Curcuma longa Linn

Synonym ► C. domestica Valeton.

Family ► Zingiberaceae.

Habitat ► Cultivated all over India, particularly in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

English ► Turmeric.

Ayurvedic ► Haridraa, Priyaka, Haridruma, Kshanda, Gauri, Kaanchani, Krimighna, Varavarni-ni, Yoshitapriyaa, Hattavilaasini, Naktaahvaa, Sharvari.

Action ► Anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, hepatoprotective, blood-purifier, antioxidant, detoxi-fier and regenerator of liver tissue, antiasthmatic, anti-tumour, anticu-taneous, antiprotozoal, stomachic, carminative. Reduces high plasma cholesterol. Antiplatelet activity offers protection to heart and vessels. Also protects against DNA damage in lymphocytes.

Key application ► In dyspeptic conditions. (German Commission E, ESCOP, WHO.) As antiinflammatory, stomachic. (Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The rhizomes gave curcuminoids, the mixture known as curcumin, consisting of atleast four phenolic diaryl-heptanoids, including curcumin and monodesmethoxycurcumin; volatile oil (3-5%), containing about 60% of turmerones which are sesquiterpene ketones, and bitter principles, sugars, starch, resin.

Curcumin related phenolics possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective and hepatoprotective activities. The antioxidant activity of curcumin is comparable to standard antioxidants—vitamin C and E, BHA and BHT.

The volatile oil, also curcumin, exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models (the effects were comparable to those of cortisone and phenylbutazone). Used orally, curcumin prevents the release of inflammatory mediators. It depletes nerve endings of substance P, the neu-rotransmitter of pain receptors.

Curcuma zedoaria Rose.

Curcumin's cholesterol-lowering actions include interfering with intestinal cholesterol uptake, increasing the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids and increasing the excretion of bile acids via its choleretic effects.

Curcuminoids prevent the increases in liver enzymes, SGOT and SGPT; this validates the use of turmeric as a he-patoprotective drug in liver disorders. Curlone, obtained from the dried rhizome, is used against hepatitis.

Turmeric and curcumin increase the mucin content of the stomach and exert gastroprotective effects against stress, alcohol, drug-induced ulcer formation. (Curcumin at doses of 100 mg/kg weight exhibited ulcero-genic activity in rats.)

The ethanolic extract of the rhizome exhibited blood sugar lowering activity in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.

Piperine (a constituent of black and long pepper) enhances absorption and bioavailability of curcumin.

Dosage ► Cured rhizome—1-3 g powder. (API Vol. I.)

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