You may have heard about the powerful healing effects of one special spice called turmeric. In addition to aiding in digestion, boosting liver function, and protecting against some types of cancer, the “Indian saffron” is also a potent medicine for muscle pain.
Grind up the turmeric plant’s roots (mainly grown in Asia and Central America), and it’ll dry into a bright yellow powder. Some cultures have used it as a vibrant dye, but it’s also a centerpiece of many curry dishes in India and a go-to-herb in ayurvedic medicine. You can get it as an extract, powder, tea, capsule, or in the popular golden milk beverages now enjoyed by health food enthusiasts worldwide.
Why Take Turmeric for Muscle Pain?
The active ingredient in turmeric is also the source of its yellow color: a phytochemical called curcumin. This golden-hued compound has impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have just recently gained increased attention and scientific steam in the West.
A dose of curcumin can’t relieve your muscles by itself, though. It’s lipophilic, or “fat-loving,” which means that it needs fats to dissolve and be absorbed by your bloodstream. Combine turmeric with a fat source like plant oils, avocado, or hummus for maximum pain relief. Ground black pepper will help too since the piperine in black pepper is known to make curcumin up to 2000% more bioavailable.
Here are some of the benefits your muscles will feel when turmeric teams up with the right ingredients:
Swelling or inflammation of muscle tissue can happen for many reasons, such as arthritis or a hard workout. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects are well documented.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends a dose of 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric, three times a day—or ½ to 3 grams of powdered turmeric—for inflammation relief (1). One Journal of Medicinal Food study even found that a single gram of curcumin per day was enough to see measurable anti-inflammatory effects (2).
Relief for Muscle Pain
Studies have shown that turmeric can work as well as pain-relieving NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil) (3). The right turmeric dosage for muscle pain can vary, but the folks in the research study took capsules with 800 mg of turmeric once per day.
Some doctors have begun to recommend turmeric for muscle pain, especially in patients that would prefer more natural medication or have allergies to traditional medicines (4).
Medicinal spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger can all help to relieve soreness and stiffness after exercising with their anti-inflammatory properties. Muscle pain, tightness, and lower range of motion could also come from chronic backaches, pregnancy, or even fibromyalgia. Natural muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories are a great alternative to synthetic drugs for folks that frequently feel pain from tight, stiff muscles.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) commonly strikes a day or two after strenuous physical activities or intense exercise. This comes from secondary muscle damage and inflammation as your body is busy repairing itself. Researchers studied the power of curcumin to lessen or prevent these effects and found that consuming curcumin from 2 days before to 3-4 days after the activity relieved many DOMS symptoms (5, 6).
In other words, rely on lightning-speed turmeric muscle recovery to get right back in the ring for the next round!
Go for the Gold!
The evidence is clear—regular turmeric for muscle pain is a golden ticket to:
- Reduced muscle inflammation and soreness
- Optimal athletic performance
- Rapid physical recovery
At Healthy Truth, we take turmeric’s healing powers seriously. We formulated our GO GOLD Turmeric Lemonade Powder Blend with a combination of curcumin-rich ingredients like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger, then boosted its bioavailability with black pepper.
The coconut sugar, lemon juice powder, and monk fruit extract give it the citrus sweetness you’d expect from the perfect golden lemonade. Just mix it with water (or into your favorite smoothie recipe) to feel the benefits of turmeric for muscle pain relief!
- Arthritis Foundation - Supplement and Herb Guide for Arthritis Symptoms
- PubMed - Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.
- PubMed - Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
- New York Times - The Doctor’s Remedy: Turmeric for Joint Pain
- PubMed - Reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness by a novel curcumin delivery system (Meriva®): a randomised, placebo-controlled trial.
- PubMed - Curcumin supplementation likely attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).