What is Curcumin
What is Curcumin and its benefits
By Veena Deo
What is Curcumin? This article talks about Curcumin the rhizome extract of Turmeric, its composition and some of the benefits offered by this well know herb.
What is Curcumin and why is this herb so popular? Why are the world and the medical community going gaga behind this Yellow powder? Why the US National Institute of health (NIH.Gov) is conducting so many studies on this herb? What can this herb really do for people? In this article one will find many answers for the above questions.
Curcumin is the active ingredient or extract of a ginger looking rhizome, called Turmeric or Curcuma longa, many times referred at Turmeric Curcumin. It belongs to ginger family and it is one of the latest discoveries in organic cures for many health conditions. Turmeric contains several coloring matters, known as Curcuminoids which are natural phenols responsible for its yellow color. The principal Curcuminoid among these phenols is Curcumin.
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Curcumin is a bi-phenolic compound with one hydroxyl group at the ortho position on each of the two aromatic rings that are connected by a B-diketone bridge, containing two double bonds (Dionne). The chemical formula is (HOC6H3 (OCH3) CH:CHCO)2 CH2. The Compound Formula is C21H20O6.
Curcumin is the main biologically active Phytochemicals compound of Turmeric. Its structure as diferuloylmethane was determined in 1910. As per the immunobiology, Curcumin contains more than one phenol group, each of which consists of a ring of six carbon atoms with a hydroxyl (OH) group attached. Curcumin contains two phenol groups and each phenol is resonant. A chain of seven carbon atoms pin the two phenols together. On each phenol, the point of attachment is opposite the hydroxyl group. An OCH3 group unites with each phenol on a carbon adjacent to the hydroxyl attachment site. In the chain, the third and fifth carbon each unites with an oxygen atom. Each carbon oxygen group may form either a keto, or an enol. Ref: e-HOW.com.
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What is extraction process of Curcumin from Turmeric?
Extract about 5gms of Turmeric powder with 95% of alcohol in a soxhlet assembly until all the coloring matter is extracted; Distill the alcoholic extract to a semi-solid brown colored mass (about 4.5%); Dissolve the crude extract in 50 ml of benzene and extract twice with equal volume of 0.1% sodium hydroxide solution; Combine the alkaline extracts and acidify with dilute hydrochloric acid. A yellow colored precipitate is formed. Allow it to settle for about fifteen minutes; after settling off the precipitate, concentrate the extract by boiling on a water bath and at the same time dissolving precipitate in boiling water. During this process of boiling, the resinous material would agglomerate and form a lumpy mass. Filter the solution in hot condition and concentrate filtrate to very small volume and finally cool to get Curcumin (1.5%). Curcumin is an orange crystalline powder it is insoluble in cold water, it is soluble in alcohol and glacial acetic acid. It dissolves in concentrated Sulphuric acid and gives a yellow red coloration. Ref: Extraction of phytopharmaceuticals .
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What are some documented benefits of Curcumin?
Turmeric Curcumin can act in various ways in the body like anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-cholesterol agent. The biosynthetic route of Curcumin has proven difficult to establish. The active compound, Curcumin, has been isolated from the yellow coloring matter and its pharmacology has been worked out by Srimal and Dhanwan (1973). The presence of Curcumin in alcoholic and water extract of rhizome of Turmeric may also be responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity. Lutomski etal. In 1974 reported that the alcohol extract and essential oil from Curcuma longa showed bactericidal activity whereas Curcumin reacted as a bacteriostatic agent with respect to staphylococci. Ref: Pharmacognosy of Indigenous Drugs Vol I. Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha. India
Recent research at university of California Los Angeles has demonstrated possible role of Curcumin in treating Alzheimer’s disease and lowering person’s risk of developing the disease.
Turmeric and Curcumin fed hens on an experimental diet for 8 weeks, in presence or absence of dietary cholesterol, were observed for egg production as well as weight of eggs. No reduction of fat was observed but the cholesterol level declined showing hypocholestermic effect of the fractions. Ref: Keshavar Z, K: Influence of Turmeric and Curcumin on cholesterol concentration of eggs and tissues. Poult Sci. 55 (3) : 1077 – 1083, 1976 (Chem abstr. 85: 61834 b, 1976)
Study on the anticancer activity of ethanolic Curcumin extract. Ref: Jasim Hilo Naama, Ali Al – Temini and Ahmed A. Husain A1 Amiery; Biotechnology Division, Department of Applied science University of Technology Kerala, India. This study concluded based on the reported results, that pure Curcumin and the crude ethanolic extract have great potential in the prevention and cure of certain type of cancers.
So, what is Curcumin? In conclusion one can say that this is a golden herb that can do wonders for the human body. As mentioned above the NIH of USA is conducting many studies on the benefits of Curcumin. For more details one may visit that site.
Dr. Veena Deo is an Ayurvedic Doctor in India. All the information provided and on herbal supplements above and opinions expressed above are her own and should not be construed as medical advice. This information is provided for educational purposes only. For questions or to consult Dr. Veena Deo, please send an email to email@example.com.
This article written by Dr. Deo was originally published in International. To, a Google news site.