Turmeric, a wonder root?

Turmeric, a wonder root

Turmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years. In Southeast Asia. Turmeric is a product of Curcuma longa, a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, which is native to tropical South Asia. India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it. More than 100 components have been isolated from turmeric with the main component curcuminoids consist of curcumin demethoxycurcumin, 5’-methoxycurcumin, and dihydrocurcumin, which are found to be natural antioxidants.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has long been used as a herbal remedy in many cultures to alleviate many ailments including rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract infections, chronic anterior uveitis, conjunctivitis, skin cancer, and wound healing, just to name a few. Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent for cuts, burns, and bruises, and reduce dark spots and pigments. There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence of turmeric’s health benefits and in the last 100 years, modern medicine has studies to better understand how it works. One recent study has identified exactly how turmeric reduces melanin production and therefore, lighten the skin. Recent clinical research conducted by Dr. C Tu from the Department of Dermatology of Dalian Medical University in China shows the effects of turmeric on melanogenesis in human melanocytes. The results of the research suggest that turmeric activates melanin regulating signals Akt/GSK 3β, ERK or p38 MAPK to inhibit melanogenesis and therefore, yield less melanin production.

There are many do it yourself (DIY) recipes that call for mixing turmeric with potato, yogurt, and honey in varying combinations to aid in reducing dark spots to preventing acne. Unfortunately, these home remedies typically leave a yellow stain on the skin that is often difficult to wash off immediately. There is now a much easier way to gain all the benefits of turmeric without the hassle with the natural extract of turmeric called Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane.

Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane is a natural extract derived from Turmeric (Curcuma longa) roots is highly pure and colorless. Clinical studies have shown that tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, a polyphenol is an effective skin lightening agent by suppressing melanogenesis in B16 melanoma cells. It has been shown in clinical studies to be as effective as kojic acid and hydroquinone to lighten the skin. Additional benefits of tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The extract is safe for topical use with no irritant or sensitization side effects, as rated by EWG with the best rating of 1. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted its own clinical trials with turmeric and published a 300-page monograph. The FDA has declared turmeric and its active component curcumin as GRAS (generally regarded as safe).


References:

1. EWG rating of 1
2. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.
Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011
3. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1995 Jul 7;47(2):59-67. Selvam R, Subramanian L, Gayathri R, Angayarkanni N. Department of Medical Biochemistry, Dr. A.L. Mudaliar Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani, India
4. Phytotherapy Research. 2012 Feb;26(2):174-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3517. Epub 2011 May 17. Curcumin inhibits melanogenesis in human melanocytes.Tu CX1, Lin M, Lu SS, Qi XY, Zhang RX, Zhang YY.