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Indian medicinal plant series: Turmeric

Introduction

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.


Therapeutic Uses

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

• Arthritis

• Dyspepsia (heartburn)

• Stomach pain

• Joint pain

• Crohn’s disease

• Ulcerative colitis

• Hemorrhage

• Diarrhea

• Stomach Bloating

• Jaundice


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.


Side effects

There are no major side effects. Some people may experience nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.



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