Common Name : Haldi / turmeric
Plant Parts Used : Rhizome
It is a tall herb with large root stocks and consists of rhizomes which are ovate, oblong or pyriform and often short-branched. Rhizome may be 2 to 6 em long and 1 to 1.7 cm thick. Leaves very large, in tufts upto 1.2 ft. Flowers in autumnal spikes 10 to 15 cm long. The plant is a native of Southern Asia and is cultivated throughout the warmer parts of the world. It is grown on a large scale in India, China and East Indies.
Characteristics and Constituents :
The yellow pigmented fraction, isolated from the rhizomes, contains the curcumins belonging to the dicinnamoyl- methane group. An aromatic oil, turmeric oil, composed of terpene- rocarbon-derivatives and sesquiterpenic ketones has also been isolated.
Actions and Uses :
Water extract of turmeric showed significant anti- inflammatory activity in acute carrageenin-induced oedema. LD(50) was 4.7 mg/kg body weight. In the subacute models LD(50), was 10 to 20 mg/kg. Anti-inflaininatory activity of the active principle curcumin was similar to cortisone and phenyl-butazone in carrageenin-induced oedema in rats with an equivalent dose. Stabilizing effect on lysosomal membranes also has been reported. Sodium curcuminate in a dilution of 1 in 1 million inhibited Micrococcus pyogenesge. Sodium curcuminate increased the bile secretion by 100% in anaesthetized dogs. Hepatoprotective effect of 50% ethanol extract of Curmma 1..g. was shown in CCL,-induced liver lesions in mice and in primary cultured rat hepatocytes. Application of turmeric powder over septic as well as aseptic wounds in rats and rabbits accelerated the process of healing to the extent of 23-24% in both the cases.
No side effects were observed with curcumin in a dose of 1200 mg/day for two weeks in 18 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. No significant change in blood pressure, haemoglobin, hepatic function tests and renal function tests were observed in these patients. Mild dryness of the mouth and throat was complained of by a few patients of bronchial asthma treated with turmeric powder in a dose of 12 gm/day. This symptom was controlled with a reduction in the dose. Curcumin in a dose of 1800 mg/kg/day p.o. ninety days in rats and 800 mg/kg/day p.o. for similar period in monkeys was found to he safe. No evidence of skeletal or visceral malformations was observed in mice with 1600 mg/kg and in rabbits with 600 mg/ kg on days 6-15 post coitus.