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      Biological activities of Curcuma longa L.


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          There are several data in the literature indicating a great variety of pharmacological activities of Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae), which exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-human immunodeficiency virus, anti-bacteria, antioxidant effects and nematocidal activities. Curcumin is a major component in Curcuma longa L., being responsible for its biological actions. Other extracts of this plant has been showing potency too. In vitro, curcumin exhibits anti-parasitic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal effects; and also inhibits carcinogenesis and cancer growth. In vivo, there are experiments showing the anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory potency of curcumin and extracts of C. longa L. by parenteral and oral application in animal models. In this present work we make an overview of the pharmacological activities of C. longa L., showing its importance.

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          Most cited references36

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          Curcuminoids as potent inhibitors of lipid peroxidation.

          Earlier studies showed that curcumin is a potent inhibitor iron-catalysed lipid peroxidation. Demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and acetylcurcumin were tested for their ability to inhibit iron-stimulated lipid peroxidation in rat brain homogenate and rat liver microsomes. Comparison of the results with curcumin showed that all compounds are equally active, and more potent than alpha-tocopherol. These results showed that the methoxy and phenolic groups contribute little to the activity. Spectral studies showed that all compounds could interact with iron. Thus, the inhibition of iron-catalysed lipid peroxidation by curcuminoids may involve chelation of iron.
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            Turmeric--chemistry, technology, and quality.

            Turmeric is a minor spice in the West, but a major one in the East. It is valued by Westerners mainly, if not solely, on account of its color, but to the Asians both color and aroma are equally important. This review critically appraises the existing knowledge on the chemistry of the functionally important constituents, the processing of the spice into wholes, powder, and oleoresins, and the objective methods and standards available for evaluation of quality. The importance of the mild (but persistent) aroma, and the lack of detailed knowledge on the significant volatiles are discussed. Some unpublished data on significant aroma components, a tristimulus study of color, and subjective evaluations of quality are summarized. Other areas briefly discussed are the production and trade, curry powder, allied spices, and biosynthetic and physiological aspects. The confusion existing in the literature on the nomenclature of species included in the genus Curcuma is pointed out. In view of the growing importance of turmeric and its extracts as a natural food color, recent results on toxicological aspects are discussed. The areas in which research is needed are indicated at the end.
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              Natural products as drugs.

              Higher plants, many of which are threatened with extinction, are used as sources of pharmaceuticals and as ingredients of traditional medicines and are of value in new drug discovery. Artemisinin, taxol and camptothecin are examples of natural products which are undergoing clinical and commercial development. Several natural products isolated from plants used in traditional medicine have potent antiplasmodial action in vitro and represent potential sources of new antimalarial drugs. Plant biotechnology offers the possibility of improved production methods of cultivated medicinal plants as well as alternative approaches to the production of natural products for the preparation of pharmaceuticals.

                Author and article information

                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
                Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz
                Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde (Rio de Janeiro )
                July 2001
                : 96
                : 5
                : 723-728
                [1 ] Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Brazil
                [2 ] Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Brazil



                SciELO Brazil

                Self URI (journal page): http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=0074-0276&lng=en
                TROPICAL MEDICINE

                Parasitology,Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Curcuma longa L.,curcumin,medicinal plants
                Parasitology, Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Curcuma longa L., curcumin, medicinal plants


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