|Curcumin - Turmeric Extract||Darrell Miller||08/19/05|
August 19, 2005 12:47 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Curcumin - Turmeric Extract
Turmeric- History and Traditional Usage
Native to Southeast Asia, Curcuma longa is a tall
tropical shrub with large oblong leaves and pale yellow flowers.
The genus “Curcuma” belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, which
includes ginger.1 The plant possesses a large root structure
with fleshy, bulbous underground parts called “rhizomes.” These
rhizomes, known as turmeric root, are harvested at maturity,
dried and cured for commercial use. Chemical analysis shows that
dried turmeric contains essential and volatile oils, with a
curcuminoid content of 2.5 to 5.0 %.2
In addition to its
popularity as a spice, turmeric is used as a dye for cloth and
coloring agent in foods and cosmetics, thanks to its rich yellow
color. Turmeric also serves as a preservative, probably owing to
the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of curcumin.
Extracts of Curcuma longa have demonstrated in vitro
antibacterial and anti-fungal effects.3
Turmeric is named in
ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal texts as a traditional folk
remedy. Historically, turmeric was used externally for wounds,
and sprains, and internally for digestive complaints,
rheumatism, liver disorders, coughs and colds.4
Protects cells and tissues by fighting free radicals.*
Supports joint function*
The numerous beneficial
effects attributed to turmeric stem in large measure from the
antioxidant properties of curcumin. Antioxidants neutralize free
radicals, which are highly unstable molecules that can damage
cellular structures through abnormal oxidative reactions.
Curcumin is a potent “scavenger” of the superoxide radical, a
free radical that initiates potentially harmful oxidative
processes such as lipid peroxidation.5 Through this activity,
curcumin has been shown to protect skin cells from the injurious
effect of nitroblue tetrazolium, a toxin that generates
superoxide radicals. Curcumin also increases survival of cells
exposed in vitro to the enzyme hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase,
which stimulates superoxide and hydrogen peroxide production.
Curcumin itself is not toxic to cells, even at high
concentrations. Pure curcumin was shown to be less protective
than a mixture of curcuminoids, indicating a possible synergism
among curcuminoids.6 Because free radicals are involved in aging
and exert harmful effects on skin, these results suggest
curcumin may help slow skin aging.
several other in vitro effects linked to free radical
scavenging. Curcumin scavenges nitric oxide, a compound
associated with the body’s inflammatory response.7 Pure curcumin
and turmeric extracts protect red blood cells from lipid
peroxidation induced by hydrogen peroxide.8 Curcumin has been
shown to protect DNA from oxidative damage, inhibit binding of
toxic metabolites to DNA, and reduce DNA mutations in the Ames’
test.9 Although additional studies suggest an anticarcinogenic
effect of curcumin, through protection of DNA,10 one in vitro
study found that curcumin induced DNA damage in human gastric
mucosal cells.11 It is speculated that curcumin may act as a
pro-oxidant in the presence of transition metal ions such as
copper and iron. (This is true for other antioxidants, including
vitamin C.) Curcumin also demonstrates in vitro inhibition of
COX-I and COX-II enzymes, which are involved in the inflammatory
reaction.12 Together these results strongly suggest that
curcumin is a potent bioprotectant with a potentially wide range
of therapeutic applications.
Animal studies- In vivo protective effects
Through its free radical scavenging
properties, curcumin has shown bioprotective effects in animals.
In one study, rats were treated with isoproterenol, a chemical
that causes cardiac hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart) due
to abnormal collagen metabolism. Co-treatment with curcumin
reversed the degradation of collagen and cardiac hypertrophy
induced by isoproterenol.13 Curcumin protects mice from
detrimental effects of radiation, by stabilizing the glyoxalase
system, a biological system that regulates cell division.14
Curcumin protects livers of rats from the damaging effects of
carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), a potent hepatoxin that injures the
liver via its free radical metabolite, CCl3.15,16 Curcumin
protected rats from alcohol-induced brain damage, in a study in
which oral administration of curcumin reversed lipid
peroxidation, reduced levels of free-radical metabolites and
increased levels of glutathione, a major physiologic
antioxidant.17 Curcuma longa extracts have shown
anti-inflammatory effects in rats.18
Curcumin exhibits free-radical scavenging ability when
administered to humans. In an open trial (uncontrolled), 18
healthy individuals ranging in age from 27 to 67 years consumed
a Curcuma longa extract, at a dose supplying 20 mg curcuminoids,
for 45 days. Before and after blood tests showed a statistically
significant decrease in lipid peroxides.19 Preliminary trials
have tested the anti-inflammatory action of curcumin, with
results that verify the traditional use of turmeric as an
anti-rheumatic herb. In a short-term double-blind, cross-over,
comparative study, 18 people received curcumin (1200 mg daily)
or phenylbutazone for two week periods. Both curcumin and
phenylbutazone produced measurable improvements in joint
flexibility and walking time. The subjects reported results only
with phenylbutazone, which may be explained by the short
duration of the trial.20 In a small placebo-controlled trial
comparing curcumin to phenylbutazone, 45 patients with
post-operative inflammation received curcumin, phenylbutazone or
placebo. The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin and
phenylbutazone were comparable and superior to placebo.21
Curcumin has not been found to produce an analgesic (pain
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer
Boosts Curcumin Absorption*
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal
formulas often include black pepper and long pepper as
synergistic herbs. The active ingredient in both black pepper
and long pepper is the alkaloid, piperine. Experiments carried
out to evaluate the scientific basis for the use of peppers have
shown that piperine significantly enhances bioavailability when
consumed with other substances.22 Several double-blind clinical
studies have confirmed that Bioperine® increases absorption of
Curcumin is poorly absorbed in the intestinal
tract, limiting its therapeutic effectiveness. Oral doses are
largely excreted in feces, and only trace amounts appear in the
blood. Concomitant administration of 20 mg of piperine with 2
grams of curcumin increases the bioavailability of curcumin by
1. Majeed, M., Badmaev,
V., Shivakumar, U., Rajendran, R. Curcuminoids. 1995.
