Indian medicinal plant series: Turmeric
Curcuma longa is the scientific name of Turmeric. The plant belongs to the family Zingiberaceae.
The roots of turmeric have a chemical called curcumin. It is used as a colorant which is used to color foods and cosmetics.
The therapeutic uses of curcumin are mainly because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Turmeric is used in the treatment of several diseases including
• Dyspepsia (heartburn)
• Stomach pain
• Joint pain
• Crohn’s disease
• Ulcerative colitis
• Stomach Bloating
Mechanism of action
Curcumin (C21H20O6) is a polyphenolic compound and is the main component of turmeric which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Anti-oxidant properties: The anti-oxidant properties of curcumin are because of its ability to raise the serum activity of superoxide dismutase which is anti-oxidant. It also has free-radical scavenging effect and GSH activity regulation.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Curcumin shows the anti-inflammatory properties based on the up-regulation of PPAR-γ.
Why black pepper is given in combination with curcumin?
The absorption of curcumin is less. When it is given in combination with piperine, it forms a complex which increases the bioavailability of curcumin.
There are no major side effects. Some people may experience nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.