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Turmeric (Cúrcuma longa) is a plant whose rhizome is used for culinary and medicinal purposes; Its active principles include coloring matters (3-5%) known as curcuminoids, the main one being curcumin, and a volatile oil (4-14%) composed mainly of turmerone, atlantone and zingiberene.
It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an analgesic to relieve pain in bumps, bruises and injuries; also as a stimulant of vital energy (Qi).
In the traditional Ayurvedic medicine of India it is indicated for the treatment of flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, bleeding, toothache, bruising, chest pain and colic; also in the form of poultices to relieve inflammation and pain.
In the naturopathic medical tradition of the West, research has validated its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential
As an anti-inflammatory, it has the ability to suppress the release of inflammatory mediators and stimulate the production of cortisone from the adrenal glands; It also acts by inhibiting the formation of leukotrienes, platelet aggregation and the response of neutrophils to various stimuli involved in the inflammation process, as well as promoting fibrinolysis and stabilization of cell membranes.
Different investigations have verified that turmeric extract and its active ingredient curcumin have an anti-inflammatory potential comparable to cortisone and phenylbutazone without their side effects.
These properties can be applied to many diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, scleroderma and others that occur with inflammatory phenomena.
A double-blind study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were given 1,200 mg a day of curcumin daily to one group and 300 mg a day of phenylbutazone to the other, verified very similar results in terms of improvement of stiffness symptoms and swelling of the joints and ability to walk; however, it should be noted that phenylbutazone was associated with known effects while curcumin was safe.