Turmeric in turmoil of tumerogenesis

Dr. Krishnendu Maity

Introduction: – Turmeric powder and also Oleoresin are permitted for general use and as a natural food-colour in several countries – like India, USA, UK, Indonesia, Netherlands etc. and they are exempt from certificate.

The major colour pigment derived from turmeric is Curcumin. It is given the EEC number E100. The CAS number is 8024-37-1. The Colour Index number is CI NP 75300 and natural yellow 3.

The Joint Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) & World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee, Geneva, in the 8TH Report on Food Additives (1964) permitted it as a food colour. The WHO Food Additives Series No. 97 (1976) also certified it as a safe natural food colour. It is also listed in the Food Chemical Codex. A daily intake of 0.1 mg of Curcumin and 25 mg of Turmeric powder / Kg. of body weight is a safe accepted level. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, India, for general food use.

Curcumin is known to possess antioxidant properties. Curcumin is a non-nutrient blocking agent inhibits gene-toxic compounds. It has inhibitory effects on the Arachidonic Acid [A-A] Cascade. It prevents tumerogenesis. It inducts drug metabolizing enzymes like Glutathione-s-transferase. Induction of this enzyme may result in more efficient detoxification of cytotoxic or carcinogenic compounds.

Curcumin identified as a free Radical Scavenger. It has been shown to possess a property to scavenge free radicals. Researchers at the Bowling Green State University (OHIO) and Manchester University, UK – used pulse radiolysis to generate radicals and excited states of curcumin and studied their reactions with O2 & other molecules on time scales of less than one millionth of a second. These researchers have shown that Curcumin is an excellent Radical Scavenger. This is probably what makes it effective against carcinoma.

Curcumin easily forms a free radical which is particularly unreactive towards O2. It removes damaging radicals that may react with O2 in lipid perioxidation like vitamin C & vitamin E – the two main antioxidants responsible for inhibiting free radical damage in biological systems. Curcumin removes dangerous radicals, producing a stable radical of curcumin. More significantly vitamin C & vitamin E repair the curcumin radical – regenerating the curcumin molecule, which can repeat the cycle. Curcumin molecules thus acts like a shuttle or scavenger continuously removing damaging radicals that may react with O2 in lipid perioxidation. Curcumin does not react with singlet oxygen unlike other phenol material. It will not promote oxidative stress.

Work conducted in the Department of Clinical Immunology and Biological therapy. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, indicated that CUrcumin inhibits the growth of several different kinds of tumour cells. Curcumin is a potent & selective inhibitor of Phosphorylase-kinase – a key regulatory enzyme involved in the metabolism of Glycogen. This has important implications for the anti-carcinogenic effect of curcumin.

Curcumin kills S. typhimurium, E. coli and S. aureus completely within 15 minutes. It also has beneficial action in liver metabolism and in lowering the Cholesterol level.

An Overview on Curcumina Longa

Curcurmina Longa

  • Botanical Name      :           Curcuma longa Linn.
  • Hindi                           :           Haldi.
  • English                        :           Turmeric.
  • French                        :           Curcuma.
  • Family                         :           Zingiberaceæ.
  • Parts used                   :           Rhizome.
  • Preparation                  :           According to Class IV of Hahnemannian method.
  • Drug Power     :           1/10.
  • Active Principles          :           Zingiberen, Cucurmina, Ciclocurcumina.
  • Prescribed dose           :           θ and higher.

 History & Authority: It was introduced and proved by Arya, Balachandran & Augustine [Hahnemannian Gleanings, XLIV, No. 7, 1977, 320-330].

Main indications: – It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and effective in certain conditions of arthritis. Internally, it is administered for prevention of malignant tumors and for biliary-lithiasis syndrome, dyspepsia & in rheumatism diseases. The indications of its topical administration are ulcers, skin infections, acne etc. Curcuma is used in food as flavoring, as constituent of spice called ‘curry’, as well as colouring for cheese & mustard for lunch.

Probably Effective Dosage: – 5 to 3 gm daily, administered before meals.

Contraindications: – Antitrombotica therapy and Gastric immunosuppressive therapy during pregnancy.

The turmeric has been used in Ayuverda, in the situations viz. biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, wounds in diabetes, liver ailments, rheumatism, sinusitis etc. 

Recently the literatures have shown that Curcumina has the following effects: –

  • Anti-cancer – Increases the effect of chemotherapy in cases of resistance to multiple drugs.
  • Anti-arterosclerotic.
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces cholesterol.
  • Reduces oxidation of LDL.
  • Inhibits aggregation of platelets.
  • Decreases the size of thrombosis in Myocardial Infarction.
  • Diabetes type II – It has hypoglycæmic effects; reduces levels of glycosylated hæmoglobin and micro-albuminuria.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Alzheimer’s disease – It slows down the degenerative process.
  • Cystic fibrosis – it corrects some defects.
  • Inflammatory diseases of the eye – Anterior Uveitis; Chronic, idiopathic orbital pseudo-tumour.
  • Reduces the pain in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Diseases of skin – Psoriasis, Dermatitis etc.
  • Stimulates muscle regeneration.
  • Improves the regeneration of injured part.
  • Healing scabs.
  • Protects the liver and kidneys from toxic injury.
  • Increases the biliary secretion.
  • Decreases the formation of gallstones.
  • Effect in inflammatory diseases of intestine.
  • Protects against the formation of cataracts.
  • Protects the lung from fibrosis.
  • Inhibits the replication of HIV.
  • Inhibits the replication of Leishmania.

