A long-time member of the alternative health landscape is turmeric. Within this Indian spice is the herbal cure curcumin. A new study has shown that this common spice may offer hope for people who suffer tendonitis.
Researchers have found that curcumin (which turns turmeric bright yellow) could suppress the inflammation in the body that results in joint pain in the tendons. This is not the first time that curcumin has been linked to arthritis treatments, as its anti-inflammatory nature makes it a popular natural supplement for joint pain.
Tendons are fibrous connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. But they are prone to injury, particularly if you overuse a joint. Tendonitis causes pain and tenderness near to joints, and is common in shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, heels or wrists. When it hits the elbow, it is popularly known as “tennis elbow.”
The only treatment is to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Traditional painkillers are linked to side effects such as stomach ulcers, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache, diarrhea, constipation, drowsiness, and fatigue, so more and more people are turning to alternative medicine.
Curcumin has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent and remedy for symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders. More recently, studies have linked curcumin to potential uses in arthritis treatment. In the new study, researchers studied curcumin in the lab, to see what effects it had on inflamed tendon cells. The target was “interleukin,” a type of protein that can activate a series of inflammatory genes by triggering the protein complex “NF-κB.”
Results show that curcumin stopped the activation of NF-κB and prevented it from promoting further inflammation.
A few other natural therapies have shown some initial success in a clinical setting. Acupuncture — that ancient Chinese therapy — tops the list in showing considerable promise. Other ones that deserve mention include “deep transverse friction massage,” a type of massage known as “oscillating-energy manual therapy,” the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin (known for their use in osteoarthritis), and the painkilling herb white willow (which served as the natural inspiration for aspirin).