Curcumin and Digestive Disorders

Time after time, curcumin has proven its value in treating a wide variety of digestive disorders, largely because of its anti-inflammatory effects.

 Digestive disorders range from mild indigestion to life-controlling irritable bowel syndrome to life-threatening diseases like ulcertive colitis and colorectal cancer.

Each year, 62 million Americans are diagnosed with some form of digestive disorder.

Irritable bowel syndrome, a complex and unpredictable basket of painful problems ranging from diarrhea to constipation and cramping, bloating and pain, goes largely undiagnosed with a estimated 75% sufferers not getting medical treatment at all.

Colorectal cancer kills about 150,000 people every year, and Ulcertive Colitis and Crohn’s disease make a life a living hell for 140,000 Americans. Liver disease is included in this category because of the liver’s key role in the digestive process.  


 Because inflammation is a major factor in all digestive disorders, Curcumin is predictably very effective in helping  prevent, treat and heal many digestive problems. Herbalist consider Curcumin to be a digestive and a bitter which means it helps ease digestion and aids liver function.

It also stimulates bile production in the liver and gallbladder and improves the ability to digest fats.

Here’s a listing of various digestive disorders and how cucumin can help:

Ulcertive Colitis: A Japanese study, which involved human subjects, a rarity in curcumin research to this point, suggests curcumin supplements are a safe way of preventing recurrences of the disease and reducing side effects, which include severe bleeding, ruptured colon, dehydration and liver disease in the small intestine.



Crohn’s disease: Researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston recommend we “get back to our roots” and take advantage of the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin for many diseases, including Crohon’s, anti-inflammatory disease usually affecting the large and small intestines. Crohn’s ans Ulcertive colities are sometimes called  inflammatory bowel disease.

Colon cancer: We’ve already examined curcumin’s anticancer properties earlier but it is worth mentioning it again.  A landmark study from the American Health Foundation shows that curcumin interferes with the process by which malignant colon tumors develop, stopping them before they become dangerous.  Irritable bowel syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome is an unpleasant cluster of problems that fluctuate between diarrhea and constipation with abdominal cramps, bloating and gas in the mix. A study from the Medical College of Wisconsin helps us understand better the anti-inflammatory capabilities of Curcumin, which stop the growth of additional blood vessels to feed the inflamed area in the digestive tract. This process, called angiogenesis, in also part of the process by which cancerous tumors get their blood supply, enabling them to grow.

Familial adenomatous polyosis: In a study, published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, five patients with and inherited form of pancancerous polyps in the lower bowel known as familial adenomatous  polyposis (FAP)  were treated with regular doses of curcumin and quercetin (another powerful antioxidant found in onions and garlic) during an average of six months. The average number of polyps dropped 60.4 percent, and the average size dropped by 50.9 percent.

Liver damage:  An interesting Finnish animal study involved feeding rats a diet that simulated high alcohol consumption. Animals given curcumin at the same time had none of the signs of liver damage normally associated with alcoholism. Researchers theorize that curcumin blocks a molecule called NFkB, which is responsible for inflammation and tissue death. Another study showed that animals with 70% of their livers removed regenerated new liver tissue in as little as 24 hours with the help of curcumin.  

Written by Jan McBarron M.D., N.D.

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