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Turmeric botanically termed as Curcuma longa is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season. Its active ingredient is curcumin. Turmeric became known as Indian saffron, since it was widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice. Erode, a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's largest producer and most important trading center of turmeric in Asia.
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Botanical Names
Curcuma longa
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Haridra, Nisa Bengali : Haldi Gujarati : Halada Hindi : Haldi Malayalam : Manjal Marathi : Halad Kannada : Arishina Tamil : Manjal Telugu : Pasupu
Chemical Constituents
Major constituents includes Curcuminoids (6%), the yellow colouring principles, of which curcumin constitutes 50-60%; Essential oil (2-7%) with high content of bisabolene derivatives. Other constituents are Desmethoxycurcumin, bisdesmethoxycurcumin, dihydrocurcumin; common phytosterols, fatty acids and polysaccharides, viz., ukonan A, B, C and D.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the marker substances or the ‘active’ ingredient. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug.Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants.Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interact with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs is to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E.coli which are causative agent for various gastro-intestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersentivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Extensive scientific research has proven that turmeric possess many beneficial activities. It has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities. It has a potential to cure various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, alzheimer's disease, and other chronic illnesses. All these activities are attributed to turmeric by its active ingredient, curcumin (1). It is antiprotozoal, antiviral, antifibrotic, antivenom, antiulcer, hypotensive and hypo cholesteremic in action. Its anticancer effect is mainly mediated through induction of apoptosis. It’s anti inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically exploited to control rheumatism, carcinogenesis and oxidative stress-related pathogenesis. Considering the recent discoveries, curcumin can be considered as an ideal lead compound for anticancer drug development. NF-κB is a master factor playing a key role in inflammation, is implicated in a variety of human cancers. Many observations indicate that curcumin shows valuable potential in the cancer treatment through inhibiting the activity of I-κB kinase, IKK. In addition, cytotoxic studies in different cell lines have indicated that the toxicity of curcumin was significantly higher in tumor cells if compared to the normal cells (4).
Health Benefits
Tumeric is a spice that comes from the root Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family, Zingaberaceae. In Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine), tumeric has been used for its medicinal properties for various indications and through different routes of administration, including topically, orally, and by inhalation. It has been used topically on the skin for wounds, blistering diseases such as pemphigus and herpes zoster, for parasitic skin infections, and for acne. It has been used via oral administration for the common cold, liver diseases, urinary tract diseases, and as a blood purifier. For chronic rhinitis and coryza, it has been used via inhalation. Since ancient times, many properties have been ascribed to extracts of Curcuma longa. The plant has been applied for the prevention and cure of skin and hepatic conditions and of ulcers and digestive disorders. It has also been used in the treatment of intestinal parasites and as a remedy for poisoning, snakebites, and various other complaints. Clinically, curcumin has already been used to reduce post-operative inflammation. Safety evaluation studies indicate that 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 (2). Turmeric is also very effective in case of diabetes. The effect of turmeric aqueous extract on blood glucose, lipid peroxidation (LPO) and the antioxidant defense system in tissues like liver, lung, kidney and brain was studied in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. The administration of an aqueous extract of turmeric resulted in a significant reduction in blood glucose and an increase in total haemoglobin. The aqueous extract of Curcuma longa also resulted in decreased free radical formation in the tissues studied (5). Thus acts as a good anti-oxidant agent.
Application in Cosmetics
Eventually, turmeric has globally attracted for its cosmetic use. It has a lot of benefits on skin. It leaves the skin soft, smooth and glowing. Anti-oxidant in turmeric scavenges free radicals and slow down cells damage thus maintains youth by controlling wrinkle and crease formation on the surface of skin (6). Its antioxidant activity is comparable to many potent antioxidants like vitamin-E. It is effective in the treatment of acne as it has antiseptic and antimicrobial activities (7). Use of curcumin in herbal cosmetic formulations brings about the improvement of skin elasticity and hydration properties (8). Turmeric is very useful for the chemoprevention and treatment of various skin diseases like scleroderma, psoriasis and skin cancer. Turmeric protects the skin by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation (3). It not only imparts glow and beauty but it is also effective as sunscreen. It is suggested that the skin damage caused by chronic UVB irradiation, is closely associated with the increase in expression of MMP-2, MMP-9 and VEGF. Turmeric acts as a potent natural sunscreen (9).
