Turmeric

What is Turmeric (Curcuma longa)?

Turmeric — also known as the first part of its scientific name, Curcuma — is a medicinal and aromatic plant native to Southwest India that has been widely used in both eastern and western cuisines, as well as a part of Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine.

Turmeric is part of some spice mixes, such as curry, giving it a characteristic aroma and flavor. It is currently used by the food industry, giving some food aromatic properties; by the cosmetic industry, in perfume and fragrance formulas; and by the textile industry, where it's used as a dye.

The main bioactive constituent of turmeric, curcumin, has garnered the interest of the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries in more recent years, although traditional medicines had already been exploring its potential therapeutic benefits for centuries. Curcumin is nowadays available in food supplement form and is often paired with piperine, the bioactive compound of black pepper, for increased absorption.

Studies have assessed the potential benefits of curcumin (a bioactive constituent of turmeric) in the:

  • Management of oxidative stress
  • Management of the inflammatory condition
  • Management of pathological pain
  • Improvement of memory impairment

References

Bruneton, J. Pharmacognosie: Phytochimie, plantes médicinales. 2nd ed. Paris: Lavoisier Éditeur scientifique, technique et médical; 1993

El-Kenawy AE-M. et al. Tumeric or Curcuma longa Linn. Nonvitamin and Nonmineral Nutritional Supplements. 2019:447-453. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-812491-8.00059-x

Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Antioxidant And Anti-Inflammatory Properties Of Curcumin. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2007:105-125. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_3

Nair K. P. P., 12-Neutraceutical properties of Turmeric. In: The Agronomy and Economy of Turmeric and Ginger, The Invaluable Medicinal Spice Crops. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2013: 179–204

Sarker MR, Franks SF. Efficacy of curcumin for age-associated cognitive decline: a narrative review of preclinical and clinical studies. GeroScience. 2018;40:73–95. doi.org/10.1007/s11357-018-0017-z

Sun J. et al. Role of curcumin in the management of pathological pain. Phytomedicine. 2018;48:129-140. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2018.04.045

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