Scientific Name/Common Name: Curcuma longa / Turmeric
Part(s) Used: Root/rhizome
Constituents/Active Ingredients: up to 4% curcumin; volatile oil containing sesquiterpenes such as bisabolene, zingiberene, and curcumene; 79-83% carbohydrates; 12-30% protein; 1.8-15% fats; approximately 13.3% water.
Overview: Turmeric is a popular golden-yellow spice used around the world. The rhizome of the turmeric plant is commonly used in curries and bright yellow prepared mustards. The medicinal uses of turmeric date back many centuries. Turmeric is noted for treating inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and is a safe food-type herb for preventing many different diseases. Turmeric rhizome was used traditionally for healing liver disease, urinary tract problems, and indigestion by early Ayurvedic healers. It was also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for treating inflammation, dysmenorrhea (menstruation disorders), liver disorders, and wounds. The German Commission E approves turmeric for treating dyspepsia and notes that the choleretic (bile stimulating) and anti-inflammatory action of curcumin, turmeric’s main active ingredient, is experimentally well documented. A German randomized controlled clinical trial of a preparation containing turmeric root (together with one other herb) for treating dyspepsia found significantly positive results.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Used in herbal medicine to relieve flatulent dyspepsia, protects the liver and increases bile production, as an anti-inflammatory to relieve joint pain, and as a source of antioxidants.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinkmann J, editors. 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications.
Mills S, Bone K. 2000. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Toronto (ON): Churchill Livingstone.
Niederau C, Gopfert E. [The effect of chelidonium- and turmeric root extract on upper abdominal pain due to functional disorders of the biliary system. Results from a placebo-controlled double-blind study]. Med Klin (Munich). 1999 Aug 15; 94(8): 425-30. German.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.