Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) scientific name is Curcuma longa.

Turmeric aids in making our immunity stronger, the main life-saving ingredient in turmeric is about 3-5 % of Curcumin
Benefit of turmeric in corona to increase immunity

Why Is Turmeric (Haldi) A Powerful Immunity Booster? Expert Reveals Its Health Benefits And Ways To Consume It

Turmeric is among the richest food sources of Iron - 67.8 mg per 100g of turmeric powder. One teaspoon (3g) of turmeric powder provides 2mg of Iron - 10% of the adult daily requirements.

With the pandemic of Coronavirus we are facing today, I wouldn't say that turmeric is a treatment or a 100% protection against COVID 19, but keeping your immunity up definitely protects you better against the onslaught of infections. Also immunity is built up over time, not in one day, so by inculcating good habits and adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating well, we can face challenges in life


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is extensively used as a spice, food preservative and colouring material in India, China and South East Asia. It has been used in traditional medicine as a household remedy for various diseases, including biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism and sinusitis. For the last few decades, extensive work has been done to establish the biological activities and pharmacological actions of turmeric and its extracts. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), the main yellow bioactive component of turmeric has been shown to have a wide spectrum of biological actions. These include its anti inflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, anticoagulant, antifertility, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antifibrotic, antivenom, antiulcer, hypotensive and hypocholesterolemic activities. Its anticancer effect is mainly mediated through induction of apoptosis. Its anti inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically exploited to control rheumatism, carcinogenesis and oxidative stress-related pathogenesis. Clinically, curcumin has already been used to reduce post-operative inflammation. Safety evaluation studies indicate that both turmeric and curcumin are well tolerated at a very high dose without any toxic effects. Thus, both turmeric and curcumin have the potential for the development of modern medicine for the treatment of various diseases.

Chemical composition of turmeric

Turmeric contains protein (6.3%), fat (5.1%), minerals (3.5%), carbohydrates (69.4%) and moisture (13.1%). The essential oil (5.8%) obtained by steam distillation of rhizomes has a-phellandrene (1%), sabinene (0.6%), cineol (1%),

borneol (0.5%), zingiberene (25%) and sesquiterpines (53%)5 . Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) (3–4%) is responsible for the yellow colour, and comprises curcumin I (94%), curcumin II (6%) and curcumin III (0.3%)6 . Demethoxy and bisdemethoxy derivatives of curcumin have also been isolated7 (Figure 1). Curcumin was first isolated8 in 1815 and its chemical structure was determined by Roughley and Whiting9 in 1973. It has a melting point at 176–177°C; forms a reddish-brown salt with alkali and is soluble in ethanol, alkali, ketone, acetic acid and chloroform.

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