Ayurveda, the more than 5,000-year-old traditional system of health of the Indian subcontinent, has long prized the healing properties of the powdered root of the turmeric plant. Recent Western medical research indicates that a substance in turmeric called curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce joint swelling. Turmeric seems to work best when taken as a preventive measure prior to arthritis pain episodes.
Purchase turmeric. Preferably, buy the herb in powder form rather than in capsules. Many herbal capsule preparations also contain substances that may inhibit the action of the healing herb itself. If possible, purchase an organic form of turmeric.
Add turmeric to your diet. Consuming moderate amounts of turmeric on a regular basis may help prevent arthritis pain. Turmeric absorbs most readily into the body when combined with oil or with other substances such as black pepper, ginger, or pineapple. One to two teaspoons a day will allow you to experience turmeric's benefits without any negative side effects.
Apply turmeric topically. If arthritis pain strikes, make a paste of turmeric with coconut oil and apply to the affected area. Do not mix the herb with water, as curcumin is not water soluble. The paste will leave a temporary orange-yellow discoloration on the skin. You can wash this away with a gentle soap. Indian culture uses turmeric as a dye, so avoid having the paste come in contact with clothing. Some people prefer buying turmeric essential oil to making a paste of it at home.