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Curcuma (Curcumae longae rhizoma)

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Authorisation details
Latin name of the genus: Curcuma
Latin name of herbal substance: Curcumae longae rhizoma
Botanical name of plant: Curcuma longa L.
English common name of herbal substance: Turmeric
Status: F: Final positive opinion adopted
Date added to the inventory: 22/11/2005
Date added to priority list: 22/11/2005
Outcome of European Assessment: Community herbal monograph
Additional Information:





Product Characteristics
COMMUNITY HERBAL MONOGRAPH ON CURCUMA LONGA L., RHIZOMA
1. N AME OF THE MEDICINAL PRODUCT
To be specified for the individual finished product.
2. Q UALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE COMPOSITION 1
Well-established use
Traditional use
With regard to the registration application of Article
16d(1) of Directive 2001/83/EC as amended
Curcuma longa L., rhizoma (turmeric root)
i) Herbal substance
Not applicable
ii) Herbal preparations
A) Powdered herbal substance
B) Comminuted herbal substance
C) Tincture (Ratio of herbal substance to extraction
solvent 1:10), extraction solvent ethanol 70% (v/v)
D) Dry extract (DER 13-25:1), extraction solvent
ethanol 96% (v/v)
E) Dry extract (DER 5.5-6.5:1), extraction solvent
ethanol 50% (v/v)
F) Tincture (Ratio of herbal substance to extraction
solvent 1:5), extraction solvent ethanol 70% (v/v)
3. P HARMACEUTICAL F ORM
Well-established use
Traditional use
Comminuted herbal substance as herbal tea for oral use.
Herbal preparations in liquid or solid dosage forms for
oral use.
The pharmaceutical form should be described by the
European Pharmacopoeia full standard term.
1 The declaration of the active substance(s) for an individual finished product should be in accordance with relevant
herbal quality guidance
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4. C LINICAL P ARTICULARS
4.1. Therapeuticindications
Well-established use
Traditional herbal medicinal product used to
increase bile flow for the relief of symptoms of
indigestion (such as sensation of fullness,
flatulence, and slow digestion).
The product is a traditional herbal medicinal
product for use in the specified indication
exclusively based upon long-standing use.
4.2. Posology and method of administration
Well-established use
Traditional use
Posology
Adults and elderly
A) Powdered herbal substance: 1.5-3.0 g daily;
B) Comminuted herbal substance for tea
preparation: 0.5-1 g, up to 3 times daily as an
infusion;
C) Tincture (1:10): 0.5-1 ml 3 times daily;
D) Dry extract (13-25:1): 80-160 mg, divided in
2-5 partial doses daily;
E) Dry extract (5.5-6.5:1): 100-200 mg, 2 times
daily;
F) Tincture (1:5): 10 ml once daily or 5 ml in
60 ml water 3 times daily;
The use in children and adolescents under
18 years of age is not recommended (see section
4.4 ‘Special warnings and precautions for use’)
Duration of use
If the symptoms persist longer than 2 weeks, a
doctor or a qualified health care practitioner
should be consulted.
Method of administration
Oral use.
4.3. Contraindications
Well-established use
Traditional use
Hypersensitivity to the active substance(s).
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Obstruction of bile duct, cholangitis, liver disease,
gallstones and any other biliary diseases.
4.4. Special warnings and precautions for use
Well-established use
Traditional use
The use in children and adolescents is not
recommended due to lack of adequate data.
If symptoms worsen during the use of the
medicinal product a doctor or a qualified health
care practitioner should be consulted.
For tinctures containing ethanol, the appropriate
labelling for ethanol, taken from the ‘Guideline on
excipients in the label and package leaflet of
medicinal products for human use’, must be
included.
4.5. Interactions with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction
Well-established use
Traditional use
None reported.
4.6. Pregnancy and lactation
Well-established use
Traditional use
Safety during pregnancy and lactation has not
been established.
In the absence of sufficient data, the use during
pregnancy and lactation is not recommended.
4.7. Effects on ability to drive and use machines
Well-established use
Traditional use
No studies on the effect on the ability to drive and
use machines have been performed.
4.8. Undesirable effects
Well-established use
Traditional use
Mild symptoms of dry mouth, flatulence and
gastric irritation may occur. The frequency is not
known.
If other adverse reactions not mentioned above
occur, a doctor or a qualified health care
practitioner should be consulted.
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4.9. Overdose
Well-established use
Traditional use
No case of overdose has been reported.
5. P PHARMACOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
5.1. Pharmacodynamicproperties
Well-established use
Traditional use
Not required as per Article 16c(1)(a)(iii) of
Directive 2001/83/EC as amended.
5.2. Pharmacokineticproperties
Well-established use
Traditional use
Not required as per Article 16c(1)(a)(iii) of
Directive 2001/83/EC as amended.
5.3. Preclinical safety data
Well-established use
Traditional use
Not required as per Article 16c(1)(a)(iii) of
Directive 2001/83/EC as amended, unless
necessary for the safe use of the product.
Adequate tests on reproductive toxicity,
genotoxicity and carcinogenicity have not been
performed.
6. PHARMACEUTICAL PARTICULARS
Well-established use
Traditional use
Not applicable.
7. DATE OF COMPILATION / LAST REVISION
9 November 2009
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Assessment Report
I.
REGULATORY OVERVIEW
I.1
..........................................................................................................3
INTRODUCTION
.................................................................................................................... 6
I.1.1
Description of the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s) or combinations thereof
....... 6
I.1.2
Information on period of medicinal use in the Community regarding the specified
indication
............................................................................................................................... 8
I.2
NON-CLINICAL DATA
.......................................................................................................... 9
I.2.1
Pharmacology
I.2.1.1
Overview of available data regarding the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s)
........................................................................................................................ 9
and relevant constituents thereof
................................................................................... 9
I.2.1.2
Overall conclusions on pharmacology
........................................................................ 15
I.2.2
Pharmacokinetics
................................................................................................................ 15
I.2.2.1
Overview of available data regarding the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s) and
relevant constituents thereof
........................................................................................... 15
I.2.2.2
Overall conclusions on pharmacokinetics
................................................................... 15
I.2.3
Toxicology
I.2.3.1
.......................................................................................................................... 15
Overview of available data regarding the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s)
and relevant constituents thereof
................................................................................. 15
I.2.3.2
Overall conclusions on toxicology
.............................................................................. 16
I.3
CLINICAL DATA
.................................................................................................................. 16
I.3.1
Clinical pharmacology
I.3.1.1
........................................................................................................ 16
Pharmacodynamics
..................................................................................................... 16
I.3.1.2
Pharmacokinetics
........................................................................................................ 16
I.3.2
Clinical Efficacy / Longstanding use and experience
I.3.2.1
......................................................... 16
Posology and duration of use
...................................................................................... 16
I.3.2.2
Clinical studies (case studies and clinical trials)
......................................................... 17
I.3.2.3
Clinical studies in special populations (e.g. elderly and children)
.............................. 23
I.3.2.4
Overall conclusions on (clinical) efficacy / traditional medicinal use
........................ 23
I.3.3
Clinical Safety / Pharmacovigilance
I.3.3.1
................................................................................... 23
Patient exposure
.......................................................................................................... 23
I.3.3.2
Adverse effects
............................................................................................................ 23
I.3.3.3
Serious adverse events and deaths
.............................................................................. 24
I.3.3.4
Laboratory findings
..................................................................................................... 24
I.3.3.5
Safety in special populations and situations
I.3.3.5.1
............................................................... 24
Intrinsic
.................................................................................................................. 24
I.3.3.5.2
Drug interactions
................................................................................................... 24
I.3.3.5.3
Use in pregnancy and lactation
.............................................................................. 25
I.3.3.5.4
Overdose
................................................................................................................ 25
I.3.3.5.5
Drug abuse
............................................................................................................. 25
I.3.3.5.6
Withdrawal and rebound
........................................................................................ 25
I.3.3.5.7
Effects on ability to drive or operate machinery or impairment of mental ability
25
I.3.3.5.8
Contra-indications
................................................................................................. 25
I.3.3.6
Overall conclusions on clinical safety
........................................................................ 25
I.4
OVERALL CONCLUSIONS
................................................................................................. 26
II
ANNEXES
I.5
...................................................................................................................................... 26
Community Herbal Monograph on Curcuma longa L., rhizoma
............................................ 26
I.6
Literature References
.............................................................................................................. 26
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I.
