Inflammation results from a complex series of actions and/or reaction triggered by the body’s immunological responses to tissues damage. Many diseases and physical traumas, including surgery, induce inflammatory reactions. Although these reactions are necessary to start the healing process, they too often create an unbearably painful condition which in some cases can even perpetuate the disease.
Steroidal drugs like cortisone, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as phenylbutazone and indomethacin, are used in clinical practice to subdue inflammation. However, many of these drugs have dangerous side effects, On the other hand, curcuminoids and other constituents of turmeric are known for their natural, anti-inflammatory drugs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric extract, the volatile oil from turmeric and curcuminoids were said to possess anti-inflammatory activity in different experimental models.
The anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity of curcumin was evaluated in a group of patients who underwent surgery. In this double-blind controlled study, three groups of patients received either curcumin (400 milligrams), a placebo (250mg of lactose powder) or phenylbutazone (100 mg.), three times a day for five consecutive days after surgery. They had been admitted for either a hernia condition or an accumulation of fluid in the scrotum. Curcumin was just as effective as phenylbutazone curcumin in reducing postoperative inflammation.
Turmeric has also been evaluated as a treatment for inflammation associated with arthritis. Oral administration of curcumin at a dose of 3 mg. per kilogram and sodium curcumin at a dose of 0.1/kg inhibited formalin-induced arthritis in rats. In fact, curcumin was comparably effective to phenylbutazone in this application. In another study, oral administration of 0.1 mg/kg of the volatile oil isolated from Curcumin longa also decreased arthritis induced in rats. The antirheumatic properties of curcuminoids were tested in a double-blind trial in 49 patients who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. When curcumin was given at a dose of 1,200.mg/day for five to six weeks, significant improvement was observed in all patients. There was an overall improvement in the morning stiffness and physical endurance. Again, the therapeutic effects were comparable to those obtained with phenylbutazone.
Turmeric was also used to treat patients with chronic respiratory disorders which resulted in significant relief of symptoms such as a cough and shortness of breath. Eye drops prepared from a mixture of turmeric, known as Haridra Eye Drops, were used in 25 cases of an inflammatory condition of eye bacterial conjunctivitis. Clinical symptoms such as eye redness or a burning sensation began subsiding after the third-day treatment. Durin the six day treatment period, it was determined that 23 of the 25 patient was relieved of all symptoms.
One of the better-understood mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory action of curcumin is its inhibition of a group of enzymes which coordinate metabolism of arachidonic acid in the body. Arachidonic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid found in most animal fats, and it is a precursor of pros-taglandins. The enzymatic inhibition by curcumin may be a result of diminishing inflammatory products of arachidonic acid metabolism. e.g., postaglandins, leukotrienes, and 5-hydro-eicosatetraenoic acid. Curcumin has a similar action to that of aspirin and aspirin-like anti-inflammatory agents. There is, however, an important advantage for curcumin over aspirin, since curcumin, unlike aspirin, selectively inhibits synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins but does not affect the synthesis of prostacyclin. Prostacyclin is an important factor in preventing vascular thrombosis, and any drug that affects its synthesis, especially when used in large doses, may increase the risk of this dangerous condition. Curcumin may, therefore, be preferable for patients who are prone to vascular thrombosis and require anti-inflammatory and/or anti-arthritic therapy.
As an antioxidant, curcumin is known to scavenge hydroxyl radicals generated by the inflammatory-response cells (neutrophils), and it also inhibits the production of lipid peroxides, which ful the inflammatory process. The anti-inflammatory mechanisms of curcumin are similar to those of phenylbutazone, since there are structural similarities between the two compounds. In a recent study, researchers using cats evaluated the use of curcumin and quinidine, a standard antiarrhythmic drug, in preventing myocardial ischemia ( a condition resulting from the consequences of a heart attack). Both of the substance protected the animals against a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure following restricted blood flow to the heart.
In a recent study, researchers using cats evaluated the use of curcumin and quinidine, a standard antiarrhythmic drug, in preventing myocardial ischemia ( a condition resulting from the consequences of a heart attack). Both of the substance protected the animals against a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure following restricted blood flow to the heart. Curcumin may be useful as a new template for the developer of better remedies in the prevention of the pathological changes of hardening of the arteries and restenosis (the gradual narrowing of surgically treated arteries.)
Curcumin may be useful as a new template for the developer of better remedies in the prevention of the pathological changes of hardening of the arteries and restenosis (the gradual narrowing of surgically treated arteries.)