Effects of Curcumina in Cancer: – The curcumina has a number of effects in the prevention and treatment of cancer. It is the phytochemical that inhibits the greatest number of ways of signaling transduction & transcription and therefore has as potent anti-proliferative effect on cancer, apoptotic and anti-angiogenic.

 Mechanisms of Action in Curcumina :

  • Inhibits via Growth Factor.
  • Inhibits the activity of Protein Tyrosine Kinase (PTK) of the EGF receptor.
  • EGF inhibits the Tyrosine Phosphorylation caused by EGF receptor and intrinsic kinase activity of the EGF receptor.
  • Inhibits “Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase” (MAPK) – which inhibits the signaling pathway of c-Jun Nterminal Kinase (JNK).
  • Inhibits the activation of IL-1 on MAP kinase
  • Decreases the expression of MMP gene
  • Suppresses the transcription of transcription factor “Early Growth Response” -1 (EGR-1).
  • Decreases the expression of androgen receptor.
  • Inhibits the Threonine Protein Kinase, Protein Kinase C (PKC), Protein Kinase A (PKA) and Phosphorylase Kinase (PhK).
  • Inhibits the protein kinase dependent on cyclic AMP.
  • Inhibits AP-1 (activator of the protein-1)
  • Inhibits the expression of proto-oncogenes c-fos, c-jun and c-myc induced by TPA (tumor-promoting agent).
  • Inhibits the expression of c-Jun protein and c-Fos induced by TPA and ultraviolet ray.
  • Inhibits IL-1 & TNF induced by AP-1, activation of AP-1 induced by TPA, release of AP-1
  • Decreases the expression of MMP gene.
  • Inhibits NF-kappa B.
  • Suppresses the activation of transcription of NF-kappa B in the nucleus.
  • Inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines by blood monocytes and alveolar macrophages.
  • Regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • Inhibits the activity of the Ikappa B kinase, which is activator of NF-kappa B .
  • Inhibits angiogenesis induced by MMP-9 (Matrix Metalloproteinase) and FGF-2 (Fibroblast Growth Factor).
  • Reduces the expression of Endothelial Tissue Factor Gene.
  • Inhibits the transcription & expression of COX2.
  • Inhibits the expression of the enzyme induced Nitric Oxide Synthaze (iNOS) and decreases the production of HNO3.
  • Induces the expression of p21 gene.
  • Suppresses the Cyclin-Dependent Kinase (CDK), the cyclin D1; inhibiting cell cycle.
  • Inhibits the activity of Phospholipase D in mammalian.
  • Inhibits Ca-ATPase of Sarcoplasm Reticulum.
  • Increases the rate of accumulation of intracellular calcium ion.
  • Inhibits the activity & expression of LOX and COX.
  • Induces increased activity of Glutathione S-transferaze (GST)
  • Modulates the activity of Cytochrome P450 & P-glycoprotein and induces sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents.
  • Stimulates the expression of stress proteins.
  • Inhibits protein transferase (FPTase).
  • Removes molecules of membership by removing metastases.
  • Suppresses the formation of inflammatory cytokines viz. TNF, IL-1, IL-12 and Quimocinas.
  • Inhibits the activity of Telomerase.

Effects of Curcumina in Cancer “in vitro”: – The curcumina suppresses the proliferation of various types of tumour cells in vitro e.g. Carcinoma of Breast, Carcinoma of Colon, Prostate Carcinoma, Basal cell Carcinoma, Melanoma, Acute Myeloid Leukæmia, T-cell Leukæmia and β-Lymphoma cells.

The curcumina interfere with malignant cell proliferation in several ways. It inhibits the effects of factors of tumor growth; inhibit proteins involved in cell-cycle and inhibits Ornithine De-Carboxylase (ODC).

Researchers showed: – “Inflammation is involved in carcinogenesis and curcumina is a potent agent anti-inflammatory” – Dr. Joe in 1997 showed that 10 micromoles of curcumina inhibited by 82% the incorporation of arachidonic acid in the cytoplasmic membrane of macrophages from mouse peritoneum. Also inhibited by 45% the amount of prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4 to 61% next to 40% increase in the secretion of 6-keto PGF1a.

Dr. Chen in 1997 showed that curcumina inhibits FPTase, which prevents the formation of Ras protein p21 and consequently prevents the proliferative effects.

References: –

  • Encyclopædia of Homœopathic Pharmacopœia – by Dr. P. N. Verma and Dr. Indu Vaid  [1ST edition, 1995; B. Jain].
  • www.medicinacomplementar.com.br
  • www.tratamente-naturiste.ro/plante-medicinale
  • www.amastore.com
  • www.naturalayurvediccare.com

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