Belonging to the Zingiberaceae family, Curcuma longa is a plant that owes its notoriety to the properties stored in its root. With its characteristic orange colour and cylindrical and branched shape, it boasts a centuries-old history.
Its South-Eastern Asia origins bear witness to its wide use in the typical cooking of those areas and by Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of a wide variety of ailments.
The active ingredient that is thought to hold most medicinal properties is curcumin. Extracted with a solvent from the dried and ground rhizome of Curcuma longa, it is classified as part of the polyphenol family.
In the Ayurvedic system, curcumin is used to improve digestion, balance the intestinal flora, fight against parasites and worms, eliminate intestinal gas, purify and reinforce the liver and gallbladder, treat arthritis and swelling, increase metabolism, alleviate coughs and asthma as well as solve problems of tiredness and debilitation.
Traditional medicine attributes curcumin antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties: three vital activities for various pathologies and ailments. In fact, curcumin can protect the cardiovascular system, combat neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer, contribute to increase memory and prevent ageing. Curcumin can also stimulate collagen synthesis, tone the skin and give the joints mobility. Added to others, its hypoglycaemic power suggests also a certain action in combating type 2 diabetes. Moreover, its capacity to chelate heavy metals, eliminate free radicals and prompt cells to adapt to stress, makes it complicit in making the liver healthy and detoxified.
Curcumin as such is insoluble in water, a factor that makes it difficult for the body to assimilate it. For this reason, different forms of curcumin have been made, on its own or combined with other molecules to make its uptake easier.
The half-life of curcumin after oral administration varies from 2 to 8 hours and the recommended doses are from 400 to 800mg.
Its use is contraindicated in cases of biliary lithiasis and obstructive pathologies of the bile ducts and in conjunction with oral blood thinning or anticoagulant drugs. It must be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding and it may cause problems to people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux or peptic ulcer. This is the reason why we recommend it is taken with food.
Are you ready to feel the benefits of curcumin?
Dr.ssa Olga Meletis