REGULATORY OVERVIEW
Member State
Herbal Medicinal Product
Well-Established Use
Herbal Medicinal Product
Traditional Use
Other Classification
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
-
-
Cyprus
Czech Republic - Combination medicinal product
containing Curcumae longae
rhizomatis pigmenta 1969
*Preparation:
Frangulae modinum 9 mg, Curcumae
longae rhizomatis pigmenta 22.5 mg,
Magnesii salicylas 100 mg, Eucalypti
etheroleum 1 926 mg, Menthae
piperitae etheroleum 3 600 mg,
Levomentholum 9 mg/10 ml;
*Since 1969 is the preparation on the
market;
*Pharmaceutical form: por gtt sol
*Posology: for oral use,
5-10 drops three times daily;
*Indications: cholelithiasis, chronic
cholecystitis, dyspeptic disorders in
chronic hepatitis and after surgery in
biliary duct;
*Contraindications: pregnancy (first
trimester), lactation, in serious renal
failure, acute inflammations in
hepatobiliary tract, children under 12
years of age, children and adolescents
under 17 years of age suffering with
fever;
*Special warnings: risk of Rey
syndrome due to Magnesii salicylas
content.
-
Pending registration:
*Preparation:
Fluid extract from
Curcuma longa L.,
rhizoma extracted with
mixture ethanol : water 1:1
(as dry residue) 100
mg/tbl, corresponding to
12.5 mg curcuminoides,
calculated as curcumin;
*Pharmaceutical form: por
tbl nob;
*Posology: for oral use, 1
to 2 tablets before meal,
maximum daily dosage 8
tablets;
*Indications (draft, not
agreed yet): choleretic and
cholagogue; treatment and
prevention of functional
digestive disorders of
hepatic origin,
hepatoprotective;
*Contraindications (draft,
not agreed yet): severe
hepatic disorders, biliary
obstruction, cholelithiasis,
hypersensitivity to the
components of the product.
Denmark
Kissinger tablets and pills, combination
products (with 10 active substances) on
market as laxative between 1956 and
1993.
-
Danish medicines Agency
has no information
regarding products
marketed as food
supplements.
Estonia
-
-
All products containing
Curcuma longa are
classified as non-medicinal
products, probably
classified as food
supplements which
requires registration at the
Veterinary and Food
Board.
Finland
-
-
France
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Member State Herbal Medicinal Product
Well-Established Use
Herbal Medicinal Product
Traditional Use
Other Classification
Germany
*Dry extract (13-25:1), ethanol 96%
V/V;
*for internal use, adults and adolescents
over 12 years;
*coated tablet: 3 x 1 containing 30 mg
dry extract (max. 5 daily);
hard capsule: 2 x 1 containing 81 mg
dry extract;
*Dyspeptic complaints, particularly
based on functional affections of the
biliary tract;
*AR: GI complaints like feeling of
fullness, heartburn, vomiting,
diarrhoea; longer use may cause gastric
pain; hypersensitivity reactions of the
skin (frequency unknown);
*I: no report of clinical interactions
SPC: Animal tests and human in vitro
tests indicate that there may be an
influence of different phases of the
CYP 450 system and the
p-glycoprotein. Benefit/risk assessment
has to be made carefully, if medicinal
products which are metabolised by
these systems, are taken concomitantly;
*Authorised products on market, no
pharamovigilance actions.
*Dry extract (13-25:1), ethanol 96%
V/V;
*for internal use, adults and
adolescents over 12 years;
*soft capsule: 3 x 1 containing 13.5 mg
dry extract;
*Traditional used to promote the
digestion;
*AR: GI complaints like feeling of
fullness, heartburn, vomiting,
diarrhoea; longer use may cause gastric
pain; hypersensitivity reactions of the
skin (frequency unknown);
*Authorised products on market, no
pharamovigilance actions.
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
-
-
Italy
-
-
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxemburg
Malta
The Netherlands -
-
Norway
-
-
One product a product
containing curcuma and an
amino acid, classified as
food supplement, is widely
used. 3 reports on
pharmacovigilance
associated with this
product.
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Member State Herbal Medicinal Product
Well-Established Use
Herbal Medicinal Product
Traditional Use
Other Classification
Poland
Curcumae longae rhizoma extractum
DER 1:5, extraction solvent: ethanol
70% v/v;
*Indication: treatment of mild digestive
disturbances and minor biliary
dysfunction;
*Posology: Adults: in digestive
disturbances 10 ml once daily; as an
adjuvant in biliary dysfunction 5 ml of
the drug diluted with 60 ml water 3
times daily. Children from 12 years: in
digestive disturbances 5 ml of the drug
diluted with 60 ml water once daily;
*AR: none known with exception
hepersensitivity reactions
*Authorised product on market
Portugal
-
-
Romania
-
-
Slovakia
The herbal substance is only available
in one authorised combination product.
*Composition: Curcumae radicis
pigmenta 0.0225 g, magnesii salicylas
0.18 g, menthae piperitae aetheroleum
3.6 g, eucalypti aetheroleum 1.926 g,
frangulaemodinum 0.009 g;
*indicated for cholelithiasis, chronic
cholecystithis and dyspeptic disorders.
-
Slovenia
Spain
Dry hydroethanolic extract of dried
rhizomes of Curcuma longa L. (5.5-
6.5:1 ethanol 50% V/V) corresponding
to 10-15 mg curcuminoids;
*Posology: adults 1-2 tablets,
2 times a day, before meals.
