Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

We systemically evaluated all randomized clinical trials of turmeric extracts and curcumin for treating arthritis symptoms to elucidate the efficacy of curcuma for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis

James W. Daily; Mini Yang; Sunmin Park


Scholarcy highlights

  • The term arthritis is derived from the Greek words ‘‘artho’’ and ‘‘itis,’’ meaning joint and inflammation, respectively
  • The following keywords of Medical Sub Headings were used as search terms: ‘‘curcumin,’’ ‘‘curcuma,’’ ‘‘turmeric,’’ ‘‘Curcuma domestica,’’ ‘‘Curcuma Longa,’’ ‘‘arthritis,’’ ‘‘osteoarthritis,’’ ‘‘randomized,’’ ‘‘controlled trial,’’ and ‘‘clinical trial.’’ In the systematic review, all randomized clinical trials were included from the available databases up to April, 2016, that had examined the effects of turmeric and curcumin on arthritis
  • A total of 10,293 studies were found in the initial electronic searches from PubMed, Embase, WANFANG, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Research Information Service System, Korean Information Service System, and IndMED, and 28 duplicates were removed
  • The exact biochemical cause of osteoarthritis remains unknown, it is associated with inflammation in articular cartilage, which can cause abnormal joint structure in the knee and hip and it is accompanied with pain
  • Since diclofenac is an nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, it is possible that its mechanisms of action are similar to those of curcumin and the redundancy of action resulted in little additional benefit
  • The present meta-analysis of RCTs suggested that oral administration of curcumin reduced arthritis symptoms, as measured by pain visual analogue score and WOMAC, as much as pain medicine, it is difficult to recommend curcumin and turmeric as a good therapeutic agent for arthritis due to the limitations of the RCT studies included in this systematic review
  • Four randomized clinical trials were classified as high quality and four RCTs had a moderate quality. Some studies did not report randomization of the subjects and allocation of the groups, whereas two RCTs did not mention their blindness to the practitioners. In addition, two RCTs did not report drop-out rates and reasons for withdrawals from the trials. it is difficult to detect bias resulting from authors not publishing negative results that are considered uninteresting, so there is still some possibility of publication bias

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