Curcuma longa (turmeric), often found in curry dishes, has a history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. In biochemical terms, turmeric is made up of three curcuminoids: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin, as well as volatile oils, sugars, proteins, and resins. Tumeric is from a rhi
zome of a ginger plant. The active ingredient is curcumin. Curcumin is also the component that gives turmeric its yellow colour.
What is Curcumin used for?
I primarily recommend curcumin to help out with my patients who I suspect have active inflammation or to aid in decreasing pain. Curcumin helps manage inflammation by supressing the release or activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (substances released by immune cells causing an effect on another cell). In addition to inflammation from injury, the process of inflammation has been shown to play a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases.
What is the research
Here is what the research has been saying about curcumen. You can take a look at the abstracts below.
- Curcumin may produce an antinociceptive effect and the endogenous analgesic opioid system is involved in the curcumin-induced antinociception.
- A13, a modified version of curcumen, attenuated the increase of plasma level of NO, TNF-α, and IL-6, significantly inhibited the increase of hepatic inflammatory gene transcription, and improved pulmonary damages. In addition, A13 (10 or 30 mg/kg, i.p.) reduced vascular permeability in Institute of Cancer Research mice and inhibited pain reaction in chemically induced inflammatory models. Together, A13 exhibits anti-inflammatory activities both in vitro and in vivo by the inhibition of various inflammatory mediators.
- Significant improvements of both the clinical and biochemical end points were observed for Meriva (a proprietary version of curcumen) compared to the control group. This, coupled with an excellent tolerability, suggests that Meriva is worth considering for the long-term complementary management of osteoarthritis.
- We conclude that curcumin suppresses the progression of K-ras-induced lung cancer in mice by inhibiting intrinsic and extrinsic inflammation and by direct anti-tumoral effects.
- Based on early cell culture and animal research, clinical trials indicate curcumin may have potential as a therapeutic agent in diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, arthritis, and chronic anterior uveitis, as well as certain types of cancer.
In my research I also discovered the following about curcumin
- Reduces blood cholesterol
- Prevents LDL oxidation
- Inhibits platelet aggregation
- Suppresses thrombosis
- Suppression of symptoms of osteoarthritis
- Suppresses symptoms associated with type II diabetes
- Suppresses symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Suppresses symptoms of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease
- Inhibits HIV replication
- Enhances wound healing
- Protects liver from injury
- Increases bile secretion
- Protects against cataract formation
- Protects from pulmonary toxicity and fibrosis
- There is extensive literature that suggests that curcumin has potential in the in cancer care
* It should be noted that these results have yet to be confirmed in human studies. Further human studies are necessary
Is it safe?
Research has found using Curcumin to be safe to consume. Studies using 3.6 to 12 g per day have had few side effects (nausea and diarrhea). There is some indication that curcumin may cause iron deficiency.
Presently at my two Chiropractic offices (Downtown Chiropractic and Gelley Chiropractic) we sell a product by Adeeva, called Nature’s Relief, which contains curcumin along with other natural pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
If you are seeking pain relief using curcumin may be an option for you.
The only duel credentialed Chiropractor and Athletic Therapist in Winnipeg
P.S. Ask your health care profession before trying products especially if you are presently on any other medications.
P.P.S If you would like to read some of the research on curcumin read some of the abstracts below
1. The effect of curcumin (active substance of turmeric) on the acetic acid-induced visceral nociception in rats.
Tajik H, Tamaddonfard E, Hamzeh-Gooshchi N. Department of Food Hygiene, College of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran.
