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What Is Curcumin Extract?

Curcumin extract is typically generated from turmeric.
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  • Written By: B. Schreiber
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
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Curcumin extract is a concentrated form of curcumin, usually obtained from turmeric. Curcumin, which occurs naturally in turmeric, is the compound primarily thought to be responsible for the therapeutic or health-promoting properties of turmeric. It has been studied for possible use in treating or relieving multiple health conditions, including cancer, inflammatory disorders like arthritis and psoriasis, as well as some others. Curcumin has been found to have an antioxidant effect which may be the reason for its apparent benefits. Curcumin extract is available over-the-counter and can taken to gain the compound's possible health-promoting qualities.

Antioxidants are thought to play a possible role in preventing and fighting cancer, and curcumin is a strong antioxidant. Curcumin extract has been found to ward off cancer in some animal and test tube studies. It is thought to work by halting damage to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which is one proposed pathway for the development of cancer. Other possible cancer fighting roles curcumin extract might play are in reducing the inflammation that may give rise to certain cancers, and in repairing DNA damage that has already occurred.

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Scientific evidence has also recognized curcumin extract for a number of other promising, positive health benefits that might be due to its anti-inflammatory effect. One way curcumin might relieve inflammation is by its anti-histamine properties. Curcumin may relieve arthritis, an inflammatory condition that causes joint pain. Psoriasis, which is characterized by skin inflammation and other symptoms, is another possible target of curcumin extract's soothing effect on inflammation. Other immune and inflammatory conditions that have been proposed for studies with curcumin extract include Alzheimer's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

Curcumin extract is obtained from the roots of Curcuma longa, which is the plant that has provided turmeric for hundreds of years. It is thought to be relatively safe because of its history of use, but a doctor should be consulted for those who use blood-thinning drugs. Commercial preparations usually contain 90% or more of standardized curcumin extract.

Circumin is the substance in turmeric which gives curry powder its yellow color. Turmeric has a history of use in traditional Indian medicine. It was recommended to promote appetite and calm digestive ailments. The Indian medicinal tradition, called Ayurveda, also recommended turmeric for coughs and pain caused by rheumatism and arthritis.

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