Turmeric Curcuma longa

Turmeric health benefits keep growing in the scientific literature. Such an amazing herb!



Inflammation & cancer – contains more that two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds (incl. six different COX-2 inhibitors). Among it’s demonstrated actions are inhibition of elastase, interleukin-12, leukotrienes, lipxygenase, hyluronidase, nitric oxide, phospholipase, prostaglandisn and tumour necrosis factor alpha. (Anticancer Res. 2003 Jan-Feb;23(1A):363-98.)
How strong is it? – In studies on rats and monkeys it was found to be as effective as cortisone or phenylbutazone in acute inflammation, and half as effective in chronic inflammation. (Alt Med Rev Vol 6, Supplement 2001: S-63)
Uveitis – in rabbits with endotoxin-induced uveitis the aqueous extract of turmeric was a potent anti-inflammatory (Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Sep;49(9):4036-40. Epub 2008 Apr 17)


Compared to fluoxetine – in mice, turmeric was a stronger (and dose dependant) antidepressant than the antidepressant fluoxetine, and may be mediated in part through MAO A inhibition. It also demonstrated a synergistic effect when given with various antidepressant drugs, increasing serotonin (5-HT). (J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Nov;83(1-2):161-5.)
How does it work? – antidepressant effects may be mediated through action in the central monaminergic neurotransmitter systems (Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005 Sep;82(1):200-6.)
Is related to the serotonergic system and may be mediated by an interaction with 5-HT (1/1B) and 5-HT (2C) receptors (Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Jan 6;578(1):43-50. Epub 2007 Sep 19.)
Inhibited Neisseria gonorrhoeae – by preventing bacteria from adhering to cells late in the infection, and with no toxicity to cells. (Biol Chem. 2005 May;386(5):481-90.)
MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. An ethyl acetate extract showed antibacterial activity against this. (Phytother Res. 2005 Jul;19(7):599-604)
Anti-fungal – an alcohol extract of Turmeric was more effective than pure curcumin. The essential oil is stronger still. (Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2000;31 Suppl 1:178-82.)
Worms – the oil extract of Turmeric was stronger than praziquantel (PZQ) in reducing egg count. It was also very effective in lowering the worm (S. mansoni) burden in a study done on mice. (Indian J Exp Biol. 2007 Sep;45(9):791-801)
S. aureus – Staphylococcus aureus. This common cause of staph infection was suppressed by isolated phytochemicals from Turmeric. (J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 16;53(23):9005-9.)
Reduced symptoms associated with H. pylori – while turmeric was not directly effective for H. pylori, it did reduce the symptoms that are associated with this infection significantly, including reduce inflammation. (Helicobacter. 2007 Jun;12(3):238-43.)


Type of extract – water and fat-soluble extracts of turmeric have shown strong antioxidant activity. (Alt Med Rev Vol 6, Supplement 2001: S-63)
Free radical scavenger & chelation – inhibited 97.3% lipid peroxidation of linoleic acid emulsion (at 15 micro g/ml) and had an effective superoxide and anion radical scavenging action, as well as hydrogen peroxide, ferric ions, and ferrous ions chelating activity (Chem Biol Interact. 2008 Jul 10;174(1):27-37. Epub 2008 May 7.)
Cataracts – in a study using Wister rats to study the development of cataracts caused by selenium administration, turmeric protected against opacity of the lens. (Indian J Exp Biol. 2004 Jun;42(6):601-3.)
In the liver – a study on mice demonstrated antioxidant activity with the use of an alcohol extract in food to prevent the deposition of triacylglycerols in the liver. (Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1999 Dec;63(12):2118-22.)

Auto-immune Disease

Various auto-immune conditions – curcumin may be effective in many auto-immune disorders including Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, and inflammatory Bowel Disease (J Immunol. 2002 Jun 15;168(12):6506-13.) You can see the full article for free here.


