Turmeric

From WikiMD

Information about Turmeric

Common Names: turmeric, turmeric root, Indian saffron

Turmeric powder
Turmeric powder

Latin Names: Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma domestica, Curcuma longa

Turmeric is a popular herb derived from the roots of the plant Curcuma longa found mostly in India and Southern Asia.  Turmeric has an intense yellow color and distinct taste and is used as a dye as well as a spice in the preparation of curry.  Turmeric and its purified extract curcumin are also used medically for their purported antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects to treat digestive complaints including ingestion, diarrhea and liver diseases. 

Culinary uses

Turmeric is used extensively as a food additive, food coloring agent, and as a spice in many Asian cuisines including Indian cuisine.

Liver safety of Turmeric

Turmeric and curcumin have been associated with a low rate of transient serum enzyme elevations during therapy and have recently been implicated in rare instances of clinically apparent acute liver injury.  

Cultivation

Turmeric (tur mer' ik) is a widely used herbal product derived from the roots of Curcuma longa, a perennial plant belonging to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) that is native to India but grown throughout Southern Asia and in central America. 

Turmeric field
Turmeric field

Mechanism of action of Turmeric

Extracts of the rhizomes of turmeric contain volatile oils and curcuminoids (such as curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and others) which are believed to be the active antiinflammatory components of the herb and are often collectively referred to as curcumin.  The antiinflammatory effects of turmeric and curcumin are thought to be mediated by inhibition of leukotriene synthesis.  Curcumin has also been reported to have antineoplastic effects, mediated perhaps by inhibition of intracellular kinases. 

Use in Ayurvedic Medicine

Turmeric has been used in traditional Indian system of medicine called Ayurvedic medicine to treat many conditions including indigestion, upper respiratory infections and liver diseases. 

Anti-inflammatory properties

Turmeric and curcumin are under active evaluation as antiinflammatory and antineoplastic agents, for treatment of diabetes and hyperlipidemia and as therapy of liver diseases including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).  The scientific bases for the purported effects of turmeric are not well established and rigorous proof of its efficacy in any medical condition is lacking.  Commercial preparations of turmeric and curcumin vary widely in curcuminoid content. 

Turmeric flower
Turmeric flower

Dosage and administration for Turmeric

The recommended daily dose varies widely (100 to >1,000 mg daily), depending on the preparation used (curcuminoids vs turmeric extract), formulation (tablets, liquid, root extract, tea) and indications. 

Side effects of Turmeric

Side effects are uncommon and mild but may include dermatitis and gastrointestinal upset.

Science

  • We have a lot of research, including studies done in people, on turmeric for a variety of health conditions.

Studies on health effects

  • Claims that curcuminoids found in turmeric help to reduce inflammation aren’t supported by strong studies.
  • Preliminary studies found that curcuminoids may
    • Reduce the number of heart attacks bypass patients had after surgery
    • Control knee pain from osteoarthritis as well as ibuprofen did
    • Reduce the skin irritation that often occurs after radiation treatments for breast cancer.
  • Other preliminary studies in people have looked at curcumin, a type of curcuminoid, for different cancers, colitis, diabetes, surgical pain, and as an ingredient in mouthwash for reducing plaque.
  • The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has studied curcumin for Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate and colon cancer.

Safety

  • Turmeric in amounts tested for health purposes is generally considered safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
  • High doses or long-term use of turmeric may cause gastrointestinal problems.

Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements


Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements

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