Piscataway, NJ: NutriScience Publishers.
2. Srimal, R.C.
Turmeric: a brief review of its medicinal properties.
3. Ammon, H.P.T., Wahl, M.A.
Pharmacology of Curcuma longa. Planta Medica 1991;57:1-7.
Snow, J.M. Herbal Monograph: Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae).
The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine, Autumn
5. Rao, N.S., Rao, M.N.A. Free radical scavenging
activity of curcuminoids. Arzneim.-Forsch./Drug Res.
6. Bonté. F. et al. Protective effect of
curcuminoids on epidermal skin cells under free oxygen radical
stress. Planta Medica 1997;63:265-66.
7. Rao, S., Rao, M.N.A.
Nitric oxide scavenging by curcuminoids. J Pharm. Pharmacol.
8. Lalitha, S., Selvam, R. Prevention of
H2Os-induced red blood cell lipid peroxidation by aqueous
extracted turmeric. Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr
9. Deshpande, S.S., Maru, G.B. Effects of
curcumin on the formation of benzo[a]pyrene derived DNA adducts
in vitro. Cancer Letters 1995;96:71-80.
10. Subramanian, M., et
al. Diminution of singlet oxygen-induced DNA damage by curcumin
and related antioxidants. Mutation Research
11. Blasiak, J., Trzeciak, A., Kowalik, J.
Curcumin damages DNA in human gastric mucosa cells and
lymphocytes. Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and
12. Ramsewak, R.S., DeWitt, D.L.,
Nair, M.G. Cytotoxicity, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory
activities of Curcumins I-III from Curcuma longa. Phytomedicine
13. Nirmala, C. Anand, S., Puvanakrishnan,
R. Curcumin treatment modulates collagen metabolism in
isoproterenol induced myocardial necrosis in rats. Molecular and
Cellular Biochemistry 1999;197:31-37.
14. Choudhary, D.,
Chandra, D. Kale, R.K. Modulation of radioresponse of glyoxalase
system by curcumin. Journal of Ethnopharmacology
15. Park, E-J. et al. Protective effect of
curcumin in rat liver injury induced by carbon tetrachloride. J
Pharm. Pharmacol. 2000;52:437-40.
16. Deshpande, U.R. et al.
Protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on
carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats. Indian
Journal of Experimental Biology 1998;36:573-77.
Rajakrishnan, V. et al. Neuroprotective role of curcumin from
Curcuma longa on ethanol-induced brain damage. Phytotherapy
18. Arora, R.B. Basu, N., Kapoor, V.,
Jain, A.P. Anti-inflammatory studies on Curcuma longa
(Turmeric). Indian J Med Res 1971;59(8):1289-95.
Ramirez-Bosca, A. et al. Antioxidant curcuma extracts decrease
the blood peroxide levels of human subjects. Age
20. Deodhar, S.D., Sethi, R. Srimal. R.C.
Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin
(diferoyl methane). Indian J Med Res 1980;71:632-34.
Satoskar, R.R., Shah, S J. Shenoy, S.G. Evaluation of
anti-inflammatory property of curcumin (diferoyl methane) in
patients with postoperative inflammation. International Journal
of Clinical Pharmacology, Therapy and Toxicolgy
22. Atal, C., Zutshi, U., Rao, P.
Scientific evidence on the role of Ayurvedic herbals on
bioavailability of drugs. Journal of Ethnopharmacology
23. Bioperine®–Nature's Bioavailability
Enhancing Thermonutrient. Executive Summary. 1996; Sabinsa
Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.
24. Shoba, G., et al. Influence
of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and
human volunteers. Planta Medica 1998;64(4):353-6.
Doctor's Best, Inc. Revised 8/13/02
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.