Articles

Tumeric

Plant Part Used

Root/Rhizome

Active Constituents

Curcuminoids. (1)

[span class=alert]This section is a list of chemical entities identified in this dietary supplement to possess pharmacological activity. This list does not imply that other, yet unidentified, constituents do not influence the pharmacological activity of this dietary supplement nor does it imply that any one constituent possesses greater influence on the overall pharmacological effect of this dietary supplement.[/span]

Introduction

In Ayurvedic medicine (traditional Indian medicine), turmeric rhizome has been used for centuries internally as a tonic for the stomach and liver and as a blood purifier.(2) It has also been used externally in the treatment and prevention of skin diseases and in arthritic complaints. The laboratory and clinical research indicates that turmeric and its phenolics have unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.(3) The anti-inflammatory strength of turmeric is comparable to antiinflammatory medications.(4) Turmeric has been reported to be anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.(2),(24),(25)

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

100-500mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day with meals.

Tea: 2 to 3 cups taken between meals using 1 gm herb per cup.(5)

Tincture: 10 to 15 drops, 2 to 3 times daily at a ratio of 1:10.(5)

Most Common Dosage

300mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day with meals.

Tea: 2 cups taken between meals using 1 gm herb per cup.

Tincture: 10 drops, 2 times daily at a ratio of 1:10.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 95-98% curcuminoids.

Uses

Frequently Reported Uses

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-Rheumatic
  • Antioxidant
  • Hypercholesterolemia

Other Reported Uses

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiviral.
  • Anticancer
  • Chemopreventative Effects
  • Immune support

Toxicities & Precautions

General

No known toxicity in recommended dosages.(6) Several cases of contact urticaria have been reported from curcumin.(26)

Health Conditions

Use with caution if peptic ulcer disease is present.

Based on pharmacology, do not use if biliary obstruction is present.(7)

Based on laboratory studies, use with caution in individuals pre-disposed to kidney stone formation.(27)

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders.(8)

Side Effects

Some individuals may experience GI distress or irritation when beginning use.(5)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

If pregnant or nursing, consult a physician before use.

Age Limitations

Do not use in children under 2 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

Pharmacology

Antioxidant

The antioxidant activity of turmeric is mainly associated with its phenolic fraction, curcuminoids. The mechanisms by which they reportedly exert their antioxidative effects are: intervening in oxidative attacks to restrict or prevent them from occurring; scavenging or neutralizing free radicals; and breaking the oxidative chain reaction caused by free radicals.(9),(10),(11)

Antiinflammatory

Curcuminoids (particularly curcumin) reportedly inhibit enzymes which participate in the synthesis of inflammatory substances (leukotrienes and prostaglandins) derived from arachidonic acid, and it is claimed they are comparable in activity to NSAIDs.(12),(28) In a double-blind study of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin produced significant improvement in all subjects.(4) Turmeric is also claimed to inhibit platelet aggregation.(13)

Curcumin reportedly has COX-2, LOX, TNF-alpha, iNOS, IFN-gamma, NF-kappaB inhibiting activity in laboratory studies.(14),(29) An advantage of curcumin over aspirin is claimed, since curcumin, unlike aspirin, is reported to selectively inhibit synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins but does not affect the synthesis of prostacyclin.(14) Curcumin may be preferable for individuals who are prone to vascular thrombosis and require anti-inflammatory and/or anti-arthritic therapy. Curcumin’s antiinflammatory effects may protect against acute and chronic lung disease.(30) Curcumin’s pharmacology also suggests it may be effective in autoimmune diseases.(31)

Turmeric may be beneficial in individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis. Curcumin has been investigated in several experimental models for the treatment of IBD.(29) Results indicate suppression of induced IBD colitis and changes in cytokine profiles, from the pro-inflammatory Th1 to the anti-inflammatory Th2 type. In human IBD, one open study has found positive results using curcumin in IBD patients, reducing symptoms and relapse.(32)

 

Anticancer

Turmeric is claimed to be an antiproliferative agent and has been studied for use in various tumor cells its potential as an anticancer agent.(15),(33),(34),(35) Although the precise mechanism by which curcumin may inhibit tumorigenesis remains to be elucidated, it is believed that the chemopreventative action, at least in part, may be related to antioxidant activity and the modulation of inflammatory signaling and cell cycle arrest.(16),(36),(37) Laboratory studies also suggest antiangiogenic effects and tumor cell apoptosis induced by capspase-3 activation and poly(ADP-ribosyl)polymerase (PARP) cleavage.(38),(39)

Curcumin has been reported in laboratory studies to be effective in bladder cancer therapy models.(40) Turmeric was reported to decrease the incidence of Epstein-Barr induced post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) in individuals undergoing therapy with cyclosporin A.(17) Also, turmeric recently has been reported to have chemopreventative effects in colon cancer when it is administered prior to, during, and after carcinogen treatment as well as when it is given only during the promotion/progression phase (starting late in premalignant stage) of colon carcinogenesis.(18),(40) Another study incubated the SUIT-2 human pancreatic carcinoma cell line with various concentrations of curcumin while monitoring biological activity such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) production and transactivation of nuclear factor B (NF-B). Curcumin significantly reduced NF-B activity and inhibited IL-8 production in a dose dependent manner and pretreatment with curcumin significantly inhibited the growth rate of these cancer cells. Inhibition of such proinflammatory cytokines certainly lends merit to curcumin as a potential anticancer agent.(19),(42) Immunomodulation of curcuminoids ,including effect on lymphoid cell populations, antigen presentation, humoral and cell-mediated immunity, and cytokine production, may also be a factor in turmeric’s anticancer activity.(43)

Cholesterol Lowering

Turmeric has been reported in vivo to have the ability to decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in serum, as well as to increase HDL cholesterol.(20) Curcuminoids given daily to healthy subjects for seven days reportedly lowered the levels of blood lipid peroxides, as well as the levels of blood cholesterol.(21) Curcuminioids are reported in a laboratory study to change gene expression involved in cholesterol homeostasis.(44)

Other Effects

Turmeric has been reported to be beneficial in HIV infection, possibly inhibiting transactivation of the virus.(22),(23) Recent studies in models of pressure overload show that curcumin can reduce cardiac remodeling by altering reninangiotensin-system-transforming growth factor beta1 and collagen axis, suggesting use in cardiac ischemia.(45),(46)

A 6 month randomized human study found no benefit when using curcumin in Alzheimer’s disease.(47)

References

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  2. View Abstract: Ammon HP, et al. Pharmacology of Curcuma longa. Planta Med. Feb1991;57(1):1-7.
  3. Arora RB, et al. Anti-inflammatory Studies on Curcuma longa L. Ind J Med Res. 1971;59:1289.
  4. Deodhar SD, et al. Preliminary Studies on Anti-Rheumatic Activity of Curcumin. Ind J Med Res. 1980;71:632.
  5. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:776.
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