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Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 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, kumkum, 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 (French), 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.
  • Combination product examples: Chinese herbal extract Number Ten is a dietary herbal formulation prepared from rhubarb, ginger, astragalus, red sage, and turmeric. Smoke Shield is a proprietary formulation containing extract of turmeric (Curcuma longa), extracts of green tea, and other herbs. Protandim is an antioxidant supplement that consists of ashwagandha, bacopa extract, green tea extract, silymarin, and curcumin. Tiao ZhiAn mixture contains the mixed volatile oils of Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort., Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels, and Curcuma longa L. Ilogen-Excel is composed of eight medicinal plants (Curcuma longa, Strychnos potatorum, Salacia oblonga, Tinospora cordifolia, Vetivelia zizanioides, Coscinium fenestratum, Andrographis paniculata, and Mimosa pudica). Purnark is a mixture of extracts of turmeric, betel leaf, and catechu. JCICM-6 contains turmeric, as well as Sinomenium acutum, Aconitum carmichaeli Debx., Paeonia lactiflora Pall., and Paeonia suffruticosa Andr.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Turmeric is a spice, commonly used in Asian food, derived from the root of the turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) plant. The plant is a perennial herb and a member of the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family. Curcumin is the yellow-colored primary active constituent derived from turmeric, 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." Contemporary laboratory and animal research has indicated that curcumin may exert a number of potentially therapeutic effects. Examples include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative, neuroprotective, and insecticidal properties. However, clinical evidence for these benefits is lacking. It should be noted that the majority of research has focused primarily on the constituent curcumin, not extracts or other preparations of the whole spice.
  • Preliminary human evidence, albeit of poor quality, suggests possible efficacy in the management of several medical conditions, including dyspepsia, Helicobacter pylori infection, pain, leukoplakia, osteoarthritis, and hyperlipidemia.
  • However, treatment with curcumin is difficult due to poor bioavailability and solubility in water (1;2). Other curcumin formulations have been developed, with increased solubility and bioavailability being the final goals; however, despite benefits in vitro, in vivo results are not as common (3;4;5;6;7;8;9;10;11;12;13;14;15;16;17;18;19;20;21;22;23;24;25;26;27;28;29;30;31;32;33;34;35;36;37;38;39;40;41;42;43;44;45;46;47;48). Microemulsion carriers for some ultrasonic drug delivery of curcumin have also been studied (49). High-quality clinical evidence for the use of turmeric in any human indication is lacking.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.