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Curcumin is one of the three curcuminoids in turmeric, Curcumin longa. Curcuminoids are natural phenols that give yellow colour to turmeric. Curcumin is responsible for most of the biological activities of turmeric. It is extracted from the dried rhizome of the turmeric plant. It is a pleiotropic molecule capable of interacting with molecular targets involved in inflammation. Studies suggest that it can ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Lab tests have shown that curcumin blocks the growth and proliferation of certain kinds of tumors, inhibiting activation of carcinogens through suppression of cytochrome P450 isozymes. Animal studies have shown curcumin effective against cancers of blood, lungs, pancreas, skin, intestines and mouth. Clinical trials are progressing in humans regarding the efficacy of curcumin against colon cancer, psoriasis, multiple myeloma, arthritis, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, myelodysplastic syndromes, major depressive disorders and certain skin diseases. Traditional knowledge and modern experiments have also suggested that curcuminmight also be helpful in treating upset stomach, viral infections, diabetes, uveitis and HIV. It enhances body defense mechanisms and is a detoxifying agent.