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Curcuma longa (Curcumin)

Curcuma longa commonly known as Curcumin, Turmeric and Indian saffron is native to Southern and Eastern Asia due to it’s preference to grow in humid environments and need for well drained soil, growing up to 3 feet tall perennials with large lily leaves and yellow pale flowers, and producing orange pulp in it’s rhizomes.1, 2 The fleshy rhizome of the plant is used for medical and culinary purposes and is harvested in the winter months.
Anciently used as a dying and culinary colouring agent, Curcumin was valued to be an important botanical due to it’s use in aiding bruises when applied topically, and it’s medicinal uses with relieving and treating a wide array of inflammatory, blood and liver disorders.1, 3 It was also used as a primary traditional remedy in Chinese herbal and Ayurvedic Medicine for digestive concerns, to increase mucus production in the gastrointestinal system and for relieving nausea.2
From extensive clinical studies, curcumin has been well studied for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant applications, thus useful for treating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.5, 6 When applied to the skin, under sunlight, curcumin has been found to be antibacterial in nature and hence can be used for a wide array of skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. It has also been found to lower cholesterol levels, and have anti-carcinogenic properties, both as a preventive and addition to medical treatments.  Further research has also shown it to be an effective anti-coagulant, assisting in blood thinning and is used as a preventative measure for those at risk of developing heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. Curcumin is also known for improving and increasing bile flow and production.2, 4
1. Stuart, Malcolm. The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Herbalism. Classic Bookshops, 1979. Print.
2. Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing, 1996. Print.
3. Boon, Heather and Smith, Michael. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, 2nd ed. Robert Rose, 2004. Print. 
4. Godfrey, Anthony and Saunders Paul R. Principles and Practice of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine: Volume I: Botanical Medicine Monographs. CCNM Press Inc, 2010. Print.
5. Hoffman, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 2003. Print.
6. Heber, David. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Thomson, 2007. Print. 


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