Adolescents over 12 years of age: 1
tablet, 2 times a day, before meals
(tablets of 100 mg of dry extract as
declared)
*Indication: symptomatic treatment of
mild digestive disturbances due to
biliary disfunction
* product is on the market, status:
Publicitarias
Sweden
-
-
Only one combination
product is approved as
natural remedy.
Composition:
Curcuma longa, Cynara
scolymus, Gentiana lutea
United Kingdom -
-
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I.1
INTRODUCTION
I.1.1
Description of the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s) or combinations thereof
Herbal substance
Curcumae longae rhizoma or turmeric, consists of the scalded and dried rhizomes of Curcuma
longa L . (C. domestica Valeton) [102].
Other documented synonyms of C. longa : C. aromatica Salisbury and Amomum curcuma Jacq.)
[18, 92]. Common names for C. longa : turmeric, curcuma.
Besides C. longa also C. rotunda is mentioned in some older references. Nowadays C. rotunda is
considered to be a former trade name for the product containing the primary rhizomes (bulb or
round turmeric) in distinction to the product consisting of the thinner and longer secondary
rhizomes (longa-form), both originating from C. domestica L. [4, 46].
Other names : Curcuma, Indian saffron, Haridra (Sanskrit, Ayurvedic), Jianghuang (= yellow ginger
in Chinese), Kyoo or Ukon (Japanese) [113].
The European Pharmacopoeia describes in the monograph for Curcumae xanthorrhizae rhizoma a
TLC-test for C. domestica and its modifications for identifying C. xanthorrhizae [100] .
The monographs of ESCOP and Commission E mention that the herbal substance contains not less
than 2.5 resp. 3 percent dicinnamoylmethane derivates, calculated as curcumin, and not less than
2.5 resp. 3 percent volatile oil, both calculated on a dry–weight basis of the drug [108, 93].
Constituents
(see also Fig. 1)
Carbohydrates: 69.4% of total mass [2].
Curcuminoids: this is a mixture of curcumin (diferuloylmethane), monodexmethoxycurcumin and
bisdesmethoxycurcumin [3-7]. Curcumin makes up approximately 90% of the curcuminoid content
in turmeric [8].
The phenolic groups in the structure of curcumin explain the ability of curcumin to eliminate
oxygen-derived free radicals. [9] The free radicals which can be eliminated by curcumin are
hydroxyl radical [10], singlet oxygen [11], superoxide radical [12], nitrogen dioxide [13] and NO
[14].
The curcumin content of the Curcuma longa rhizome varies from 0.6 to 5% of the dry mass [15].
The dry turmeric rhizomes contain 3-5% curcumin, the curcumin content of turmeric oleoresin is
40% [16].
Essential oil: 5.8% of total mass, constituents are: a-phellandrene 1%, sabinene 0.6%, cineol 1%,
borneol 0.5%, zingiberene 25%, and sesquiterpenes 53% [2]. The mono- and sesquiterpenes include
zingiberene, curcumene, α- and β-turmerone [3-7].
Mineral matter: 3.5% of total mass [2].
Moisture: 13.1% of total mass [2].
Polypeptides: [6, 7].
Protein: 6.3% of total mass [2].
Fatty oil: [17]
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Fig. 1: Structures of main components of Rhizoma Curcumae longae [18].
Treatment of the herbal substance immediately after harvesting
According to some handbooks the plant material is processed before drying [92, 93,108]. Hager’s
Handbuch describes that after harvest, the rhizomes are cooked for a short time or heated with hot
water [44-46]. The Indian and Japanese Pharmacopoeias also describe the ‘curing’, consisting of
boiling and (sun) drying of the rhizomes as well as identification by different color reaction tests.
The Chinese Pharmacopoeia mentions: collection of rhizomes, washing, boiling or steaming,
cutting in thick slices, sun drying and separation from roots [117].
Max Wichtl’s Herbal Drugs mentions that the yellowish brown color of the herbal substance is due
to the steaming or scalding treatment after harvesting [4].
As pharmacological and (pre)clinical studies do not contain any data on the pretreatment of the
plant material, and research data on the scalding effect are missing, the impact of the scalding
treatment on the active compounds c.q. efficacy of C. longa preparations remains unclear. The
scalding treatment is considered to be a traditional procedure mainly for food purposes.
Herbal preparations, specified for the individual final product
Powdered Curcuma longa rhizome [18, 93, 99, 108].
Ethanolic (80%) extract [19], [20-28]
Aqueous extract: [29, 30]
Ointment: 0.5% [31]
Tincture: (1:10) [18]
Paste: 15 g turmeric powder in 85 g petroleum jelly [32], or a mix of 1 part of turmeric powder with
4 parts of neem leaves ( Azadirachta indica ) [33].
Oil: 3-5.5% [34]
Oleoresin powder: 40% [35]
Essential oil: 70% (w/w) [35]
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I.1.2
Information on period of medicinal use in the Community regarding the specified indication
Curcuma longa has been documented in the following handbooks:
Reference
Indication
“Lehrbuch der
Phytotherapie” by R.F.
Weiss (1974) [39]
Hauptbestandteil von Curry, das reizend auf die Schleimhäute des
Magen wirkt und anregend auf der Gallenfunktion.
“Lexikon der
Arzneipflanzen und
Drogen” by K. Hiller (year
unknown) [40]
Dyspeptische Beschwerden. In den Herkunftsgebieten bei
entzündlichen und septischen Haut- sowie Augenerkrankungen.
“Pflanzliche Drogen” by
W. Schneider (1974) [41]
Früher als Magenmittel und bei Gelbsucht, jetzt nur noch als
Färbemittel.
“Drogenkunde” by H.
Hoppe (1943) [42]
Mittel bei Leber- und Gallenleiden. Gegen Wechselfieber und
Wassersucht. Magenmittel und Gewürz.
“Lehrbuch der biologischen
Heilmittel” by G. Madaus
(1938, reprint 1979) [43]
Gallen- und Gallentreibemittel, das auch bei Cholelithiasis.
Cholangitis, Cholecystitis, dyspeptische Leberleidender und
Ikterus angewandt wird.
“Hagers handbuch der
pharmazeutischen praxis”
by B. Reichert (1944, 1949)
[44, 45]
Gegen Leberleiden, wirkt abführend [44].
Früher als Magenmittel und bei Gelbsucht, jetzt nur noch als
Färbemittel [45].
“Hagers handbuch der
pharmazeutischen praxis”
by P.H. List (1973) [46]
Cholagogum und cholereticum, früher als Magenmittel und bei
Gelbsucht.
Information on period of medicinal use outside the Community
Experience with C. longa in traditional medicinal systems outside the EU
In many Asian countries the use of turmeric as a food spice, colorant and medicine has a long
tradition.
China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Nepal
Turmeric is used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine. It is official in the Pharmacopoeia of
the People’s Republic of China as well as in the Japanese Herbal Medicines Codex (JSHM, 1993)
and is used in these countries and Korea for a range of indications including abdominal fullness,
kidney pain, and amenorrhea. In China an aqueous decoction dosage form is ingested orally and
applied topically [117].
