Herb-Haldi

Haldi (Curcumin)
(Curcuma longa)

Part Used: Rhizome

Habitat:

Introduction:

Turmeric (the common name for Curcuma longa) is an Indian spice derived from the rhizomes of the plant and has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for inflammatory conditions. C. longa is a perennial member of the Zingiberaceae family and is cultivated in India and other parts of Southeast Asia.1 The primary active constituent of turmeric and the one responsible for its vibrant yellow color is curcumin, first identified in 1910 by Lampe and Milobedzka.
Alternative Medicine Review Volume 14, Number 2 2009

Mechanism of Action:

Antidiabetic Mechanism – The anti-diabetic activity of curcumin is due to its ability to suppress oxidative stress and inflammation. This confirms its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It shows a beneficial role on the diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction and induces a down-regulation of nuclear factor-kappa B.

Anti-inflammatory Mechanism - Curcumin modulates the inflammatory response by down-regulating the activity of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) enzymes; inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-), interleukin (IL) -1, -2, -6, -8, and -12.
Alternative Medicine Review Volume 14, Number 2 2009

Medicinal Uses:

Antioxidant & anti-inflammatory - Oxidative stress and inflammation play a pivotal role in various diseases like diabetes, cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases. Curcumin, therefore, is a therapeutic option for the treatment of these diseases. Scientists are working on this to overcome its limitation of low bioavailability.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2015 Jun 9. pii: S0278-6915(15)00187-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2015.05.022. [Epub ahead of print]

Anti-hyperlipidemic Activity- Various pre-clinical and clinical trials have been done to establish the anti-hyperlipidemic effect of curcumin. It reduces LDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol.

Analgesic Effect – It reduces pain and inflammation, considered as an alternative to NSAIDs for patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or degenerative joint diseases etc. to relieve pain and inflammation.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Winter;20 Suppl 1:32-7.

Hepatoprotective – Curcumin is also known to protect liver.

Improves Immunity - Curcumin can also help the body fight off cancer. This prevents apoptosis and increases the number of immune cells, CD4+ T-helper and B type immune cells which enhances immunity.
ROM. J. BIOL. – PLANT BIOL., VOLUME 55, No. 2, P. 65–70, BUCHAREST, 2010

Clinical Studies:
Various clinical trials have been published to establish various therapeutic effects of curcumin. For e.g. anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant effects which make it suitable for the treatment of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, arthritis etc.

1. According a clinical study published in the journal of Complementory Medicinal Therapy, 2014, curcumin has anti-hyperlipidemic effect which helps to reduce LDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol in the patients with metabolic syndrome.
Complement Ther Med. 2014 Oct;22(5):851-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.07.006. Epub 2014 Jul 22.

2. There was a clinical study done on osteoarthritic patients to reduce joint pain and inflammation. This study was published in the journal of Alternative Therapy for Health Medicine, 2014. In this study curumin was used along with some other herbal ingredients. This reduces pain and inflammation; and hence considered as an alternative to NSAIDs for patients with degenerative joint diseases.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Winter;20 Suppl 1:32-7.

Conclusion:

Curcumin is popular as Indian spice with lots of health benefits. Many studies have been done to establish its effects in the treatment of various diseases. It has diverse array of therapeutic actions which include its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic & antimicrobial actions. Despite the fact, curcumin has got so much therapeutic potential; the only limitation is its low bioavailability! Scientists are working on this to get the solution for this limitation, so that the medicinal benefits of curcumin can be sustained for longer period of time.