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Acupuncture, Turmeric May Help Ease Arthritis

Posted: October 31, 2006

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According to the Arthritis Foundation, nearly one in five Americans (46 million) suffers from one of the more than 100 various joint diseases that constitute arthritis. An additional 23 million have chronic joint pain that has yet to be formally diagnosed.

Osteoarthritis is caused by a progressive degeneration of bone cartilage and is the most common type of arthritis in the United States. Rheumatoid arthritis is an immunological disorder characterized by a painful inflammation of the lining of the joints.

In her study, Funk built on earlier research she had conducted with rats. Those efforts suggested that turmeric might prevent joint inflammation.

In her current work, she first broke down the specific contents of commonly sold turmeric dietary supplements.

In the lab, she and her colleagues then isolated a turmeric extract that was free of essential oils and structurally similar to that found in commercial varieties. The extract was based largely on curcuminoids—a compound they believed to be most protective against arthritic inflammation.