Turmeric root

Chinese Name: Yu jin
Medical Name: Radix curcuma
Latin Name: Curcuma aromatica
Origin: Root

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

THE COMPENDIUM OF MATERIA MEDICA: "Relieves pains in the chest and abdomen due to blood stasis and qi stagnation, serious postpartum alienation caused by lochiostasis, epilepsy and insanity."

ANNOTATION ON THE HERBAL CLASSIC OF SHEN-NONG: "An herb for qi which enters the blood system, aromatic turmeric root-tuber (Radix Curcumae) can be used to treat all the various types of bleeding syndromes mentioned above. The upward adverse flow of the blood is due to the flaring-up of internal heat. This herb can subdue adversely ascending qi, and the blood will not rise adversely if the qi is lowered."

THE ESSENTIAL MATERIA MEDICA: "Activates the flow of qi, alleviates mental depression, dispels stagnation of the blood, resolves blood stasis, clears heat from the heart, soothes the liver and treats adverse flow in the channels in women."

Western Research

Neuropharmacology. 2009 Jun 18.
Curcumin reverses impaired cognition and neuronal plasticity induced by chronic stress
Xu Y, Lin D, Li S, Li G, Shyamala SG, Barish PA, Vernon MM, Pan J, Ogle WO.
J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering and Evelyn F. & William L. Mcknight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA.
Chronic stress occurs in everyday life and induces impaired spatial cognition, neuroendocrine and plasticity abnormalities. A potential therapeutic for these stress related disturbances is curcumin, derived from the curry spice turmeric. Previously we demonstrated that curcumin reversed the chronic stress-induced behavioral deficits in escape from an aversive stimulus, however the mechanism behind its beneficial effects on stress-induced learning defects and associated pathologies are unknown. This study investigated the effects of curcumin on restraint stress-induced spatial learning and memory dysfunction in a water maze task and on measures related neuroendocrine and plasticity changes. The results showed that memory deficits were reversed with curcumin in a dose dependent manner, as were stress-induced increases in serum corticosterone levels. These effects were similar to positive antidepressant imipramine. Additionally, curcumin prevented adverse changes in the dendritic morphology of CA3 pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus, as assessed by the changes in branch points and dendritic length. In primary hippocampal neurons it was shown that curcumin or imipramine protected hippocampal neurons against corticosterone-induced toxicity. Furthermore, the portion of calcium/calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII) that is activated (phosphorylated CaMKII, pCaMKII), and the glutamate receptor sub-type (NMDA(2B)) expressions were increased in the presence of corticosterone. These effects were also blocked by curcumin or imipramine treatment. Thus, curcumin may be an effective therapeutic for learning and memory disturbances as was seen within these stress models, and its neuroprotective effect was mediated in part by normalizing the corticosterone response, resulting in down-regulating of the pCaMKII and glutamate receptor levels.

Int J Mol Med. 2007 Sep;20(3):365-72.
Curcumin induces apoptosis and inhibits prostaglandin E(2) production in synovial fibroblasts of patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Park C, Moon DO, Choi IW, Choi BT, Nam TJ, Rhu CH, Kwon TK, Lee WH, Kim GY, Choi YH.
Department of Biochemistry, Dongeui University College of Oriental Medicine, Busan 614-052, Korea.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that is characterized by hyperplasia of the synovial fibroblasts, which is partly the result of decreased apoptosis. This study investigated the mechanisms through which curcumin, a polyphenolic compound from the rhizome of Curcuma longa, exerts its anti-proliferative action in the synovial fibroblasts obtained from patients with RA. Exposure of the synovial fibroblasts to curcumin resulted in growth inhibition and the induction of apoptosis, as measured by MTT assay, fluorescent microscopy and Annexin-V-based assay. RT-PCR and immunoblotting showed that treating the cells with curcumin resulted in the down-regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and the X-linked inhibitor of the apoptosis protein as well as the up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax expression in a concentration-dependent manner. Curcumin-induced apoptosis was also associated with the proteolytic activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9, and the concomitant degradation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase protein. Furthermore, curcumin decreased the expression levels of the cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 mRNA and protein without causing significant changes in the COX-1 levels, which was correlated with the inhibition of prostaglandin E(2) synthesis. These results show that curcumin might help identify a new therapeutic pathway against hyperplasia of the synovial fibroblasts in RA.

Phytomedicine. 2009 Jun 11.
Curcumin inhibits cell proliferation of MDA-MB-231 and BT-483 breast cancer cells mediated by down-regulation of NFkappaB, cyclinD and MMP-1 transcription.
Liu Q, Loo WT, Sze SC, Tong Y.
School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, G/F Estates Building, 10 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.
Curcumin, an active constituent of turmeric, has been shown to possess inhibitory effect of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis towards a board range of tumors. Cell inhibition activities of curcumin are behaved differently in various cell types. To investigate the mechanism basis for the cell inhibition of curcumin on breast cancer cell lines, we examine curcumin effect on NFkappaB, cell cycle regulatory proteins and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in two breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and BT-483). Cell proliferation was performed by water soluble tetrazolium WST-1 assay. The effect of curcumin's on the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-1, 3, 9 were analyzed by RT-PCR. Cell cycle regulatory protein including cyclin D1, CDK4 and p21 were examined by immunochemistry. The expressions of NFkappaB in breast cancer cells treated with curcumin were studied by immunochemistry and western blot. The results from WST-1 cell proliferation assay showed that curcumin exhibited the anti-proliferation effect on MDA-MB-231 and BT-483 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. In response to the treatment, while, the expression of cyclin D1 had declined in MDA-MB-231 and the expression of CDK4 in BT-483 had declined. MMP1 mRNA expression in BT-483 and MDA-MB-231 had significantly decreased in curcumin treatment group compared with control group. Our finding extrapolates the antitumor activity of curcumin in mediating the breast cancer cell proliferative rate and invasion by down-regulating the NFkappaB inducing genes.

Cancer Lett. 2009 May 22.
Curcumin inhibits the migration and invasion of human A549 lung cancer cells through the inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF).
Lin SS, Lai KC, Hsu SC, Yang JS, Kuo CL, Lin JP, Ma YS, Wu CC, Chung JG.
Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Science, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taichung 406, Taiwan.
It is well known that matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) act an important role in the invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis of cancer cells. Agents suppressed the MMPs could inhibited the cancer cells migration and invasion. Numerous evidences had shown that curcumin (the active constituent of the dietary spice turmeric) has potential for the prevention and therapy of cancer. Curcumin can inhibit the formation of tumors in animal models of carcinogenesis and act on a variety of molecular targets involved in cancer development. There is however, no available information to address the effects of curcumin on migration and invasion of human lung cancer cells. The anti-tumor invasion and migration effects of lung cancer cells induced by curcumin were examined. Here, we report that curcumin suppressed the migration and invasion of human non-small cell lung cancer cells (A549) in vitro. Our findings suggest that curcumin has anti-metastatic potential by decreasing invasiveness of cancer cells. Moreover, this action was involved in the MEKK3, p-ERK signaling pathways resulting in inhibition of MMP-2 and -9 in human lung cancer A549 cells. Overall, the above data shows that the anticancer effect of curcumin is also exist for the inhibition of migration and invasion in lung cancer cells.