A relative of ginger, turmeric is a perennial plant that grows 3 to 5 feet high, with trumpet-shaped, dull yellow flowers. Turmeric is fragrant and has a bitter, somewhat sharp taste.
Rhizomes and tubers
Aromatic, stimulant, tonic and carminative.
Actions and uses in ayurveda
Kustha, prameham, pandu, rakta-dosham, krimi, vranam, pinasam, tvagroga, sitapitta.
Digestive disorders, osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, liver diseases, bacterial infections, wounds and eye diseases.
Turmeric contains an essential oil, an alkaloid, Curcumin-a thick yellow coloring matter and viscid oil.
Properties and action
Rasa: tikta, katu
Guna: ruksha, laghu
Karma: Kaphapittanut, visaghna, varnya, kusthaghna, krmighna, pramehnasaka
Preparations: Powder, extract
Therapeutic classification index
- Digestive system: it is used as antihelmentic and is administered in intermittent fever. It is used in flatulence, dyspepsia and weak state of stomach. Curcumin has been shown to stimulate the production of bile and to facilitate the emptying of the gallbladder. . In an animal study, extracts of turmeric root reduced secretion of acid from the stomach and protected against injuries such as inflammation along the stomach (gastritis) or intestinal walls and ulcers from certain medications, stress, or alcohol
- Skin: it is used in ringworms, urticaria, leprosy, eczema and prurigo
Antioxidant activities of turmeric
Curcumin from turmeric, as well as other substances in this herb, have antioxidant properties, which some claim may be as strong as vitamins C and E.
Anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric
1) Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A study of people using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals containing turmeric as well as Withania Somnifera and other herbs significantly reduced pain and disability.
Curcumine from Curcuma longa and the gum resin of Boswellia serrata, which were demonstrated to act as anti-inflammatories in in vivo animal models, were studied in a set of in vitro experiments in order to elucidate the mechanism of their beneficial effects. Curcumine inhibited the 5-lipoxygenase activity in rat peritoneal neutrophils as well as the 12-lipoxygenase and the cyclooxygenase activities in human platelets. In a cell free peroxidation system curcumine exerted strong antioxidative activity
Ammon HP, Safayhi H, Mack T, Sabieraj J. Department of Pharmacology, Eberhard-Karls University, Tubingen, FRG.
Use of turmeric as an anti-cancerous drug
Evidence from laboratory and animal studies suggests that Curcumin has potential in the treatment of various forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon
Use of turmeric in treating Roundworm and Intestinal worm infection
Laboratory studies suggest that curcuminoids, the active components of turmeric, may reduce the destructive activity of parasites or roundworms
Use of turmeric in clearing toxins
Animal studies provide evidence that turmeric can protect the liver from a number of damaging substances such as carbon tetrachloride and acetaminophen (also called Paracetamol, this medication, used commonly for headache and pain, can cause liver damage if taken in large quantities or in someone who drinks alcohol regularly.) Turmeric accomplishes this, in part, by helping to clear such toxins from the body and by protecting the liver from damage.
Oral administration of aqueous extract of turmeric has been reported to reduce the severity of CCl4 as well as iron-induced liver injury. It has been shown that CCl4-induced lipid peroxidation can be obstructed by antioxidants
Protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats.
The protective effect of turmeric extract (TE) in diet on CCl4-treated rats was studied. Rats were divided into 5 groups: (1) untreated, (2) CCl4 treated, (3) pre-TE for 2 weeks followed by CCl4, (4) TE + CCl4 given concurrently and (5) 5% TE as positive control. The serum levels of bilirubin, cholesterol, aspartate aminotransferase, (AST), alanine amino transferase (AST), (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase were estimated after 1, 2 and 3 months. CCl4 caused a maximum increase (2-3-fold in all the above parameters. As compared to CCl4 group, a short pre-treatment of TE showed reduction in cholesterol, bilirubin, AST, ALT and alkaline phosphatase activity whereas concurrent treatment of TE + CCl4 reduced to a greater extent the levels of all parameters except ALT. To conclude, concurrent treatment of TE gave significant protection against CCl4 though the values did not reach the normal levels
Deshpande UR, Gadre SG, Raste AS, Pillai D, Bhide SV, Samuel AM.
Radiation Medicine Centre (BARC), Bombay, India.
- Effect of oral curcumin administration on serum peroxides and cholesterol levels in human volunteers.
Amala Cancer Research Centre, Amala Nagar, Trichur.
The effect of curcumin administration in reducing the serum levels of cholesterol and lipid peroxides was studied in ten healthy human volunteers, receiving 500 mg of curcumin per day for 7 days. A significant decrease in the level of serum lipid peroxides (33%), increase in HDL Cholesterol (29%), and a decrease in total serum cholesterol (11.63%) were noted. As curcumin reduced serum lipid peroxides and serum cholesterol, the study of curcumin as a chemopreventive substance against arterial diseases is suggested.
Soni KB, Kuttan R.
Amala Cancer Research Centre, Amala Nagar, Trichur
Use of turmeric in Eye Disorders
1) One study of 32 people with uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye between the sclera [white outer coat of the eye] and the retina [the back of the eye]) suggests that curcumin may prove to be as effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication generally prescribed for this eye disorder
2) Curcuma longa (Linn) drops in corneal wound healing.
In this study, an attempt has been made to evaluate the cortisone like inhibitory activity on healing of wounds of curcuma longa extracts-aqueous extract (2.8%) and alcoholic extract (1.125%) on the healing of superficial and penetrating corneal wounds in albino rabbits. It was observed that curcuma longa aqueous drops (a) definitely delayed healing of superficial corneal wounds (P less than 0.001), (b) delayed healing of penetrating corneal wounds also and markedly reduced the tensile strength of corneal wounds (P less than 0.02), when comparison was made with placebo and preservative drops.
Mehra KS, Mikuni I, Gupta U, Gode KD.
Dose: powder 1-3g
Capsule Turmeric contains pure and concentrated Turmeric
Dosage: one capsule once a day.
- Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol II, pg 162-164
- Dr. K.M Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg 414-418
- The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India, Part I, Vol.I, pg 45-46