How Long Does Turmeric Take to Relieve Pain

Turmeric can provide numerous benefits for different areas of your health. In traditional medicine, it is one of the most potent nutritional supplements since it hosts powerful medicinal properties. Many studies have confirmed its effectiveness to help treat various ailments, including for pain relief. But how long does it take to relieve pain?

Curcumin is a natural pain reliever

Turmeric, a potent herb from the root of Curcuma Longa, has several essential plant substances. One that pays more attention is curcumin, a bright yellow chemical which belongs to a family of the active compounds called curcuminoids. It’s probably the key active substance found in turmeric that carries a number of health-promoting effects.

Since turmeric belongs to a flowering plant of the ginger family (Curcuma Longa), it looks similar to ginger root when bought fresh. But it has a more intense golden, yellow color. Here curcumin plays a role — though it only accounts about 2-5 percent of all properties found in turmeric, it is strong enough to determine the distinct color and flavor of turmeric.

Curcumin has potent medicinal properties. It has been the subject of much interest and study throughout the past few decades. Here are a few examples of evidence based health benefits from this potent substance.

To help ease inflammation

Pain can be attributed by a wide array of causes, and one of the common culprits is inflammation. Actually, inflammation is a natural healing process of the body. It is a normal mechanism involved when the body’s white blood cells respond foreign organisms.

When you have inflammation, your white blood cells release chemicals into the affected tissues through circulation (bloodstream). This stimulates the increased blood flow to the affected area, resulting in warmth and redness. Some chemicals also cause a leak of fluid into the body’s tissues, which may result in swelling.

Moreover, this process may stimulate pain-sensitive nerves which could be painful. Inflammation is not always followed with pain, depending on whether or not the affected organ has pain-sensitive nerves.

While normal ‘short-term’ inflammation is important to help protect the body and repair damage, it can be dangerous when it’s overwhelming (if it occurs abnormally /when it’s actually not required). For example, people with autoimmune diseases can experience overwhelming inflammation caused by the abnormality of body immune system.

Normally, immune system is responsible to protect the body from harmful bacteria, viruses, or other bad foreign invaders. But without known reason, it attacks its own healthy tissues. This causes counterproductive inflammatory response when there is actually no harmful thing to fight off.

Curcumin is a natural, powerful anti-inflammatory compound. It can help ease inflammation for various reasons. Its effectiveness to help soothe inflammation is as well as some anti-inflammatory medicines, according to one study [2]. It blocks a molecule called NF-kB, which has a role to trigger inflammation. Plus, it has fewer side effects.

To help protect the body from free radicals

Oxidative stress occurs when the body has more free radicals than antioxidant defenses. It increases the risk of various diseases, which some are painful conditions such as lupus and arthritis.

Actually, oxidative stress is constantly attacking your body. Oxygen all around the body can split into unbalanced atoms (without paired electrons) – they are called free radicals. Since they are unpaired electrons, they will find out other electrons to drive themselves whole again. This can hurt the body. The bad news, they can react with critical parts and organic substances of the body (e.g. tissues, cells, proteins, and even DNA).

Here antioxidants will help you a lot to protect the body from serious damage. They can help neutralize highly reactive free radicals since they have chemical structure that allows them to donate electrons for balanced atoms.

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant to help fight against free radicals and protect the body from oxidative damage. Plus, its unique potent antioxidant property can help improve the natural antioxidant enzymes of the body [3].

Curcumin is good for people with arthritis

Arthritis is a painful, inflammatory disease caused by a number of different causes. It’s not a single disease — it’s a group of more than 100 different joint diseases and related conditions. Most types of arthritis involve abnormal inflammation in the joints.

As mentioned earlier, curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound. So it makes sense that this potent compound may help with arthritis. One clinical trial in people with rheumatoid arthritis showed that curcumin might even work better than several conventional anti-inflammatory medicines [4].

You might also like to read the best essential oils for pain relief!

So, how long does it take to relieve pain?

While the scientific evidence of turmeric for pain relief is quite promising, its health-promoting effects vary from person to person. The same goes for the duration of how long it takes to relieve pain — it may take days, weeks, or months.