India
Turmeric is used extensively in the Indian systems of medicine (Ayurvedha, Unani, and Siddha)
and is official (Haridra) in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (API, 1989). In Ayurvedic
medicine turmeric has a long history of use as an anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis. In both the
Ayurvedha and Siddha systems of medicine, a turmeric paste is used topically to treat ulcers and
scabies [117].
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The Swami Prakashananda Ayurveda Research Centre lists as indications for turmeric: urticaria and
skin allergy, viral hepatitis, inflammatory conditions of joints, sore throat and wounds [117].
I.2
NON-CLINICAL DATA
I.2.1
Pharmacology
I.2.1.1
Overview of available data regarding the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s) and
relevant constituents thereof
Documentation regarding the route of administration
Oral administration is the main route of administration for Curcuma longa preparations.
Curcuma longa can also be used topically and via inhalation (Ayurvedic tradition).
Topical use of C. longa
Turmeric is applied topically for the treatment of acne, wounds, boils, bruises, blistering, ulcers,
eczema, insect bites, parasitic infections, heamorrhages and skin diseases like herpes zoster and
pemphigus [18, 37,113].
It is used in the form of a paste or ointment (mixture with oil or other substances), as a tincture or
extract. However, no information could be found in literature on the composition of the products,
the posology and the duration use.
Phytochemical research data on major components in Curcuma longa
Pozharitskaya et al. describe a HPTLC method to determine the total of curcuminoids and to
determine curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin in Curcuma longa .
A combination of HPTLC, with a diode array detector (DAD) and post chromatographic DPPH
radical derivatisation was developed to separate and quantify the free-radical scavenging activity of
individual compounds of Curcuma longa [47].
Sacchetti et al. characterized Curcuma longa essential oil using GC and GC-MS. Radical-
scavenging and antioxidant properties were tested using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH)
assay and luminol-photochemiluminescence (PLC) assay [48].
Pharmacodynamics
Anti-inflammation
Curcuminoids inhibit LOX, COX, phospholipases, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, thromboxane, nitric
oxide [49, 50], elastase, hyaluronidase, collagenase, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, interferon
inducible protein, TNF and interleukin-12 [50].
Curcuminoids decrease prostaglandin formation and inhibit leukotriene biosynthesis via the
lipoxygenase pathway [51].
Anti-depression
The effect of curcumin was investigated in a rat chronic mild stress (CMS) model. In comparison
with normal rats, rats suffering the CMS procedure have a significant lower intake of sucrose,
increased IL-6, TNF-α levels, CRF- and cortisol levels. Treatment with ethanolic extract increased
the sucrose intake to normal control levels, reduced the CMS-induced increase in serum IL-6 and
TNF-α levels and reduced the CRF levels in serum and medulla oblongata to lower than normal. It
also lowered the cortisol levels in serum to normal levels [20].
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A turmeric ethanolic extract was found to prevent chronic mild stress induced increase of serum IL-
6, TNF-α, CRF- and cortisol levels [20].
Curcuma longa has antidepressant effects mediated through inhibition of monoamine oxidize A
[61].
Curcuma longa ethanolic extract reversed the decrease in serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine
concentrations as well as the increase in serotonin turnover, cortisol levels and the in serum
corticotrophin-releasing factor [21].
Curcumin increased brain-derived neurotropic factor in the frontal cortex and hippocampus [20].
Atherosclerosis
Curcumin mobilizes α-tocopherol from adipose tissue, this results in protection against oxidative
damage produced during atherosclerosis development. Curcumin increases VLDL cholesterol
transport in plasma, which results in increasing levels of α-tocopherol [52].
Cancer
Curcumin inhibits cell growth by inhibiting expression of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and
the angiogenesis factors vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth
factor (b-FGF) [53].
Curcumin induces apoptosis of cancer cells [54] and it inhibits angiogenesis [55].
Curcumin blocks cyclosporine A-resistant phorbol myristate acetate + anti-CD28 pathway of
T-cell proliferation [56].
Curcumin reduces the testicular damage caused by exposure to di-n-butylphthalate (DBP), by
increase in Glutathion (GSH), testosterone levels and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)
activity and decrease in malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. These effects may be due to intrinsic
antioxidative abilities of curcumin [57-59].
Dietary curcumin inhibits DMBA- and TPA-induced expression of ras-p21 and fos-p62 oncogenes
[60].
Diabetes
A hexane extract (containing ar-turmerone), ethanolic extract (containing containing ar-turmerone,
curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) and ethanolic extract from the residue
of the hexane extraction (containing curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin)
were found to dose-dependently stimulate adipocyte differentiation. The results indicate that
turmeric ethanolic extract containing both curcuminoids and sesquiterpenoids is more strongly
hypoglycemic than either curcuminoids or sesquiterpenoids [22].
Hepatoprotective activity
Curcumin protects cells against lipid peroxidation induced by paracetamol. This may be due to the
antioxidative effects of the phenolic groups of curcumin [74].
Curcumin was found to decrease serum aspartate transaminase and alkaline phosphatase activity,
and free fatty acid, cholesterol and phospholipid levels [62] .
The exact mechanism of action is still unclear.
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Pharmacological activities of extracts of Curcuma longa
Antifungal, antibacterial, phytotoxic, cytotoxic and insecticidal activity
Khattak et al. studied the antifungal, antibacterial, phytotoxic, cytotoxic and insecticidal activity of
an ethanolic extract of Curcuma longa (extract preparation not specified). The extract showed
antifungal activity towards Trichophyton longifusus and Microsporum canis and weak antibacterial
activity against Staphylococcus aureus . Toxic activity was observed against Lemna minor .
The LD50 in a brine shrimp lethality bioassay Curcuma longa was 33 μg/ml. Curcuma showed no
insecticidal activity [25].
Atherosclerosis
A high-cholesterol diet given to New Zealand White rabbits leads to development of atherosclerosis
in the rabbits. Rabbits given a dietary supplement of a Curcuma longa extract in combination with a
high-cholesterol diet showed a positive effect on the animals’ antioxidant status compared to
controls. Curcumin has shown to mobilize α-tocopherol from adipose tissue, thus protecting their
body against oxidative damage produced during the development of atherosclerosis. Also more
LDL cholesterol could be transported in plasma, increasing levels of α-tocopherol. Overall the fatty
acids in the animals were less susceptible to oxidation in the vessel wall [52].
Diabetes
The effect of an ethanolic extract of turmeric on blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic KK-A y mice
and stimulated human adipocyte differentiation was investigated by Kuroda et al. The extract was
prepared by a two time extraction of powdered turmeric, with five volumes of ethanol. The extract
was concentrated under reduced pressure to give 12.2 g of ethanolic extract. In the experiment on
the human adipocytes a stimulation of adipocyte differentiation was observed. The activity of
5.0 μg/ml and 10.0 μg/ml ethanolic extract was more potent than that of 0.22 μg/ml and 0.44 μg/ml
of troglitazone, which was therapeutically used as anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory drug in
humans, until it was withdrawn in 2000 for causing drug-induced hepatitis [23].
