In a new study, researchers found an extract of Curcuma longa (CL), commonly known as turmeric, could effectively reduce knee pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
However, it did not affect the structural aspects of knee osteoarthritis, such as swelling or cartilage composition.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Tasmania, Australia.
Despite its large disease burden, no approved disease-modifying drugs currently are available to treat osteoarthritis.
Common treatments, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have only mild to moderate effects and are linked to adverse events.
As such, an urgent need exists for safer and more effective drugs to treat osteoarthritis.
In the study, the team assigned 70 people with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and swelling inside the knee joint to receive either two capsules per day of turmeric or matched placebo for 12 weeks.
After 12 weeks, they found that patients taking the turmeric supplements reported less pain than those in the placebo group with no adverse events.
Besides, participants in the turmeric group consumed fewer pain medications compared to the participants in the placebo group.
There was no difference in the structural aspects of knee osteoarthritis between the groups.
Due to the modest effect of the turmeric extracts on knee pain and the small sample size of the study, the researchers suggest that more research with larger sample sizes and a long duration of follow-up are needed to assess the clinical effects of their findings.
One author of the study is Zhiqiang Wang.
The study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
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