Abstract In the present study, the effect of chronic oral administration of curcumin in the presence or absence of morphine and noloxone was investigated on the visceral nociception induced by acetic acid in rats. Intraperitoneal injection of acetic acid (1 mL, 2%) produced contractions in the abdominal musculature (writhes). The latency time to the beginning of the first writhe was measured and the total number of writhes in the 1 h after acetic acid injection was counted. The latency time to the beginning of the first writhe was significantly (p < 0.05) increased and the number of writhes was significantly (p < 0.05) decreased by curcumin (20 and 40 mg kg(-1) body weight). The same results were obtained after subcutaneous injection of morphine (1 mg kg(-1) b.wt.). Naloxone at the dose of 1 mg kg(-1) body weight had no effect on pain intensity. Curcumin significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced the effect of morphine on the visceral pain responses, however did not reverse the effect of naloxone. Present data suggest that in the acetic acid-induced visceral nociception of rats, curcumin may produce an antinociceptive effect and the endogenous analgesic opioid system is involved in the curcumin-induced antinociception.
2. A Novel Synthetic Mono-Carbonyl Analogue of Curcumin, A13, Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Effects In vivo by Inhibition of Inflammatory Mediators
Inflammation. 2011 May 26
Wang Y, Yu C, Pan Y, Yang X, Huang Y, Feng Z, Li X, Yang S, Liang G. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Research Center, School of Pharmaceutical Science, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, 325035, China.
Curcumin is a pleiotropic molecule against inflammatory related diseases. However, poor bioavailability greatly limits its application in clinic. Our previous study synthesized and evaluated a hydrosoluble mono-carbonyl analogue of curcumin, (2E,5E)-2,5-bis(4-(3-(dimethylamino)-propoxy)benzylidene)cyclopentanone (A13). In the present study, we further evaluated the anti-inflammatory effect of A13 in vivo. In lipopolysaccharide-challenged mice, pretreatment of A13 (15 mg/kg, i.v.) attenuated the increase of plasma level of NO, TNF-α, and IL-6, significantly inhibited the increase of hepatic inflammatory gene transcription, and improved pulmonary damages. In addition, A13 (10 or 30 mg/kg, i.p.) reduced vascular permeability in Institute of Cancer Research mice and inhibited pain reaction in chemically induced inflammatory models. Together, A13 exhibits anti-inflammatory activities both in vitro and in vivo by the inhibition of various inflammatory mediators.
3.Efficacy and safety of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients.
Altern Med Rev. 2010 Dec;15(4):337-44
Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Pellegrini L, Ledda A, Grossi MG, Togni S, Appendino G. Irvine3 Circulation-Vascular Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Chieti-Pescara University, Italy.
In a previous three-month study of Meriva, a proprietary curcumin-phosphatidylcholine phytosome complex, decreased joint pain and improvement in joint function were observed in 50 osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Since OA is a chronic condition requiring prolonged treatment, the long-term efficacy and safety of Meriva were investigated in a longer (eight months) study involving 100 OA patients. The clinical end points (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities [WOMAC] score, Karnofsky Performance Scale Index, and treadmill walking performance) were complemented by the evaluation of a series of inflammatory markers (interleukin [IL]-1beta, IL-6, soluble CD40 ligand [sCD40L], soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM)-1, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR]). This represents the most ambitious attempt, to date, to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent. Significant improvements of both the clinical and biochemical end points were observed for Meriva compared to the control group. This, coupled with an excellent tolerability, suggests that Meriva is worth considering for the long-term complementary management of osteoarthritis.
4. Efficacy of turmeric (curcumin) in pain and postoperative fatigue after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study.
Surg Endosc. 2011 Jun 14.
Tripathi CD, Agarwal BB, Saluja S. Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India,
Better patient-reported outcomes (PROs) of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) are premised upon PROs such as postoperative pain and fatigue. These PROs are indices of convalescence and return to normal activity. Curcumin (turmeric) is used in India for traumatic pain and fatigue for its anti-inflammatory/antioxidant and tissue modulation/healing properties. We studied the effect of curcumin on pain and postoperative fatigue in patients of LC.
