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Curcumin and Boswellia for Knee Pain -- Older woman with osteoarthritis holding knee in pain


Research shows that curcumin (from turmeric) has anti-inflammatory effects, and may be helpful for conditions such as ulcerative colitis, muscle soreness after exercise, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis of the knee.

Boswellia extract contains compounds, such as the boswellic acid AKBA, which also appear to have anti-inflammatory properties. Like curcumin, research suggests boswellia may be helpful for conditions such as ulcerative colitis and osteoarthritis, and can be found as an ingredient in certain supplements for joint health.

There is some preliminary evidence that taking curcumin and Boswellia extract together may have benefit, but more research is needed to confirm this. One small, 12-week study in Armenia showed that the BCM-95 version of curcumin (one 500-mg capsule of CuraMed taken three times daily) modestly reduced pain-related symptoms of knee osteoarthritis compared to placebo (which also showed improvement), and it was modestly more effective in improving physical performance when taken along with Boswellia extract. The capsules were taken three times a day (Haroyan, BMC Compl Alt Med 2018).

Be aware that both boswellia compounds such as AKBA and curcumin are fat soluble and for this reason, are best absorbed if taken with a meal containing some fat, unless taking bioavailability-enhanced formulations.

More information about curcumin is found in our Curcumin Supplements Review, which includes our Top Picks among turmeric and curcumin products as well as information about safety, side effects, and potential drug interaction.

Also see our Joint Health Supplements Review, which includes our Top Picks among products containing boswellia, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM.

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