Curcumin is a substance found in turmeric, a spice found in curry. Research appearing in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2009; 15(8): 891-7) looked at 107 subjects with osteoarthritis in the knee. The patients were randomly selected to receive either ibuprophen (800 mg/day) or Curcuma domestica extract for six weeks. Both groups experienced improvement in pain and knee function during various activities. The Curcuma domestica performed as well as the ibuprophen for reducing pain.
Another study that was published in Clinical Interventions in Aging (2014 ;9:451-8. Epub 2014 Mar 20) compared the efficacy and safety of Curcuma domsetica extract to ibuprofen in treating patients with osteoarthritis in the knee. Researchers randomly divided 367 patients with arthritis in the knee, who rated their pain as “5” (on a scale of 10) or higher and gave one group either 1,200 mg of ibuprofen per day or Curcuma domestica extract. The mean of all WOMAC scores at weeks 0, 2, and 4 showed significant improvement when compared with the baseline in both groups. WOMAC stand for Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index. It is a widely used, proprietary set of standardized questionnaires used by health professionals to evaluate the condition of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, including pain, stiffness, and physical functioning of the joints.
The WOMAC scores for both the ibuprofen group and the group receiving the herbal extract were not significantly different. However, the number of events of abdominal pain/discomfort was significantly higher in the ibuprofen group than that in the C. domestica extracts group.