From July to September 2009, 50 consecutive day-care LC candidates were enrolled for a prospective, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study. A uniform general anesthesia and analgesia protocol was followed. Curcumin/placebo and rescue analgesic were prescribed at discharge. Patients were told to maintain pain/fatigue/adverse event diaries based upon 100-point visual analog pain scale (VAS) and 10-point interval rating fatigue scale (IRS). Patients were followed up at third day (D3), first week (W1), second week (W2), and third week (W3). The blind labels were opened at the end of study.
Demographic characteristics, comorbidity, and gallbladder pathology profiles were comparable in the study (n = 25) and control groups (n = 25). There was no adverse surgical outcome, adverse PRO or withdrawal. Pain and fatigue scores at D3 were similar in the two groups. At W1 and W2, the study group showed significantly lower (p value 0.000) mean pain scores, i.e., 15 ± 5.204 versus 30 ± 13 in controls. Fatigue scores at W1, W2, and W3 were significantly lower (p value 0.000) in the study group, i.e., 2.16 ± 1.748, 1, and 0, respectively, versus 5.16 ± 1.375, 4.20 ± 1.633, and 1 in controls. All patients were pain free at W3. Analgesic tablet usage was significantly lower (p value 0.000) in the study group, i.e., 6.96 ± 1.837 versus 39.32 ± 16.509 in controls.
Turmeric (curcumin) improves postoperative pain- and fatigue-related PROs following LC.
5. Uses of turmeric in dentistry: An update
6. Curcumin inhibits COPD-like airway inflammation and lung cancer progression in mice
S.J. Moghaddam,1*P. Barta,2 S.G. Mirabolfathinejad,1 Z. Ammar-Aouchiche,1N. Torres Garza,3 T.T. Vo,1 Robert A. Newman,4Bharat B. Aggarwal,4 Christopher M. Evans,1,5 Michael J. Tuvim,1,5 Reuben Lotan,2 and Burton F. Dickey1,5
Recent studies have demonstrated that K-ras mutations in lung epithelial cells elicit inflammation that promotes carcinogenesis in mice (intrinsic inflammation). The finding that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory disease of the lung, have an increased risk of lung cancer after controlling for smoking suggests a further link between lung cancer and extrinsic inflammation. Besides exposure to cigarette smoke, it is thought that airway inflammation in COPD is caused by bacterial colonization, particularly with non-typeable Hemophilus influenzae (NTHi). Previously, we have shown that NTHi-induced COPD-like airway inflammation promotes lung cancer in an airway conditional K-ras-induced mouse model. To further test the role of inflammation in cancer promotion, we administered the natural anti-inflammatory agent, curcumin, 1% in diet before and during weekly NTHi exposure. This significantly reduced the number of visible lung tumors in the absence of NTHi exposure by 85% and in the presence of NTHi exposures by 53%. Mechanistically, curcumin markedly suppressed NTHi-induced increased levels of the neutrophil chemoattractant keratinocyte-derived chemokine by 80% and neutrophils by 87% in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. In vitro studies of murine K-ras-induced lung adenocarcinoma cell lines (LKR-10 and LKR-13) indicated direct anti-tumoral effects of curcumin by reducing cell viability, colony formation and inducing apoptosis. We conclude that curcumin suppresses the progression of K-ras-induced lung cancer in mice by inhibiting intrinsic and extrinsic inflammation and by direct anti-tumoral effects. These findings suggest that curcumin could be used to protract the premalignant phase and inhibit lung cancer progression in high-risk COPD patients.
