Indian spice may delay liver damage and cirrhosis

Mar 23, 2010

Curcumin, one of the principal components of the Indian spice turmeric, seems to delay the liver damage that eventually causes cirrhosis, suggests preliminary experimental research in the journal Gut.

Curcumin, which gives turmeric its bright yellow pigment, has long been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders.

Previous research has indicated that it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may be helpful in combating disease.

The research team wanted to find out if curcumin could delay the damage caused by progressive inflammatory conditions of the liver, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis.

Both of these conditions, which can be sparked by genetic faults or autoimmune disease, cause the liver's plumbing system of bile ducts to become inflamed, scarred, and blocked. This leads to extensive tissue damage and irreversible and ultimately fatal .

The research team analysed tissue and blood samples from mice with chronic liver inflammation before and after adding curcumin to their diet for a period of four and a period of eight weeks.

The results were compared with the equivalent samples from mice with the same condition, but not fed curcumin.

The findings showed that the curcumin diet significantly reduced bile duct blockage and curbed liver cell (hepatocyte) damage and scarring (fibrosis) by interfering with several chemical signalling pathways involved in the .

These effects were clear at both four and eight weeks. No such effects were seen in mice fed a normal diet.

The authors point out that current treatment for inflammatory involves ursodeoxycholic acid, the long term effects of which remain unclear. The other alternative is a .

Curcumin is a natural product, they say, which seems to target several different parts of the inflammatory process, and as such, may therefore offer a very promising treatment in the future.

Explore further: New Dominican law OKs abortion if life at risk

Related Stories

Toxic bile damages the liver

Oct 24, 2008

Researchers at the Heidelberg University Hospital have discovered a new genetic disease that can lead to severe liver damage. Because a protective component of the bile is missing, the liver cells are exposed to the toxic ...

Study Finds Chemical in Curry May Help Clear Plaques

Oct 03, 2006

UCLA/VA researchers found that curcumin - a chemical found in curry and turmeric - may help the immune system clear the brain of amyloid beta, which form the plaques found in Alzheimer's disease.

Recommended for you

Evidence plays limited role in OTC decision making

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For pharmacy graduates and tutors, evidence seems to play a limited role in over-the-counter decision making, according to a study published online Dec. 11 in the Journal of Evaluation in Cl ...

Shared medical appointments beneficial in geriatric care

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For older patients, a shared medical appointment (SMA) program facilitates early detection and referral for geriatric syndromes, according to an article published online Nov. 29 in the Journal of ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jonnie
not rated yet Mar 24, 2010
this is hardly recent news. i have read this years ago in various health magazines.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.