LE CURCUMA (Curcuma longa L.)
Where did he come from?
Turmericis part of the Zingiberaceae family. A small cousin of ginger, it is used for its taste and therapeutic virtues in Asia.
Considered the most potent natural anti-inflammatory, it is the subject of increasing interest in the West for its anti-oxidant properties as well as for its role in the prevention of inflammatory pathologies.
Native to India and South Asia, turmeric is grown throughout Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
Known for millennia, mainly in Asia, turmeric is used not only as a spice but also as a medicinal plant. It is also one of the constituents of curry, along with coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. One of the active molecules, curcumin, is a natural yellow dye (E100) used in food.
How can we describe it botanically?
Turmeric is therefore a herbaceous and perennial plant. It is a short-stemmed plant, 90 cm to 1 m high, with a long, gnarled rhizome. Its leaves, engaining, are rather throwy and elliptical. The flowers are thus located at ground level. They are yellow in colour, but nevertheless are surrounded by green bracts, and are grouped in cobs.
What is it made of?
Turmeric consists mainly of saccharides and polysaccharides (45-55% starch among others), curcuminoids (yellow dyes containing its major active ingredients such as curcumin for example) and ketone and monoterpene essential oil.
What are its main pharmacological properties?
Turmeric is therefore a fairly powerful anti-inflammatory (the anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is shown on models of acute and chronic inflammation, especially in synergy with piperine). It is a plant with antioxidant properties, but it is also protective of liver, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular (it prevents hepatocytic cytotoxicity induced among other things by paracetamol).
Turmeric also decreases the intestinal absorption of cholesterol due to its cholesterol-lowering power, and improves the endothelial dysfunction induced by diabetes into good natural antidiabetic. Studies have shown that curcumin is capable of inhibiting carcinogenesis in three stages: angiogenesis, tumor promotion and tumor growth to aid its chemo-protective properties. The discovery also of anti-alzheimer activity by blocking the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein and destruction of existing plaques, has been successful as it would improve behavior, quality of life and longevity on animal models.
What are the indications of turmeric?
- Intermittent fevers
- Liver disease
- Urinary and glomerulo-nephritis disorders
- Arthritis and arthritis (500 mg of curcumin are more than 50 mg of diclofenac in arthritis and osteoarthritis of the knee)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
What are the job precautions?
- Possibility of coloring saliva in yellow
- Under-indicated in pregnant or lactating women
- Contraqual in cases of bile duct obstructions, sub-centimetre gallstones, bile or liver diseases
- Possible rare digestive disorders in high dosage, risk of dry mouth, flatulence, heartburn, nausea and vomiting
- Caution in case of gastric or duodenal ulcer
- Contrainsited in case of hypersensitivity to active substances
- Possible contact allergies
Are there risks of drug interactions?
However, as with all substances containing active ingredients, the risk of drug interactions should be taken into account.
As turmeric is no exception to this rule, here is a list of drug interactions to consider:
- Risk of interaction with oral antidiabetics
- Risk of interaction with anticonvulsants (phenytoin)
- Avoiding the association with anticoagulants, (inhibition of platelet aggregation by modulation of eicosanoid biosynthesis), mainly products based on pure curcumin, risk of interaction with warfarin (Coumadine)
- Risk of interaction with anticancer drugs – not recommended combinations with certain chemotherapy (risk of partial inhibition of efficacy during treatment – Camptothecin (Campto®), doxorubicin (Adriamycin®), mechlorethamine and cyclophosphamide (Endoxan®), vincristine (Oncovin®)
- Risk of interaction with antihypertensives (losartan), anti-arrythmics, statins, calcium inhibitors, anti-infectives, immunosuppressants, H1 antihistamitics, benzodiazepines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the IDU
- Possible combination with certain chemotherapy (experimental elements of action synergy/potentialization of efficacy – Gemcitabine (Gemzar®), paclitaxel (Taxol®), docetaxel (Taxotère®), oxaliplatin (Eloxatin®)
How to take it and at what dosage?
In the diet:
Mix a full teaspoon of turmeric powder with one to two tablespoons of olive oil, grind a drop of black pepper, to be eaten during the day on a food (pasta, rice, vegetables, or even in a salad).
In masterful preparation:
Here is the dosage of Fluid Extracts of Fresh Plants Standardized in Glycere solution (EPS):
– 1 c. coffee morning and evening for 1 month, renewable 3 months, to dilute in a large glass of water
- Intestinal Functional Disorders: Turmeric – Artichoke – Mélisse
- Arthrosis and acute inflammatory rheumatism spinal or peripheral: Turmeric – Willow – Scrofular
- Metabolic Syndrome Dyslipidemia: Turmeric – Olivier
- Gastralgia: Turmeric – Mélisse
- Drug-toxic, toxic (alcohol) hepatitis In: Turmeric – Desmodium – Black Radis
- Cardiovascular risk and atherosclerosis: Turmeric – Ginkgo – Praele
Pepper piperine increases the absorption and bioavailability of curcumin. They are synergistic in the prevention of senescence. In particular, it is recommended that piperine be included in curcumin-containing formulations to inhibit the glucuroconjugation of curcumin.
The ginger-curcuma mixture also seems synergistic. Ayurvedic medicine has used a combination of black pepper, long pepper and ginger since ancient times to improve the effectiveness of certain remedies.