Nishiyama et al . studied the influence of three turmeric extracts on blood glucose levels in type
2 diabetic KK-A y mice. The extracts used were an ethanolic extract, a hexanic extract and an
ethanolic extract from the residue of the hexane extraction. The ethanolic extract and hexanic
extract were obtained from powdered Curcuma longa by extracting twice with five volumes of
ethanol or hexane and filtration and evaporation of the solvent. The ethanolic extract from the
residue of the hexane extraction was obtained using the same method. To determine the mechanism
of action the extracts were tested for adipocyte differentiation. No difference in bodyweight were
observed between treated and control animals. The ethanolic extract stimulated adipocyte
differentiation dose-dependently. The hexanic extract and the ethanolic extract from the residue of
the hexane extraction showed similar effects but at higher concentration as the ethanolic extract
[22].
Hepatotoxicity
Soni et al. investigated the preventive effect of an aqueous extract of turmeric on liver damage in
ducklings induced by aflatoxin. The extract was prepared by boiling 1 g of turmeric powder in
100 ml water. After concentration it was made up to 10 ml. The aqueous turmeric extract
(10 mg/ml) inhibited toxin production by 99%. An alcoholic extract of turmeric showed inhibition
as well, except on a much lower level. Turmeric and curcumin treatment showed almost complete
reversal of fatty changes and necrosis induced by aflatoxin [29].
Mutagenicity
Azuine et al. investigated the protective effect of an aqueous turmeric extract on chemically
induced mutagenicity in Salmonella typhimurium strains and clastogenicity in mammalian bone
marrow in female Swiss mice. The anticarcinogenic effects were assessed in the benzo(a)pyrene-
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induced forestomach neoplasia model. The extract was prepared adding 5 ml boiling distilled water
to 50 mg turmeric powder. This was mixed at room temperature for
20 minutes by vortexing at 150 rpm (Orbit Shaker, Lab Line). The supernatant was collected and
lyophilized. Aqueous turmeric extract exhibited antimutagenic activity against direct acting
mutagens. The turmeric extract also inhibited the mutagenicity of benzo(a)pyrene in Salmonella
typhimurium strains. Treatment with the aqueous tumeric extract inhibited the development of
forestomach tumors induced by benzo(a)pyrene significantly. These findings were all dose-
dependent [30].
Myocardial apoptosis
The effect of Curcuma longa on myocardial apoptosis in experimentally induced myocardial
ischemic-reperfusion injury was investigated by Mohanty et al. Winstar rats were fed 100 mg/kg
Curcuma longa once a day, for one month. Curcuma longa treated rats demonstrated significant
anti-apoptotic property, which might contributed to the observed preservation in cardioprotective
effects and cardiac function [63].
Pregnancy/neonates
Singh et al. followed dams and their suckling neonates to determine the modulatory influence of
turmeric and curcumin on hepatic biotransformation system enzymes. Turmeric and curcumin
induced a significant increase in hepatic levels of glutathione S-transferase (GST) and sulfhydryl
(SH) levels. Cytochrome b5 and cytochrome P450 levels were significantly elevated as well. This
indicates that turmeric and/or curcumin metabolites can be transferred through lactation [64].
Ulcers
Kim et al. investigated the protective effect of Curcuma longa ethanolic extract against gastric
ulcers by blocking H 2 histamine receptors (H 2 R) of male Sprague-Dawley (pylorus-ligated) rats.
The extract was prepared by fluxing 100 g Curcuma longa with 80% ethanol. This was shaken at
room temperature for 24 hours, this was performed twice. After extraction, the fluid was
concentrated with rotary vacuum evaporator (EYELA, Japan). The ethanolic extract was dissolved
in 100 ml H 2 O and fractionated with organic solvents, n butanol and ethyl acetate. For in vitro tests
the dried material was resuspended in DMSO, for in vivo tests the dried material was resuspended
in saline. The effect of Curcuma longa extract was compared to the effects of ranitidine. Curcuma
was found to protect the gastric mucosal layer as effective as ranitidine. Orally administerd
ethanolic extract (unknown amount) inhibited gastric acid, gastric juice secretion and ulcer
formation comparable to the effects of ranitidine. Curcuma also suppressed histamine-induced
cAMP production, caused by direct inhibition of H 2 R, curcumin however had no effect on cAMP
formation [24].
Rafatullah et al. investigated the antiulcer activity of an ethanolic extract of turmeric in inbred
Winstar albino rats. The extract tested was a dried 96% ethanol extract. Administration of turmeric
extract led to a significant decrease in ulcer index and acidity of stomach contents. Pretreatment
with the turmeric extract reduced the intensity of ulceration induced by indomethacin or reserpine
administration. Hypothermic-restraint stress reduction of gastric wall mucus, was inhibited by
turmeric extract treatment. Treatment with turmeric extract reduced the severity of lesions induced
by various necrotizing agents. Turmeric extract reduced the decrease in gastric mucosal non-protein
sulfhydryl groups induced by administration of 80% ethanol [19].
Wound healing
The woundhealing effects of Curcuma longa paste were studied in rabbits. The Curcuma longa
treated group showed a significant higher mean value for contraction of the wound compared to
controls. Furthermore the wounds showed less inflammation and an increasing trend in the
formation of collagen [32].
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Pharmacological activities of combination preparations
No data available.
Pharmacological activities of curcumin
Antiplatelet property
The antiplatelet property of ar-turmerone was investigated. Ar-turmerone showed strong inhibitory
activity against platelet aggregation mediated by collagen and arachidonic acid.
At higher concentrations curcumin showed the same effect. However, only a weak or no inhibitory
effect was observed against PAF or thrombin activated platelets. The other components in the
ethanolic extract showed no inhibitory effects [27].
Comparison between ar-turmerone and aspirin showed that ar-turmeron inhibited platelet
aggregation induced by collagen more effective and aspirin inhibited platelet aggregation induced
by arachidonic acid 1.2 times more effective [27].
Cancer
Curcumin was found to inhibit in vitro tumor cell growth by inhibiting expression of basic
fibroblast growth factor (FGF) in breast cancer-cell cultures and the angiogenesis factors vascular
endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factors (b-FGF) [53].
Curcumin was effective in squamous-cell carcinoma model. The study of Li et al. showed a reduced
occurrence of chemically induced tumors by 50 percent [65].
Curcumin blocks cyclosporine A-resistant phorbol myristate acetate + anti-CD28 pathway of
T-cell proliferation and thus may be a potential adjuvant immunosuppressive agent for the treatment
of cancer [56].
Farombi et al. carried out a study to determine the ameliorative effects of curcumin and kolaviron
(a biflavonoid from the seeds of Garcinia kola ) on the di-n-butylphthalate (DBP)-induced testicular
damage in rats [66]. The level of glutathione (GSH), the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase
(G6PD) activity and the decreased testosterone levels were significantly increased [66].
