Background and purpose: Curcuma longa L. (CL), an Indian herb, has been used to treat many disorders because of its wide spectrum of pharmacological activities. It has been shown to exhibit anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and is being used as herbal remedy since ancient times. Osteoarthritis of knee (KOA) is a chronic painful disorder in which prolong use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or steroids may result into many serious side effects; hence, there is a need to develop herbal drugs, having good analgesia without side effects. Therefore, we planned to evaluate the efficacy of CL in KOA.
Methods: The study was designed as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients of KOA. After obtaining ethical clearance and written informed consent, a total of 160 patients of KOA were randomly enrolled into two groups to receive either CL extract or placebo along with the standard drug regimen. The patients were assessed on day 0, day 60, and day 120. On the days of their visit, the clinical prognosis was assessed by visual analog scale (VAS) and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis index. On these days, the radiographs were also taken for Kellgren and Lawrence grading and blood samples were collected for assessing the changes in levels of IL-1β and biomarkers of oxidative stress, such as reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde (MDA).
Results: Over all significant improvement was observed in the patients of CL extract group as compared to placebo group. Clinically, the VAS and WOMAC scores became better, and simultaneously, the levels of biomarkers, viz., IL-1β, ROS, and MDA, were also significantly (p < 0.05) improved.
Conclusion: It may be concluded that on chronic administration, CL suppresses inflammation and brings clinical improvement in patients of KOA, which may be observed by decreased level of IL-1β and VAS/WOMAC scores, respectively. At the same time, CL decreases the oxidative stress also.
Keywords: Curcuma longa L.; Inflammatory biomarkers; Osteoarthritis of knee; WOMAC.