7. Curcumin Structure-Function, Bioavailability, and Efficacy in Models of Neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease
Aynun N. Begum, Mychica R. Jones, Giselle P. Lim, Takashi Morihara, Peter Kim, Dennis D. Heath, Cheryl L. Rock, Mila A. Pruitt, Fusheng Yang, Beverly Hudspeth, Shuxin Hu, Kym F. Faull, Bruce Teter, Greg M. Cole, and Sally A. Frautschy
Curcumin can reduce inflammation and neurodegeneration, but its chemical instability and metabolism raise concerns, including whether the more stable metabolite tetrahydrocurcumin (TC) may mediate efficacy. We examined the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or anti-amyloidogenic effects of dietary curcumin and TC, either administered chronically to aged Tg2576 APPsw mice or acutely to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-injected wild-type mice. Despite dramatically higher drug plasma levels after TC compared with curcumin gavage, resulting brain levels of parent compounds were similar, correlating with reduction in LPS-stimulated inducible nitric-oxide synthase, nitrotyrosine, F2 isoprostanes, and carbonyls. In both the acute (LPS) and chronic inflammation (Tg2576), TC and curcumin similarly reduced interleukin-1β. Despite these similarities, only curcumin was effective in reducing amyloid plaque burden, insoluble β-amyloid peptide (Aβ), and carbonyls. TC had no impact on plaques or insoluble Aβ, but both reduced Tris-buffered saline-soluble Aβ and phospho-c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK). Curcumin but not TC prevented Aβ aggregation. The TC metabolite was detected in brain and plasma from mice chronically fed the parent compound. These data indicate that the dienone bridge present in curcumin, but not in TC, is necessary to reduce plaque deposition and protein oxidation in an Alzheimer’s model. Nevertheless, TC did reduce neuroinflammation and soluble Aβ, effects that may be attributable to limiting JNK-mediated transcription. Because of its favorable safety profile and the involvement of misfolded proteins, oxidative damage, and inflammation in multiple chronic degenerative diseases, these data relating curcumin dosing to the blood and tissue levels required for efficacy should help translation efforts from multiple successful preclinical models.
8. Potential Therapeutic Effects of Curcumin, the Anti-inflammatory Agent, Against Neurodegenerative, Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, Metabolic, Autoimmune and Neoplastic Diseases
Bharat B. Aggarwal1and Kuzhuvelil B. Harikumar
Although safe in most cases, ancient treatments are ignored because neither their active component nor their molecular targets are well defined. This is not the case, however, with curcumin, a yellow-pigment substance and component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), which was identified more than a century ago. For centuries it has been known that turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory activity, but extensive research performed within the past two decades has shown that the this activity of turmeric is due to curcumin, a diferuloylmethane. This agent has been shown to regulate numerous transcription factors, cytokines, protein kinases, adhesion molecules, redox status and enzymes that have been linked to inflammation. The process of inflammation has been shown to play a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases. In the current review, we provide evidence for the potential role of curcumin in the prevention and treatment of various pro-inflammatory chronic diseases. These features, combined with the pharmacological safety and negligible cost, render curcumin an attractive agent to explore further.
9. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research.
Curcuma longa (turmeric) has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for inflammatory conditions. Turmeric constituents include the three curcuminoids: curcumin (diferuloylmethane; the primary constituent and the one responsible for its vibrant yellow color), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin, as well as volatile oils (tumerone, atlantone, and zingiberone), sugars, proteins, and resins. While numerous pharmacological activities, including antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, have been attributed to curcumin, this article focuses on curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties and its use for inflammatory conditions. Curcumin’s effect on cancer (from an anti-inflammatory perspective) will also be discussed; however, an exhaustive review of its many anticancer mechanisms is outside the scope of this article. Research has shown curcumin to be a highly pleiotropic molecule capable of interacting with numerous molecular targets involved in inflammation. Based on early cell culture and animal research, clinical trials indicate curcumin may have potential as a therapeutic agent in diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, arthritis, and chronic anterior uveitis, as well as certain types of cancer. Because of curcumin’s rapid plasma clearance and conjugation, its therapeutic usefulness has been somewhat limited, leading researchers to investigate the benefits of complexing curcumin with other substances to increase systemic bioavailability. Numerous in-progress clinical trials should provide an even deeper understanding of the mechanisms and therapeutic potential of curcumin.