The increased levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) were decreased, which is in agreement with
Ishihara et al. [66, 67]. This may be due to the intrinsic antioxidative abilities to combat oxidative
damage induced by DBP [66].
Mice exposed to human prostate cancer cells were treated with curcumin. The curcumin-treated
animals showed a decrease in microvessel density and cell proliferation and an increase in apoptosis
compared to controls [55, 68].
Incubation of endothelial cells from bovine aorta with curcumin (in a concentration range of
5-15 μM) showed induction of heme oxygenase expression. Heme oxygenase is an enzyme that
reacts to oxidative stress, by producing the antioxidant biliverdin, and it enhances resistance tot
oxidative damage to cells [73].
The efficacy of curcumin or turmeric extract in reducing chemically-induced tumours in male Swiss
albino mice was studied by Soudamini and Kuttan. The extract was prepared by extraction of 5 g of
powdered turmeric with 100 ml acetone/methanol (45:55). The extract was filtered using filter
paper. 40 mg of curcumin was dissolved in 5 ml acetone/methanol (45:55). DMBA was used to
induce tumors. Single application of curcumin or turmeric extract failed to inhibit papilloma
formation. A small, non significant, reduction in papilloma formation was seen in the turmeric
extract treated group, compared to the control group. Application of both curcumin and turmeric
EMEA 2010
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extract during carcinogenesis and promotion resulted in less papilloma production, compared to
controls. This indicates that both curcumin and turmeric extract produce their best effects during
tumour promotion [70].
The effect of dietary curcumin (0.2% and 1.0%) on 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) and
12,0-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promoted skin tumor formation in Swiss albino mice
was investigated by Limtrakul et al. They found a significant lower number of papillomas in the
curcumin treated group compared to the control group. The enhanced expression of ras-p21 and fos-
p62 oncogenes were decreased dose dependently in the curcumin treated group [57].
Antioxidant properties
Curcumin is not an efficient hydroxyl radical scavenger or quencher of superoxide [71].
Mutagens
Nagabhushan et al. tested curcumin against tobacco products and several environmental mutagens
in a Salmonella/microsome test with or without Aroclor 1254-induced rat liver homogenate (S-9
mix), in order to determine the difference between mutagens which require metabolic activation and
those who do not. Curcumin inhibited the mutagenicity of bidi smoke condensate, cigarette smoke
condensate and masheri (a tobacco product) and tobacco extracts in a dose-dependant manner.
Curcumin is only antimutagenic against mutagens which require metabolic activation [72].
Diabetes
Arbiser and Okamoto et al. reported that curcumin reduces the destructive angiogenesis associated
with diabetic retinopathy [58, 59].
Hepatoprotective activity
Tacrine is known for its T-cell destructive activity and hepatotoxicity. In a study with cultures of
human hepatocytes, which had been destroyed by tacrine, curcumin showed to be nearly ten times
more effective than the regular treatment, ascorbic acid [60]. However, a study on carbon
tetrachloridetoxicity in mice, performed in 1996, showed no protective effects due to curcumin
administration at dosages of 200 mg per kg [69].
Donatus et al. investigated the effect of curcumin on the cytotoxic effect of paracetamol in rat
hepatocytes. Curcumin showed no protective effect against paracetamol induced GSH-depletion in
hepatocytes of 3-methyl-cholanthrene pretreated rats. Curcumin in a concentration of 5 x 10 -5 , 5 x
10 -4 and 5 x 10 -3 M protected the cells against lipid peroxidation induced by paracetamol. This
effect may be due to the two phenolic groups of curcumin, which give it strong anti-oxidant effects
[74].
The effect of curcumin on alcohol induced hepatotoxicity in alcoholic rats were studied by
Rajakrishnan et al. Compared to the control group curcumin administration resulted in a decrease of
serum aspartate transaminase and alkaline phosphatase activity. The levels of serum free fatty acids,
cholesterol and phospholipids decreased as well [62].
Stress
Xu et al. investigated the effect of orally administered curcumin on behavior in a chronic stress
model of depression in rats. The molecular targets of curcumin were studied as well. The
antidepressant imipramine was used as a positive control. Chronic curcumin administration
(at 10 mg/kg) showed similar effects as imipramine. These findings suggest that the effects of
chronic administration of curcumin on the behavior of chronic stressed rats may be related to the
modulating effects of the dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, through
selective increase in brain-derived neurotropic factor in the frontal cortex and the hippocampus of
the rats [20].
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Blood lipids
In a small study with 10 healthy volunteers it was observed that oral intake of 500 mg/d curcumin
for 7 days resulted in a significant decrease in the level of serum lipid peroxides (33%) and increase
in HDL cholesterol (29%) and a decrease in level of total serum cholesterol (12%) [116].
Toxicity
A study in which monkeys were fed 0.8 mg/kg of curcumin a day for 90 days and rats 1.8 mg/kg a
day for 90 days showed no adverse effects [75].
I.2.1.2
Overall conclusions on pharmacology
Results from in vitro and in vivo studies with whole extracts of Curcuma longa , and isolated
compounds, support the traditional use of Curcuma longa .
I.2.2
Pharmacokinetics
I.2.2.1
Overview of available data regarding the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s) and
relevant constituents thereof
Little is known about the pharmacokinetic pathway of curcumin [76]. Doses up to 5 μg/ml of
curcumin added to microsome- and hepatocyte suspensions disappeared within 30 minutes [77].
In rats, 40-75% of orally administered curcumin is excreted in the feces. Blood levels of less than
5 μg/ml indicate poor absorption from the gut [77, 78].
I.2.2.2
Overall conclusions on pharmacokinetics
Available data suggests that curcumin is poorly absorbed from the gut, rapidly metabolized and
excreted in feces.
I.2.3
Toxicology
I.2.3.1
Overview of available data regarding the herbal substance(s), herbal preparation(s) and
relevant constituents thereof
Donatus et al. found curcumin to be moderate cytotoxic. At a concentration of 5 x 10 -3 curcumin
slightly increased LDH-leakage from rat hepatocytes. This increase was accompanied by an
increase in GSH-depletion, which can result in increased susceptibility to cytotoxicity [74].
Liver toxicity has been reported, but most of these incidents involved large dietary doses (turmeric
0.2%, 1.0%, 5.0%) or turmeric ethanolic extract 0.05%, 0.25%) given to mice or rats [26].
No mutagenic effects were found in the Ames tests for curcumin and turmeric extracts (information
on preparation could not be found) [79].
A single feeding of 30% turmeric diet to rats produced no toxic effects [75].
No effects on chromosomal damage, pregnancy rate, number of dead embryos, total implants and
mutagenic effects were observed in mice fed with turmeric (0.5%) or curcumin (0.015%) [80].
In mice fed for 14 days with a diet containing 1% and 5% turmeric hepatotoxicity was observed
[26, 81]. Rats fed with turmeric 1% for the same period showed no adverse affect. The rats fed
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turmeric at a dose of 5% of their diet for a period of 90 days showed a reduction in body weight
gain and hepatotoxicity [26].