Several factors determine how long it starts to kick in! Some of the main ones include dosage you’re taking, absorption, severity of the existing underlying cause, and quality of turmeric. Furthermore, it’s not easy to identify the rate of pain healing process associated with inflammation since it’s a gradual process.

Dosage and absorption

The dosage does have a role on how fast the essential compounds in turmeric work effectively. But this doesn’t mean large quantities are always better to gain fast results.

The key is turmeric you’re taking is effectively absorbed by the body. For instance, health-promoting effects will take longer to see if the absorption of curcumin or other potent compounds is too small (much lower than required by the body).

It’s also important to consider several variables before determining the appropriate dosage. The body weight, any existing inflammation and health issues — for examples, should be taken into account.

The ability of your body to tolerate compounds found in turmeric matters, too. If the dosage is poorly tolerated, this may cause gastrointestinal issues and other side effects more likely. And if your body is not tolerated well, you may need to lower your dosage. This mean you’re likely to have a longer period of time to get the benefits.

Something else with diet (what you’re taking, eating, or drinking) may also affect the efficacy of turmeric. For instance, your body might take longer to absorb potent compounds of turmeric if your diet doesn’t include pepper or fats at all — or if you’re taking certain medications which some might cause the turmeric less effective.

Also, although turmeric is loaded with essential compounds, it is not a magic formula with ‘once-&-done fix’. Typically, it must be taken on a daily basis for several days or weeks before you get any improvement of the pain. To get faster results, it’s usually recommended to take it regularly – or as well as you have been told by your physician /herbalist!

Severity of the existing underlying cause

Again, pain is attributed by many factors. If the underlying cause of the problem is mild, the pain is relatively easier to relieve with turmeric. On the flip side, if what causes your pain is an existing, severe disease – this can make the symptom take longer to relieve.

Moreover, the underlying disease of your pain may develop over long periods of time. In such case, it’s possible for the pain to come and go before eventually it relieve completely with turmeric.

Quality of your chosen turmeric

Turmeric doesn’t relieve pain instantly, but it could provide long-lasting relief as the body gets used to the potent compounds of this herbal supplement.

And to get the benefits most, choose high-grade turmeric for faster results. This is important to make sure your body gets the natural-potent compounds of turmeric most. Some turmeric supplements are probably produced with inappropriate procedures, which accidentally eliminate some of potent compounds in turmeric.

Choosing one that has been certified by an authorized reputable agency is more recommended. Because some products may have cheap fillers, which are hard to identify without a comprehensive chemical analysis, not mentioned on the labels! Choose turmeric products that have been clinically tested in human and evident to be well absorbed!

Some people use turmeric with piperine, an organic compound that causes spicy taste of black pepper.  Piperine may help make the potent compounds more easily to be absorbed by the body.

It seems several factors have an effect on how long to see improvement after taking turmeric for pain relief. But again, although the benefits don’t come up instantly – they will do occur!

Side effects and precautions

In general, turmeric doesn’t seem to have any serious side effects for most people. It’s likely safe when applied topically or taken orally.

However it could also cause a few discomforts (e.g. diarrhea, nausea, and headaches) especially for those who’re allergic to or take it at high doses. Stop right away if you experience any abnormal symptoms that you believe have to do with your turmeric supplement.

Be careful to low-grade turmeric products that may contain cheap, counterproductive fillers (wheat starch for example — the adverse effects are more likely to occur if you have gluten intolerance).

In medicinal amounts, turmeric should be used under supervision of a healthcare professional if you have the following conditions [5]:

  1. During pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  2. Problems affecting gallbladder, a small hollow organ to store and release bile into small intestine. Turmeric may worsen existing gallbladder problems.
  3. While curcumin might help lower blood sugar, you need to use it with caution if you’re diabetic since it might drop your blood sugar too low (hypoglycemia).
  4. Bleeding problems and surgery, because turmeric might have an effect to slow blood clotting.
  5. Iron deficiency (anemia). Turmeric at high doses might have adverse effects on the absorption of iron in the body.

Also, check with your doctor first if you’re taking certain medications, especially for any medications that slow blood clotting.

Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5414457/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594223
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569207
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22407780
  5. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-662/turmeric