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Date : 2018-6-8 3:35:40 Views :

Turmeric, known as Curcuma longa L., belongs to the Zingiberaceae or ginger family. It is a flowering plant, a perennial herb that measures about 40 inches in height and has white flowers. 

It has creeping tuberous rhizomes that are harvested for food. It is distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world, such as Asia, Africa and the Americas. The rhizomes are harvested and processed before they are ground to yield the yellow powder known as turmeric. The yellow colored compound of turmeric was isolated in 1842 and was named curcumin. There are several curcuminoids that have slightly different chemical structures. The curcuminoids are phenols and hence are strong antioxidants. However, turmeric and curcuminoids are non-toxic. 

Because of its chemical structure, curcumin is a strong antioxidant and free radical scavenger and can therefore prevent diseases that involve damage caused by free radicals. 

There are many uses for turmeric in the traditional Asian and Indian medicine.Turmeric is used in cases of biliary disorders,intestinal disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorder, pain, rheumatism andsinusitis, cancer, psoriasis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Culinary uses of Turmeric 

As a powder, turmeric has been used as a spice in vegetable and meat preparations in many Asian countries for centuries. Turmeric adds a distinctive yellow color and flavor to foods. It is rarely used alone, but is combined with several other spices to make vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries, sauces and spice blends. In prepared foods, turmeric is used in mustard, mayonnaise, chutneys, pickles and sauces. Turmeric is used in meat, poultry and fish in addition to vegetables dishes. It is used for its color and taste in foods, and as a fresh root, it can be added to beverages such as tea for its medicinal effects. Turmeric is non-toxic and can be consumed daily. 

Turmeric, oxidative stress and inflammation

Inflammation is caused by the release of chemicals in the cells called inflammatory cyto-kines. Oxidative stress is the build up of free radicals in cells. Curcuminoids, due to their structure that contains benzene rings and hydroxyl groups, are strong anti-oxidants and can reduce the concentration of free radical compounds such as hydroxyl radicals, superoxide radicals, singlet oxygen and nitric oxide in biological systems. Elimi-nating these reactive oxygen species can help prevent LDL oxidation and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, can-cer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and alcoholic liver disease. Curcu-minoids can also improve the antioxidant status in the body by increasing the circulation of antioxidant vitamins C and E, and enhancing other enzyme systems. 

Curcuminoids have been shown to suppress the produc-tion of a number of inflamma-tory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, interleukin-8, interleukin-12 and chemokines that are re-leased in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, cancer and asthma, and by ex-ternal stressors. Curcuminoids can inhibit NF-kappa B, a fac-tor that is involved in stimula-tion of the immune system when an individual is subjected to stresses such as radiation or infection. Curcuminoids stop the immune system from re-sponding by blocking a reac-tion that would lead to a host of negative responses. They also decrease the levels of inflam-matory prostaglandins E(1), E(2), F(2a) and D(2) that cause pain, fever and blood clotting. 

Product Name

Turmeric extract

Botanical Source

Curcuma longa L

Part Used



95% Curcuminoids


Yellow Powder

Reference:  Turmeric

Pennington Nutrition Series No 91

Author: Heli J. Roy, PhD, MBA, RD Division of Education
Pennington Biomedical Research Center 
Reviewed by Dr. Sita Aggarwal

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