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Acupuncture, Turmeric May Help Ease Arthritis

Posted: October 31, 2006

Acupuncture and an extract of turmeric—the spice that gives curry its kick—may both offer significant pain relief to some arthritis patients, two new studies suggest.

Reporting in the November issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a German team says a combination of acupuncture and conventional medicine can boost quality of life for patients suffering from osteoarthritis.

And in a second study in the same issue, American researchers say the ingestion of a special turmeric extract could help prevent or curb both acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis.

The findings should be heartening to the roughly 40 percent of arthritis patients in the United States who say they've turned to some form of alternative medicine.

"If I had arthritis, I would be very excited about this," said Dr. Janet L. Funk, the lead author of the turmeric study and an assistant professor of physiological sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson.