Herb Reference Guide

Turmeric

History

Indigenous to Southeastern and Eastern Asia, this perennial member of the Zingiberaceae family has been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine, coloring agent and spice. Currently India accounts for much of its cultivation. It is known as Shati in Sanskrit. Reports of its use as a medicine go as far back as 600 BC in Assyrian herbal accounts and can also be traced to Greek writings from Dioscorides. It has been used to support healthy digestion, promote cardiovascular health, and support the immune system as well as used topically and in the eyes in Ayurvedic medicine. In Western herbal medicine Turmeric is used as an aromatic bitter and for supporting healthy liver function.

Function

Most of the clinical research has been conducted in-vitro and primarily on animal cells using the isolated constituents. Turmeric extracts have shown considerable pharmacological activity, but the exact modes of its actions are not yet fully understood. Most researchers agree that the basic mechanism of action within Turmeric is its potent antioxidant action. Curcuminoids seem to scavenge for damaging particles in the body known as "free-radicals".

Uses of Turmeric

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

The main constituents of this rhizome are essential oils including the sesquiterpene ketone; Turmerone. The yellow pigments are water soluble and known as Curcumins.

Parts Used

  • Rhizomes

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Singh S. Khar A. Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry 2006 May; 6(3) 259-70

Bae MK, et al. Oncology Reports 2006 Jun; 15(6): 1557-62

Melnick SJ, Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 2006 Apr; 28(4): 221-30

Su CC, et al. Anticancer Research 2006 Mar-Apr; 26(2A): 1281-8