Curcumin comes from the dried and grounded root of the plant Curcuma longa. It is referred as haldi in Hindi and ukon in Japanese. It is used as a spice and to colorize the food but also as a remedy.
Curcumin is the most active curcuminoid found in turmeric. It has been shown that it has a multitude of beneficial properties in inhibition of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Turmeric has been, and still is, used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine since 1900 BC. Its anticancer properties comes form its ability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death. Basically, it induces cancer cells to die. It does not influence healthy cells of the body in such a way. Curcumin has a antioxidant effect too. In that way, it helps the body by reducing the level of free radicals as well as detoxifying the body. It has also an anti-amylase effect. Amyloids are fibrous protein that have a specific structure. If they accumulate in an abnormally in the organs, they may lead to amyloidosis and can have a impact in neurodegnerative diseases.
Curcumin has been tested and proved effective in treating human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). It slowed down the growth of the tumor cells and increased the death of the tumor cells. Applying the curcumin on the areas affected in the mouth with oral cancer, it inhibits the growth of these cells. Its effect was boosted when the same area were treated with green tea extract. Given orally, it increased the death rate of tumor cells of hepatic cancer in animal models. Also, curcumin increased the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy in the case of non-small cells in lung cancer.
Curcumin also helps in a number of cardiovascular conditions. Firstly, it helps in prevention of blood clotting and plaque being formed in the bodies blood vessels. In animals, curcumin has been proved to decrease early atherosclerotic lesions.
Curcumin has also an anti-inflammatory properties. When a person suffers a traumatic shock with substantial blood loss, curcumin has been found to reduce the level of certain inflammatory proteins. A trail has been conducted on 18 patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and shoved that after a two weeks treatment of 1200mg of curcumin per day, the patients morning stiffness and joint swelling reduced.
It is estimated that a daily intake of curcumin in Indian diet is 60-100g. Curcumins effect are boosted when it is mixed with black pepper. There was a study conducted to test the toxic effect of curcumin in humans. The subject were fed 8000mg of curcumin per day and had no ill side effect.