The turmeric is used in the following areas:
- Food (as a spice and food additives for color and flavor)
- Health products
The turmeric is available in the market in several products as follows:
- Fresh turmeric rhizome
- Crude powder
- Food-grade powder
- Powder capsules
- Pharmaceutical-grade capsules (often sold as herbal medicinal product)
- Capsules/tables containing extract
- High-potency tablets: standardized curcumin content (i.e. 95%)
The roots of Curcuma Longa contain various active components. The most researched component is curcumin. It is the main biologically active phytochemical compound present in turmeric. Research shows that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and a high level of antioxidant activity. The content of curcumin in the roots differs between varieties of Curcuma Longa. On average, roots contain 3% of curcumin.
There are mounting evidence from preclinical studies that curcumin exerts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and neuroprotective activities. Recent evidence from clinical trials shows that curcumin can be used for disease treatment including cancer, inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, radiation dermatitis, and ulcerative colitis), oral disease, and cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease (MIC, 2018).
Studies show turmeric to be helpful in reducing pain for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Scientists have discovered that turmeric can reduce inflammation similar to multiple blockbuster prescription drugs. This herb can modify NF-κB signaling and reduce pro-inflammatory, which cause a person to have arthritis pain. Doctors call these chemicals COX-2 and 5-LOX.
A 2017 collection of data in Tucson, Arizona revealed that in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who self-manage additional therapies to their typical prescribed medication, turmeric was the most commonly used herbal therapy due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Oxidative damage is the main process by which our body ages and ultimately is damaged. Examples of oxidation include the browning of an air-exposed apple or avocado left on the kitchen counter. Fruits and vegetables, which are highly concentrated with phytochemicals (plant chemicals), provide our body with antioxidants, which help protect the body.
Oxidative damage is commonly believed to play a causative role in cancer and heart disease. Turmeric can help prevent oxidation, according to a 2016 report in the journal Diseases.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. By 2000, 38 percent of the population had cancer. Doctors predict that by 2020, 50 percent, or 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life. A poor diet and lack of exercise are major contributors while environmental toxins, which cause oxidation to occur, also play a role.
According to some preliminary studies, Curcumin appears to have anticancer properties. A pilot study conducted in a laboratory, using cancerous cells taken from the brain, large intestine, prostate, and blood suggests that curcumin may stop cancer cells from growing. A 2013 study showed curcumin actually inhibits cancer, using many biochemical pathways. Using the various mechanisms, curcumin’s potential in the area of cancer treatment will likely lead to many possibilities in the future.
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that generally affects older adults. When it comes to brain health, Dr. Dale Bredersen of UCLA and author of the 2017 book The End of Alzheimer’s considers turmeric an important part of improving symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Many scientific studies show proof of its usefulness. One scientific study showed that turmeric may play a role in decreasing amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. The buildup of this material in the brain is believed to be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2017 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease concluded that turmeric could also play an important role in preventing memory loss. There is much excitement surrounding turmeric’s possible role in preventing mild cognitive impairment and ultimately Alzheimer’s disease. It should be considered an essential supplement for anyone wanting to optimize their memory.
Asthma is a common respiratory condition among children and adults. Doctors define it as a chronic reversible obstructive airway disease which responds to albuterol medication therapy. Fortunately, if the cause is determined and the condition is correctly diagnosed, asthma can be treated with success. Despite our ability to control asthma symptoms, preventing attacks is also very important. Curcumin appears to play an important role.
A 2010 study has demonstrated improved management of bronchial asthma with the use of turmeric when consumed with boswellia serrata and licorice root. The results showed greater prevention of excessive swelling and mucus production associated with asthma, reducing inflammation, and increasing antioxidant properties. A 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research also concluded that turmeric, when taken orally, could help improve lung function in those with asthma.