Turmeric: Not So Spicy After All
Harris, Robert G.
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Turmeric, also known as saffron Indian, prepared from the rhizome of Curcuma longa L. has an aromatic pepper-like, but somewhat bitter taste and gives curry dishes their characteristic yellowish colour. Curcumin, a non-toxic constituent of turmeric is responsible for the yellow colour, but importantly also has pharmacological potential. Many trials investigating the efficacy of curcumin against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among others have been carried out in vitro with encouraging results. These findings point to the antioxidant properties of curcumin as an important factor in its effectiveness. The problem of retention in vivo, however, and thus its bioavailability, is a major negative aspect which requires much further study.