Turmeric as a Pain Relief Tool
Turmeric is a commonly used spice in Southeast Asian cuisine, especially in Indian and Thai food. Curcumin, an active compound in turmeric, is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity that can promote healing. Like ginger, studies have found that turmeric may have pain-reducing power equal in some cases to that of prescription and over-the-counter medications. In clinical studies, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory action appears to help improve rheumatoid arthritis, post-operative inflammation, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and stomach ulcers.
One animal study that looked at rheumatoid arthritis found that even though both turmeric and ginger reduced the incidence and severity of flare-ups, turmeric had significantly more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power than ginger.
Working turmeric into your diet
Turmeric is available as a fresh root in specialty markets and as a dried, powdered spice in most regular grocery stores. It can be found in most curry powder mixtures. On its own, powdered turmeric powder has a dusty, bitter flavor that is generally unfamiliar to the western palate; fresh turmeric root is milder in flavor. Below are a few ways to incorporate turmeric into daily meals.
- To make a turmeric drink, mix ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and dilute with ½ to 1 cup warm water.
- Sweeten with a little honey or sugar, as desired. You might also consider adding a pinch or two of turmeric powder to rice, coleslaw, or scrambled eggs or omelets before cooking.
- dd a teaspoon or more of fresh turmeric (finely chopped or grated) to fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices, curry dishes, egg dishes, pureed vegetable soups (cauliflower, carrot, potato, split pea) and marinades for poultry.
- Turmeric also combines well with other seasonings, such as ginger, cinnamon, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and vinegar. Experiment by adding combinations of these seasonings to plain chicken or vegetable broth for a warming soup, or combine turmeric and ginger with hot water, milk, and honey for a comforting tea.
Supplements as an Option
If you wish to take ginger or turmeric supplement capsules, speak with your primary healthcare provider or health specialist first to find out if they are appropriate for your condition. Also, ask your provider about the type and dose that might be most effective for you. It’s important not to take too high a dose of either ginger or turmeric, as too much may cause indigestion or other side effects.