Curcumin

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Turmeric is a spice derived from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, which is a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Rhizomes are horizontal underground stems that send out shoots as well as roots. The bright yellow color of turmeric comes mainly from polyphenolic pigments, known as curcuminoids . Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid found in turmeric, and is generally considered its most active constituent. Other curcuminoids found in turmeric include demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. In addition to its use as a spice and a pigment, turmeric has been used in India for medicinal purposes for centuries. More recently, evidence that curcumin may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities has renewed scientific interest in its potential to prevent and treat disease.

Summary

* Turmeric is a spice derived from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family.

* Curcuminoids are polyphenolic compounds that give turmeric its yellow color.

* Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid in turmeric.

* The results of phase I clinical trials in colorectal cancer patients suggest that biologically active levels of curcumin can be achieved in the gastrointestinal tract through oral curcumin supplementation, and provide support for further clinical evaluation in people at risk for gastrointestinal cancers.

* As a result of promising findings in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, clinical trials of curcumin supplementation in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease are under way.

* Until the safety and efficacy of curcumin in individuals with cystic fibrosis has been evaluated in clinical trials, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation does not recommend the use of curcumin as a therapy for cystic fibrosis.

* Although a few preliminary trials suggest that curcumin may have anti-inflammatory activity in humans, larger randomized controlled trials are needed to determine whether oral curcumin supplementation is effective in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. (More Information)

To read the complete article, visit: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/

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