Cancers – has been effective in animal models against colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis, esophageal cancer, and oral cancer, inhibiting cancer at the stage of initiation, promotion , and progression both in vitro and in vivo. (Alt Med Rev Vol 6, Supplement 2001: S-63)
cancer cell death was shown to occur through decrease of telomerase expression followed by cell death. (Int J Mol Med. 2006 Aug;18(2):227-31.)
Phase I clinical trial using curcumin, demonstrated safety at dosages up to 8000 mg/day orally, as well as biologic effect in chemoprevention of cancer. (Anticancer Res. 2001 Jul-Aug;21(4B):2895-900.)
Leukaemia – in mice curcumin inhibited WEHI-3 cells and reduced the weight of the liver and spleen. (In Vivo. 2008 Jan-Feb;22(1):63-8.)
Stopped the growth of T cell leukaemia (Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Feb 10;340(2):359-68. Epub 2005 Dec 13.)
Carcinogenesis – studies using humans cells have demonstrated the ability of curcumin to inhibit carcinogenesis at three stages – tumour promotion, angiogenesis, and tumour growth. (Alt Med Rev Vol 6, Supplement 2001: S-63)
Anti-carcinogenic – the effects of turmeric and curcumin for the prevention of cancer are partly due to its antioxidant and free-radical scavenging effects. They also promote the body’s own natural antioxidants such as increasing glutathione levels, promoting detoxification through the liver, and inhibiting formation of nitrosamine. (Alt Med Rev Vol 6, Supplement 2001: S-63)
Lymphocytes – the alcohol extract of turmeric was found to both stimulate lymphocytes while at the same time promoting tumour cell death (Int Immunopharmacol. 2005 Sep;5(10):1574-81. Epub 2005 Apr 14.)
Chromosomal mutation – turmeric was shown to have a dose dependant protection against mutation of chromosomes in Cyclophophamide (a mutagen) treated Wister rats (Mutat Res. 2002 Mar 25;515(1-2):197-202)
Ovarian cancer – showed chemo preventive action in human ovarian (cells) cancer. (Cell Biol Int. 2006 Mar;30(3):221-6. Epub 2005 Dec 22.)
Cervical cancer – promising anti-tumour activity in HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) associated tumours. (Mol Carcinog. 2006 May;45(5):320-32.)
Interaction with drugs – curcumin has demonstrated that it is very useful when used with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs, including reversing multi-drug-resistant cancers. (Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Nov 15;68(10):2043-52.) (BMC Cancer. 2004 Apr 17;4:13.)
Radiosensitizer – some cancers, such as cervical cancer and prostate cancer, are highly radioresistant and frequently result in treatment failure. Curcumin has demonstrated a potent ability to increase the sensitivity of such cancers to this radiation treatment. (Mol Pharmacol. 2008 May;73(5):1491-501. Epub 2008 Feb 5.) (Oncogene. 2004 Feb 26;23(8):1599-607.) (Mol Cancer Ther. 2003 Jan;2(1):95-103.)
Skin cancer – topical application of turmeric preparation was effective in preventing skin tumours caused by chemical (croton oil) (Nutr Cancer. 2002;44(1):66-70.)
Brain tumour – a polyphenolic compound derived from turmeric was tested for efficacy in glioblastoma, and was found to cause tumour cell death using two proteolytic pathways (receptor-mediated and mitochondria-mediated). (Neurosci Lett. 2006 Oct 16;407(1):53-8. Epub 2006 Sep 1.)
Colon cancer – curcumin inhibited DNA synthesis and caused cell death in a study on colon cancer cells. (Planta Med. 2007 Jul;73(8):725-30. Epub 2007 Jun 22.)


Compared to Aspirin – A phytochemical found in turmeric (ar-turmerone) was found to be more effective than aspirin for inhibiting platelet aggregation caused by collagen and arachidonic acid. (Bioresour Technol. 2006 Aug;97(12):1372-6. Epub 2005 Aug 19.)
Preventing cardiovascular disease – curcumin (a phytochemical in turmeric) was studies using pig coronary arteries, revealing that curcumin may be useful in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia and for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. (J Vasc Surg. 2004 Dec;40(6):1216-22.)
Healing – may play a “critical role” in healing from vascular injury and cardiovascular disease. (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 Jan;26(1):85-90. Epub 2005 Oct 20)


Changes gene expression – resulting in lowered cholesterol. (J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Feb;18(2):113-9. Epub 2006 May 18)


Blood glucose – rats given tetrahydrocurcumin (THC), a major metabolite of curcumin, had a decrease in the level of blood glucose and plasma glycoproteins. (Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2007 Mar;62(1):25-9. Epub 2007 Jan 17)
Cataracts – both turmeric and its isolated phytochemical, curcumin, inhibited the development of diabetic cataracts in rats, with turmeric as a whole being more effective than curcumin alone (Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jun;46(6):2092-9.)
Kidney disfunction – diabetic rats treated with curcumin showed a reduction in oxidative stress was protective of the kidneys. (Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2006 Oct;33(10):940-5.)

Liver Protection

Protection in hyperlipidemic disorder – a disorder, caused by smoking and drinking. Curcumin had a protective action. (Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Aug;288(1-2):115-23. Epub 2006 May 12)


Nerve growth (neurogenesis) – in vitro studies on curcumin have revealed some promising results that may be beneficial in health conditions such as aging and diabetes, where neurogenesis is compromised. This was just one single constituent from Turmeric, and more research is needed to see if Turmeric would have the same effect as curcumin alone. Also, studies done on animals and people don’t always have the same results as in vitro studies. (JBC Papers in Press. March 24, 2008 as Manuscript M708373200)
Alzheimer’s Disease – blocks the formation of both soluble and insoluble beta-amyloid, responsible for the plaques that are often seen in cerebral tissue in Alzheimer’s disease. Doses to achieve this were reletively small at only 160 ppm. (ABCs Herb Clip # 010383-356)
Neural Protection – in cerebral ischemia. The oil from the rhizomes used to treat ischemic rats showed significant decreases in cell death compared to the untreated rats. (Nitric Oxide. 2008 Aug;19(1):1-11. Epub 2008 Apr 26)