Relieve Pain with Turmeric One of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatories is curcumin—an ingredient in turmeric, the Indian spice that gives curry its telltale yellow color. Clinically, curcumin has worked as well as cortisone for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and postoperative inflammation. In one double-blind crossover study, taking a daily dose of curcumin relieved morning stiffness and joint swelling better than a corticosteroid drug. It also improved walking time in those suffering from arthritis. Best of all, the curcumin was well-tolerated and had no side effects.