I.2.3.2
Overall conclusions on toxicology
Neither Curcuma longa nor curcumin appear to be mutagenic, or toxic for embryos or implants.
However, with a high (dietary) intake hepatotoxicity was observed.
I.3
CLINICAL DATA
I.3.1
Clinical pharmacology
I.3.1.1
Pharmacodynamics
No published data available.
I.3.1.2
Pharmacokinetics
In humans the estimated bioavailability of curcumin after oral administration is 65%. Cytochrome P
450 isoenzyme 1A1 is inhibited by curcumin and is metabolized by glucuronidation [28].
In a phase I clinical study subjects had average peak serum concentrations of 0.5, 0.6 and 2 μM
after taking 4-, 6- or 8-g doses of curcumin. Urinary excretion of curcumin was not detectable [89].
I.3.2
Clinical Efficacy / Longstanding use and experience
Medicinal uses of Curcuma longa have been reported in several European handbooks:
- septic skin disease [40, 43]
- liver disease [40, 42, 44]
- anti-tumor [40]
- anti-mutagenic [40]
- dyspepsia [43, 45]
- parasitic infections [43]
- jaundice [45]
- muscle relaxant [46]
I.3.2.1
Posology and duration of use
Turmeric is taken orally or applied on the skin. It is used as a powder (e.g. in capsules or to dissolve
in fluid), as an ethanolic or aqueous extract, as paste, ointment and as oil [15, 19, 30-33, 36, 64, 79,
80, 90-94].
There are no dose-response studies available. The following posology is described in literature:
1.5-3 g of powdered turmeric root is usually recommended for use against dyspeptic/digestive
disorders [18, 92, 93,108].
Turmeric is taken in doses of 5-30 g daily for acute problems or 3-10 g daily for chronic problems
in inflammatory conditions [95].
According to the Professional’s Handbook of CAM, a three times daily dosage of 400-600 mg of
curcumin or 8-60 g of fresh turmeric root is recommended in arthritis [97].
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For chemopreventive use, the recommended daily dose of curcumin is approximately 500 mg per
day [96]. This corresponds to a daily intake of 170 g of powdered turmeric of raw rhizome, when
assuming that the rhizome contains an average quantity of curcumin of 3% [15].
Other dosage recommendations are:
- powdered plant material: 1.5-3.0 g daily [18, 93, 99, 100, 108]
- oral infusion: 0.5-1 g three times a day [4, 18]
- tincture (1:10): 0.5-1 ml three times per day [18]
In Germany, there are two preparations with C. longa dry extract (DER 13-25:1; ethanol 96%) on
the market: As a ‘WEU’ product: coated tablet/hard capsule with posology 3 x 30 mg/2 x 81 mg
daily for dyspeptic complaints; as a ‘Traditional Use’ product: soft capsule with posology
3 x 13.5 mg daily to promote the digestion.
In Poland, an oral liquid with turmeric extractum (DER 1:5, ethanol 70%) is authorized as
medicinal product for traditional use for the symptomatic treatment of mild digestive disturbances
and minor biliary dysfunction (posology 10 ml once daily or 5 ml in 60 ml water
3 times daily, respectively).
In Spain there is one preparation containing C. longa dry extract (DER 5.5-6.5:1 , ethanol 50%)
authorized as a ‘WEU’ medicinal product (posology 2 x 1-2 tablets of 100 mg) for traditional use
for the symptomatic treatment of mild digestive disturbances due to biliary dysfunction. See also
Regulatory Overview.
For topical application no clear indications for posology could be found in literature.
Duration of use
Information on the recommended duration of use could not be found. As clinical safety studies are
lacking, it is proposed to limit the duration of use to two weeks.
I.3.2.2
Clinical studies (case studies and clinical trials)
Dyspepsia
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre study of Thamlikitkul et al . (1989),
106 patients with dyspeptic complaints (such as abdominal pain, epigastric discomfort, flatulence or
belching) were treated daily for 7 days with 2 g of turmeric (n=38), a herbal combination including
cascara and nux vomica and ginger (n=30) or placebo (n=38). At the end of the study 87% patients
in the turmeric group, 83% in the herbal extract mixture group and 53% in the placebo group
reported a notable improvement. The difference between turmeric and placebo was significant and
clinically relevant (p=0.003) [115].
Irritable bowel syndrome
A partially blinded trail was performed with 207 volunteers with self-reported irritable bowel
syndrome. Patients were divided in 2 groups: one was treated with 72 mg (1 tablet) and the other
with 144 mg (2 tablets) of a standardized extract of tumeric extract (Cynara Lichtwer from Pharma
UK), No data were provided on the extraction solvent and the compound(s) used for
standardization. Intake of tumeric resulted in a significant reductions (compared to baseline) of IBS
prevalence, 53% and 60% in the one- and two-tablet groups respectively (p<0.001)) as well as in a
significant decrease in pain and discomfort (22% and 25% in the one- and two-tablet group
respectively). Also a significant improvement of quality of life, improvement of IBS and increased
normal bowel pattern was observed [49]. However, no significant difference was observed between
the two groups. There was no placebo group in the trial, According to the authors there is “ little
doubt that the placebo effect contributed to the improvement seen .” [49].
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Mutagens
In a clinical trial performed in 1992 the effects of turmeric administration on urinary excretion of
mutagens (in 16 chronic smokers and 6 non-smokers) were investigated. Turmeric was
administered at a dose of 1.5 g/day for 30 days. The non-smokers had low excretion of mutagens at
baseline, compared to smokers. Intake of turmeric by the smokers resulted in a significant decrease
in urinary mutagen excretion, compared with baseline [82].
Peptic ulcers
The effect of turmeric on peptic ulcers was studied in 2001 in an uncontrolled trial performed in
Thailand. A group of 25 subjects received five doses of 600 mg of turmeric a day, for 12 weeks.
After 12 weeks 19 subjects had no ulcers [83].
Cancerous lesions
In the study of Kuttan et al . (1987) an ethanol extract of turmeric ("Curcuma longa") as well as an
ointment of curcumin were found to relieve the symptoms associated with external cancerous
lesions. Reduction in smell was noted in 90% of the cases and reduction in itching in almost all
cases. Dry lesions were observed in 70% of the cases, and a small number of patients (10%) had a
reduction in lesion size and pain. In many patients the effect continued for several months. An
adverse reaction was noticed in only one of the 62 patients evaluated [31].
For an overview of clinical studies with C. longa preparations, combination preparations and
curcumine, see the tables below.
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Overview of clinical studies with C. longa preparations.
Author, date Study type
and duration
Patients
Treatment,
daily dosage
Parameters Results
Conclusion/Discussion
Bundy et al .,
2004
[49]
Pilot study,
partially blinded,
R 1 two-doses,
8 weeks
207 volunteers
selected with
Rome II criteria
1 or 2 tablets of
72 mg
standardised
turmeric extract
(no details)
IBS prevalence,
symptom
related Q of
Life and self-
reported
effectiveness
IBS prevalence reduced in both
groups, abdominal pain/discomfort
score reduced sign. by 22% and
25% in 1 tablet and 2 tablet groups
resp. , improvement in symptoms,
no significant differences between
groups.
