For relief, you may be tempted to reach for over-the-counter painkillers, but these medications have many unwanted side effects. Instead, I recommend that you consider the natural pain-relieving properties of turmeric.
This yellow-orange spice is well-known for its use in Indian cooking, but its active ingredient—curcumin—also has anti-inflammatory qualities that can help relieve pain. When ingested, it can help relieve pain throughout the body; when applied topically, it can provide relief specifically to problems areas such as knees and elbows.
Here are three ways you can use turmeric topically to treat painful joints:
- Mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric with 1 or more tablespoons of a 70 percent DMSO solution. Rub the paste over the joint and let dry or wrap with plastic wrap and cover with a heating pad for 20 or 30 minutes.
- Mix turmeric with powdered lime and saltpepper. Apply the dry mixture to the joint and hold in place by wrapping with cheesecloth or plastic wrap.
- Mix turmeric with lime juice and a bit of boiling water to create a thick paste. Apply to sore joints or any sprains and strains.
If turmeric isn’t for you, don’t worry—it’s just one of the natural pain relievers around. Capsaicin, found in chili peppers, and bromelain, a pineapple plant extract, carry anti-inflammatory properties, too.