Turmeric has solidified its standing as a superfood mainstay among the wellness set. We're all familiar with turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties—as well as the endless list of other health benefits it boasts. Yet its lesser-known cousin may be one to get to know for pain relief. Cheryl Myers, who is both a registered nurse and a natural medicine expert, recently outlined the top natural remedies for pain relief in Mind Body Green. She underscores how we often try to mask the pain we're feeling—through over-the-counter or prescription drugs—rather than treating the source. Myers calls curcumin, an extract from the spice turmeric, "the best examined natural pain reliever." To explain the difference between the two, Myers says it would take up to 500 capsules of turmeric to deliver the same amount of curcumin you consume in just one capsule.
BCM-95, an enhanced form of curcumin that uses turmeric essential oil to boost efficiency, has demonstrated particularly promising results in pain relief. In a randomized pilot study of BCM-95 curcumin to test its efficacy and safety, the spice was compared to the prescription NSAID diclofenac sodium in rheumatoid arthritis. At the end of the eight-week treatment, both groups demonstrated the same level of improvement in pain and functionality. However, for the group that took the prescription drug, 14% of participants dropped out due to severe side effects. In the BCM-95 curcumin group, no one dropped out.