Research References
1. Aggarwal B. B, Sundaram C, Malani N, Ichikawa H. Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007; 595: 1-75 2. Ishita C., Kaushik B., Uday B. and Ranajit K. B. Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications CURRENT SCIENCE 2004 87(1):44-54 3. ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES OF CURCUMIN Venugopal P. Menon and Adluri Ram Sudheer The Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Curcumin in Health and Disease Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2007, Volume 595, 105-125, DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_3 4. Chih-Li Lin and Jen-Kun Lin1 Curcumin: a Potential Cancer Chemo preventive Agent through Suppressing NF-κB Signaling Journal of Cancer Molecules 2008 4(1): 11-16 5. Halim E. M. and Ali H. HYPOGLYCEMIC, HYPOLIPIDEMIC AND ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTIES OF COMBINATION OF CURCUMIN FROM CURCUMA LONGA, Linn, AND PARTIALLY PURIFIED PRODUCT FROM ABROMA AUGUSTA, Linn. IN STREPTOZOTOCIN INDUCED DIABETES. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 2002, 17 (2):33-43 6. Inhibitory Effects of 150 Plant Extracts on Elastase Activity, and Their Anti-inflammatory Effects. Lee KK, Kim JH, Cho JJ, Choi JD. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1999 21(2):71-82. 7. Antioxidant and radical scavenging properties of curcumin. A. T, Gülçin I. Chem Biol Interact. 2008 174(1):27-37 8. Ahshawat M. S., Saraf S., Saraf S. Preparation and characterization of herbal creams for improvement of skin viscoelastic properties. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008 30(3):183-93. 9. Effects of a turmeric extract (Curcuma longa) on chronic ultraviolet B irradiation-induced skin damage in melanin-possessing hairless mice. Sumiyoshi M, Kimura Y. Phytomedicine. 2009 16(12):1137-43. 10. M. Takahashi, S. Uechi, K. Takara, Y. Asikin, K. Wada Evaluation of an Oral Carrier System in Rats: Bioavailability and Antioxidant Properties of Liposome-Encapsulated Curcumin Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 57:9141–9146 IMPORTANT SITES FOR RESEARCH IN TURMERIC PRODUCTS: 1) http://turmericextract.com/te-research/turmeric-extract-research.htm Article 1: "Curcumin, a natural product isolated from the spice turmeric, has been shown to exhibit a wide range of pharmacological activities including certain anti-cancer properties. It has been specifically shown to be an effective inhibitor of angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo."(Bioorg Med Chem. 2005 Jun 2;13(12):4007-13. Synthesis and biological evaluation of aromatic enones related to curcumin. Robinson TP, Hubbard RB 4th, Ehlers TJ, Arbiser JL, Goldsmith DJ, Bowen JP. Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA). 2. www.pubmed.gov • Curcumin modulates dopaminergic receptor, CREB and phospholipase c gene expression in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum of streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.(Kumar TP, Antony S, Gireesh G, George N, Paulose CS.J Biomed Sci. 2010 May 31;17(1):43. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20513244). • Curcumin Nanoparticles Improve the Physicochemical Properties of Curcumin and Effectively Enhance Its Antioxidant and Antihepatoma Activities.(Yen FL, Wu TH, Tzeng CW, Lin LT, Lin CC.J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 20. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20486686). • Investigation of the anti-inflammatory effect of Curcuma longa in Helicobacter pylori-infected patients.(Koosirirat C, Linpisarn S, Changsom D, Chawansuntati K, Wipasa J.Int Immunopharmacol. 2010 May 9. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20438867). • Development and validation of UPLC method for quality control of Curcuma longa Linn: Fast simultaneous quantitation of three curcuminoids.(Cheng J, Weijun K, Yun L, Jiabo W, Haitao W, Qingmiao L, Xiaohe X.J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2010 Sep 21;53(1):43-9. Epub 2010 Mar 27.PMID: 20395103). • Perspectives on chemopreventive and therapeutic potential of curcumin analogs in medicinal chemistry.(Padhye S, Chavan D, Pandey S, Deshpande J, Swamy KV, Sarkar FH.Mini Rev Med Chem. 2010 May;10(5):372-87.PMID: 20370702). • Neuroprotective effects of curcumin (Li Y, Wang P.Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Dec; 34(24):3173-5. Review. Chinese. PMID: 20352992). • Comparative study of chemical composition and antioxidant activity of fresh and dry rhizomes of turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.).(Singh G, Kapoor IP, Singh P, de Heluani CS, de Lampasona MP, Catalan CA.Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Apr;48(4):1026-31. Epub 2010 Jan 21.PMID: 20096323).