic action with few of the commonly prescribed anti-arthritis medications such as methotrexate, indomethacin, diclofenac sodium. It can also protect from the side effects of these medications.
A study published in Phytotherapy Research, 2012 examined the effect of curcumin in comparison to standard treatment for active rheumatoid arthritis. Patients were given 500mg curcumin or 50mg diclofenac sodium or their combination.
The curcumin groups, especially the combination group, showed significant improvement in comparison to the diclofenac only group. Also, curcumin was found to be safe and did not cause side effects.
Research suggests that it is safe to take turmeric when taking arthritis medications.
How to take turmeric for arthritis?
Including turmeric in the diet is the best way to take the herb. Please check our list of recommended organic turmeric brands. The Golden paste is an effective way to take turmeric as it contains healthy fats and black pepper to enhance absorption. You can Golden Paste from fresh turmeric roots as well.
Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks.
It is best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds.
To understand the science-backed benefits of turmeric for arthritis, please read 15 Benefits of Turmeric for Arthritis.
If opting for supplements, please consult a health practitioner prior. Read 8 Popular Turmeric Supplements Available In Market Today
A few precautions to be noted when taking turmeric:
- Opt for organic turmeric powder.
- Avoid taking turmeric supplements if experiencing bleeding disorders or taking antiplatelet medications. (Read Curcumin: Side effects & Precautions)
- Discontinue turmeric supplements two weeks before surgery.
- Limit or avoid turmeric powder if you have kidney stones or gout. Opt for supplements if needed. (Read Side Effects of Turmeric)
- Limit turmeric intake in case of gallbladder stones.
- Avoid taking turmeric on an empty stomach. (Read Precautions with Turmeric Use)
- Start with small doses of turmeric and increase gradually to minimise gastric side effects.
- Avoid turmeric supplements in pregnancy and lactation.
Turmeric can be safely consumed as a part of regular diet when taking arthritis medications. You can also take turmeric therapeutically or as supplements when on conventional arthritis treatment; maintain a 3-4 hour gap.
If you have found a dose of turmeric that benefits in arthritis or would like to share your feedback on turmeric’s efficacy in arthritis, please leave your comments below.