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Herbs: Curcuma longa (Curcumin)


Curcuma longa
FAMILY: Zingiberaceae

COMMON NAME: Turmeric

GENERAL:
tall perennial w/o stems
rhizome is fleshy, palmate, orange interior
leaves lanceolate
multiple yellow flowers
not well absorbed orally (40%-85% is absorbed)
take w equal amounts of bromelain or in a lipid base may enhance absorption

PART USED:
root or rhizome, yellow/orange in color, staining

HABITAT:
native to India, China, Indonesia & other tropics

TRADITIONAL USES:
heating action
decreases Kapha
builds Vata & Pitta
bitter, astringent, pungent

CONSTITUENTS:
curcuminoids (diarylheptanoids): curcumin (diferuloylmethan), monodesmethoxycurcumin,
bisdesmethoxycurcumin, cyclocurcumin, demethoxycurcumin

volatile Oils: Sesquiterpenes [alpha- & beta-turmerone, artumerone, alpha- & gamma-atlantone, curlone, zingiberene, curcumol.

starch [uconan A, ukonan B, ukonan C]; Protein; Caffeic acid.i

ACTIONS:
antiinflammatory
antioxidant
anti-hepatotoxic
choleretic
hypolipidemic
antagonist of Platelet Aggregating Factor (PAF)
anti-neoplastic
carminative
stimulant
alterative
antibacterial
vulnerary

INDICATIONS:
liver & digestive complaints
dysmenorrhea
jaundice
inflammation
elevated cholesterol
tendency to clot
dyspepsia (stims gall bladder)
wounds, bruises, sprains, leech bites & inflamed joints (external applications, w/ honey)
Ayurvedic uses: indigestion, poor circulation, cough, antibacterial pharyngitis, skin disorders, diabetes, arthritis, anemia, wounds, & bruises
natural antibiotic that strengthens digestion & improves intestinal flora
purify blood & stimulate the formation of new blood
cleanse the chakras, purify the channels
stretch ligaments (Hatha Yoga)
supports proper metabolism
aiding the assimilation of protein
milk decoction: tonic to the skin

RESEARCH FINDINGS:
anti-oxidant: curcumin can protect DNA against single strand breaks induced by O-
lipophilic, however water-soluble extracts have also sig anti-ox
(slightly weaker than vit C, slightly stronger than E & BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)
used as an antioxidant (& bright color) in butter, margarine & cheeses
water-soluble turmerin has antiox, DNA protectant & anti-mutagenic properties
anti-inflam: mostly ct curcumin
oral: inhibits neut fx, plt agg, lymphocyte activity,
promotes fibrinolysis, & stabilizes lysosomal membranes
sodium curcuminate (turmeric mixed with slaked lime) best anti-inflam
lipid modulation: Oral turmerin & curcumin extracts decr total chol, LDL chol & incr HDL
induces hepatic chol-7-alpha-hydroxlase-->incr conversion of chol to bile
inhib thromboxane formation-->inhib plt agg
incr prostacyclin-->inhib plt agg

DOSING:
liquid extract (1:1 45% EtOH or higher): 5-14 ml QD in 4-5 equal doses
powdered herb: 4 g (heaped teaspoon) in h2o QD-BID, add 1 tsp lethicin-->incr absorption
powdered herb may be better for anti-inflam

TOXICITY and CIs
avoid in cases of bile duct obstruction, hyperchlorhydria & pregnancy
caution in gall stone treatment
evidence goes both ways on stomach ulcers
(at high doses i.e. 100 mg/kg body weight, in rats, curcumin is ulcerogenic)
caution: acute jaundice & hepatitis, high Pitta

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