Is Turmeric Better Than OTC Pain Medicine?

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Turmeric is an Indian spice with a bright orange color. It’s often used in ayurvedic medicine for a variety of different ailments but more recently it’s been under study for its potential anti-inflammatory benefits.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol can be effective for certain types of pain but the use of these pills is not without side-effects. Patients who use pain pills for certain lengths of time may end up with gastric problems including ulcers and other stomach-related conditions. The reason for this is that these pills inhibit a very important enzyme in your body: COX-2. This enzyme is partly responsible for inflammation which is why pain pills like aspirin can be effective. However, it’s also plays a role in protecting the lining of your stomach. Because of this, frequent pain pill use can lead to undesirable side-effects.

NSAID medications are often prescribed for joint related pain. Unfortunately these drugs decrease glycosaminoglycan synthesis—necessary for restoring and growing cartilage. Turmeric does not have this unwanted effect.

Should You Use Turmeric?

Turmeric and curcumin, one of the primary beneficial chemicals in the herb, have shown tremendous benefits in the treatment of various conditions. A variety of studies suggest that curcumin can also inhibit COX-2 enzyme but on a different biological level, making it potentially safer and just as effective.

In fact, recent studies have found that turmeric is just as effective as 14 different pharmaceutical drugs, including aspirin and other anti-inflammatories. If you’re looking for an alternative chronic pain treatment, turmeric could be a potential option.

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