Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and is the major ingredient of curry powder. Turmeric has a rich history in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It is used internally as a tonic for the stomach and anti-inflammatory agent. It is used externally as a treatment for skin diseases.
Turmeric contains curcuminoids, the name for a group of compounds, responsible for the bioactivity of the herb.
Turmeric also contains vitamins C and E.
Curcuminoids are thought to inhibit the lipoxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism, while exercising a lesser inhibitory effect on the cyclooxygenase system.
Vitamins C, E, and the mineral selenium have synergistic anti-inflammatory actions, and help stimulate the repair of damaged tissue.
Vitamin E inhibits platelet aggregation due to a reduction in cyclooxygenase activity, while selenium act to recycle the oxidized antioxidants. Vitamin E inhibits enlargement of the area of inflammation but does not suppress inflammation already in progress.
Vitamin C has been shown to have fibrinolytic activity, and antihistaminic effects. Vitamin C stabilizes cell membranes and is required in the hydroxylation of the anti-inflammatory steroids.
Tumeric has significant antioxidant activity on par with vitamin C.
The Anti-cancer effects demonstrate its inhibition of initiation, promotion and progression of the disease, by
its antioxidant activity and prevention of nitrosamine formation.
Curcumin anti-inflammatory action may be related to inhibition of leukotriene formation, platelet aggregation, fibrinolysis, and cell membrane stabilization with a concomitant repression of inflammatory mediators.
Curcumin also depletes nerve endings of substance P, the neurotransmitter of pain receptors.
Curcuma longa has been used locally and internally to treat sprains and inflammation.
It can be used systemically to reduce swelling and pain.
Antioxidants work synergistically by recycling other anti-oxidant nutrients that have been oxidized or used in the neutralization of free radicals.
Some antioxidants act primarily in the aqueous portion of the blood stream, others within particles of lipoprotein in the blood, others on cell membranes and still others within the cell’s cytoplasm and nuclei.