Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) and Curcumin

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Turmeric is a spice, commonly used in Asian food, derived from the root of the turmeric (Curcuma longa) plant. Curcumin is the yellow-colored primary active constituent derived from turmeric and is commonly used to color foods and cosmetics.
The rhizome (root) of turmeric has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat gastrointestinal upset, arthritic pain, and "low energy." Although not well studied in humans, turmeric and its constituent curcumin have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, nerve-protective, insecticidal, and anticancer properties. Preliminary human evidence suggests possible efficacy for dyspepsia (heartburn), Helicobacter pylori infection, pain relief, leukoplakia (patches in the mouth), osteoarthritis, and high cholesterol.

Related Terms

1-(3-Cyclopentylpropyl)-2,4-dimethylbenzene, 1,7-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione, 1,8-cineole, 2-(2'-methyl-1'-propenyl)-4,6-dimethyl-7-hydroxyquinoline, 2,5-dihydroxybisabola-3,10-diene, 4''-(4'''-hydroxyphenyl)-2''-oxo-3''-butenyl-3-(4'-hydroxyphenyl-3'-methoxy)-propenoate, 4''-(4'''-hydroxyphenyl-3'''-methoxy)-2''-oxo-3''-butenyl-3-(4'-hydroxyphenyl)-propenoate, 4,5-dihydroxybisabola-2,10-diene, (6S)-2-methyl-6-(4-formylphenyl)-2-hepten-4-one, (6S)-2-methyl-6-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-hepten-4-one, (6S)-2-methyl-6-(4-hydroxyphenyl-3-methyl)-2-hepten-4-one, alantone, alpha-curcumene, alpha-turmerone, alpha-zingiberene, Amomum curcuma, anlatone (constituent), ar-curcumene, ar-tumerone, ar-turmerone, atlantone, BCM-95® (Biocurcumax™), beta-bisabolene, beta-caryophyllene, beta-curcumene, beta-sesquiphellandrene, beta-turmerin, beta-turmerone, bisacurone, bisacurone A, bisacurone B, bisacurone C, bisdemethoxycurcumin, calebin, C.I. 75300, C.I. Natural Yellow 3, CUR, Curcuma, Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma aromatica Salisbury, Curcuma domestica, Curcuma domestica Valeton, curcuma long oil, Curcuma longa, Curcuma longa Linn., Curcuma longa oils, Curcuma longa rhizoma, curcuma oil, curcumin, curcuminoids, curlone, dehydrozingerone, demethoxycurcumin, diaryl heptanoids, diferuloylmethane, E 100, e zhu, Gelbwurzel (German), germacrene, gurkemeje (Danish), haidr, halad (Marathi), haldar (Gujarati), haldi (Dogri, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Urdu), halud (Bengali), haridra (Sanskrit), HSDB 4334, Indian saffron, Indian yellow root, jiang huang (Mandarin Chinese), jianghuang, kacha haldi, kunir (Indonesian), kunyit (Indonesian), Kurkumawurzelstock (German), kurkumin, kyoo (Japanese), merita earth, NMXCC95™, Number Ten (NT), oil of turmeric, olena, radix Zedoaria longa, resveratrol, rhizome de curcuma, safran des Indes (French), sesquiterpenoids, shati, souchet, tumeric, tumerone, turmeric oil, turmeric root, turmeric yellow, turmerone, turmeronol A, ukon (Japanese), ukonan A, ukonan B, ukonan C, ukonan D, yellow ginger, yellow root, yellowroot, yo-kin, yujin, zedoary, zerumbone, zingerone, Zingiberaceae (family), zingiberene, zingiberone, Zitterwurzel (German), zlut prirodni 3.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Alzheimer's disease (Grade: C)
Early research does not support the use of curcumin or turmeric for Alzheimer's disease. However, more research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Antioxidant (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that turmeric may have antioxidant effects. However, more research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Blood clot prevention (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that turmeric may prevent the formation of blood clots. However, more research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Cancer (Grade: C)
Several early studies have reported the anticancer (colon, skin, breast) properties of curcumin. Many mechanisms have been considered, including antioxidant activity, prevention of new blood vessel growth, and direct effects on cancer cells. Currently it remains unclear if turmeric or curcumin has a role in preventing or treating human cancers. There are several ongoing studies in this area.
Cholelithiasis prevention/cholagogue (Grade: C)
It has been said that there are fewer people with gallstones in India, which is sometimes credited to turmeric in the diet. Early studies have reported that curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, may decrease the occurrence of gallstones. However, reliable human studies are lacking in this area. The use of turmeric may be inadvisable in patients with active gallstones.
Cognitive function (Grade: C)
Curcumin has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and to reduce beta-amyloid and plaque burden in early studies. However, there is currently not enough evidence to suggest the use of curcumin for cognitive performance.
Eczema (Grade: C)
According to preliminary research using a combination herbal formula, turmeric may help lessen symptoms of eczema. However, the effect of turmeric alone has not been examined. Additional research is required before a conclusion can be made.
Eye problems (Grade: C)
According to early research using a combination herbal formula, turmeric may be helpful in the treatment of certain eye problems. Research has indicated that curcumin may also be beneficial. Despite these findings, the data on the efficacy of turmeric alone remain limited.
H. pylori infection (Grade: C)
According to early research, turmeric was not helpful for
Heartburn (Grade: C)
Turmeric has been traditionally used to treat stomach problems (such as indigestion from a fatty meal). There is preliminary evidence that turmeric may offer some relief from these stomach problems. However, at high doses or with prolonged use, turmeric may actually irritate or upset the stomach. Reliable human research is necessary before a conclusion can be made.
High cholesterol (Grade: C)
Early studies suggest that turmeric may lower levels of low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood. Better human studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
Inflammation (Grade: C)
Although not well studied in humans, turmeric and curcumin have both been identified as possessing anti-inflammatory properties. Reliable human research is lacking.
Irritable bowel syndrome (Grade: C)
Preliminary research has suggested that turmeric may lessen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). More studies are needed to verify these findings.
Leukoplakia (Grade: C)
Preliminary research has suggested that curcumin may reduce symptoms of oral leukoplakia (white patches in the mouth). Further research is necessary before a definitive assessment can be made.
Liver protection (Grade: C)
In traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to tone the liver. Early research suggests that turmeric may have a protective effect on the liver, but more research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Osteoarthritis (Grade: C)
Turmeric has been used historically to treat rheumatic conditions. Although not well studied in humans, turmeric and its constituent curcumin may relieve symptoms associated with osteoarthritis due to their anti-inflammatory properties. More research in humans is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Rheumatoid arthritis (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that curcumin may reduce symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. However, more research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Scabies (Grade: C)
Historically, turmeric has been used on the skin to treat chronic skin ulcers and scabies. It has also been used in combination with the leaves of the herb
Stomach ulcer (Grade: C)
Turmeric has been used historically to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers. However, at high doses or with prolonged use, turmeric may actually further irritate or upset the stomach. Currently, there is not enough human evidence to make a firm conclusion.
Surgical recovery (Grade: C)
Preliminary evidence suggests that curcumin, alone or as part of a spicy diet, may aid in the reduction of pain associated with surgery. Further research is required.
Uveitis (Grade: C)
Early studies have shown the anti-inflammatory activity of turmeric and its constituent curcumin. Reliable human research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn about the use of turmeric for uveitis (eye inflammation).
Weight loss (Grade: C)
Preliminary human research involving a combination product containing turmeric for weight loss has been conducted. At this time, high-quality studies using turmeric alone for weight loss are lacking. Additional research is required.