No data on the extraction solvent and
the compound(s) used for
standardization.
No placebo group in the trial.
According to the authors there is
“little doubt that the placebo effect
contributed to the improvement
seen..”
Häringer, 2004
[113]
MC 1
Anwendungsbeo
bachtung (AWB)
12 weeks
221 patients
with functional
dyspepsy
(Rome II
criteria)
2.8 g
(2 tablets of
81 mg dry extract
(13-25:1))
Nepean
Dyspepsy Index
(15 symptoms);
fat metabolism
154 patients finished trial; after 6
weeks 33%, after 12 weeks 54%
less symptoms.
No Placebo, subjective assessments;
Methodological short comings
Kammerer &
Fintelmann,
2001
[114]
31 days
440 patients
with dyspepsy,
functional
disorders of
bileducts
2.8 g
(2 tablets of
81 mg dry extract
(13-25:1)) for 28
days
9 symptoms
64% reduction of symptoms; 36%
of patients symptom free; 56%
continued treatment; 7% ended
prematurely, for no relief.
No Placebo, subjective assessments;
Methodological short comings
Kuttan et al .,
1987
[31]
?
62 patients
Ethanolic extract
of C. longa as
well as ointment
of curcumin
Smell, itching,
lesion size
Reduction in smell (90% of cases),
Reduction of itching (all cases), dry
lesions (70% of cases), reduction in
lesion size and pain (10% of cases)
No details on study type, formulation
and application
Polasa et al .,
1992
[82]
Uncontrolled,
30 days
22 normal men
(16 chronic
smokers, 6 non-
smokers),
India
1.5 g
(2 tablets of
750 mg turmeric)
Urine testing
after 0,15, 30
days,
biochemical
parameters,
mutagenicity
assay
Reduction of urinary excretion of
mutagens in smokers
Turmeric administration may reduce
the genotoxicity of tobacco
mutagens. Clinical relevance is not
clear.
1 R = randomised
P = placebo-controlled
DB = double blind
MC = multi centre
CO = cross-ove r
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Prucksunand et
al .,
2001
[83]
Phase II,
uncontrolled
4 weeks
45 patients with
symptoms
indicating
peptic ulcer, 16-
60 years
3 g
(2 capsules
300 mg turmeric
five times daily)
Symptoms pain
and discomfort,
blood chemistry
and hematology
Abdominal pain and discomfort
subsided in 1 st and 2 nd week, no
significant changes in blood
chemistry and hematology, liver
and renal functions
Methodological shortcomings (e.g.
baseline, not all patients endoscoped)
Thamlikitkul et
al .,
1989
[115]
MC R P DB 1
3-arm,
7 days
116 patients
with dyspepsia
(acid / flatulent
/atonic)
C.
domestica: 39
P: 41
‘Flatulence’: 36
2 g
powder of dried
turmeric rhizome
(2 x 250 mg
capsules
4 times)
or ‘Flatulence’
(traditional
treatment)
Symptoms,
adverse events,
compliance &
acceptance
Response: P: 53%, F: 83%,
C: 87%
In all groups mild adverse events
This s the only placebo controlled
trial performed with Curcuma longa .
However the article contains very
little information on the medical
protocol used.
No information on the blinding of
the clinical assessors. No difference
was observed with regard in the
patient’s satisfaction. Comparator is
not a standard treatment
Overview of clinical studies with C. longa containing combination preparations.
Author, date Study type
and duration
Patients
Treatment,
daily dosage
Parameters Results
Conclusion/Discussion
Charles and
Charles,
1992
[33]
Pilot study
814 patients
with scabies
Ayurvedic
formulation of
turmeric and
Azadirachta
indica (Neem)
as paste (topical
use)
Number, size
and type of
lesions
In 97% of cases cure within
3-15 days, no adverse effects
Efficacy was not assessed
because efficacy of a combination
can not be extrapolated to mono-
preparations
Kulkarni et
al .,
1991
[38]
R DB P CO 1 ,
2 x 3 months
42 patients
with
osteoarthritis
3 x 2 capsules
of 650 mg of
C. longa
containing
Ayurvedic
herbomineral
formulation
(corresponding
to 50 mg
turmeric each)
Pain and
disability
score
Significant drop in severity of
pain and disability score, mild
side-effects (nausea, dermatitis,
pain in abdomen)
Efficacy was not assessed
because efficacy of a combination
can not be extrapolated to mono-
preparations
EMEA 2010
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Overview of clinical studies with curcumin.
Author, date Study type
and duration
Patients
Treatment,
daily dosage
Parameters Results
Conclusion/Discussion
Rasyid, Lelo
1999
[91]
R DB P CO 1
12 healthy
volunteers
20 mg curcumin
single dose
Contraction
effect on
human gall-
bladder
Significant reduction of gall
bladder volume after 0.5 h-2.0 h
(12-29%, resp.), no side-effects
Further dose-responding studies
needed to find optimal dose of
curcumin to induce 50%
contraction
Soni, Kuttan
1992
[29]
Uncontrolled,
7 days
10 healthy
volunteers
500 mg
curcumin
Serum level of
cholesterol
and lipid
peroxides
Decrease serum lipid peroxides
(33%), increase in HDL
cholesterol (29%), decrease in
total serum cholesterol (12%)
Follow-up study needed of
curcumin as preventive substance
against arterial diseases
1 R = randomised
P = placebo-controlled
DB = double blind
MC = multi centre
CO = cross-ove r
EMEA 2010
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Pharmacological activities of combination preparations
Osteoarthritis
Kulkarin et al. investigated the effect of a herbomineral formulation (a combination of turmeric
with Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera ), Sallai Guggul ( Boswellia serrata ) and Jasad Bhasma
(zinc) based on Ayurvedic medicine) on osteoarthritis. Short term effects of the herbomineral
formulation were significant alterations in the severity of pain and disability. Other changes like
less morning stiffness, better grip strength and joint score, however, were not significant [38].
Scabies
In a pilot study with 814 patients, a combination of turmeric and neem in the form of a topical paste
was found to effective in treating scabies. 97% of the patients were cured within 3-15 days of
treatment [33].
Pharmacological activities of curcumin
Arthritis
The efficacy of a combination of curcumin and frankincense was studied in a placebo controlled
trail in 90 patients with osteoarthritis. Patients were treated for 32 weeks. After 16 weeks and 32
weeks of treatment a significant reduction in pain (P<0.05) was observed. The treatment resulted in
a significant improvement in WOMAC (Western Ontario McMaster University OA Index, Likert
scale, version 3.0) scores (P<0.01) [84].
Deodhar et al. performed a double-blind clinical trial in which curcumin 1200 mg/day was
compared with phenylbutazone 300 mg/day in 18 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Both curcumin
and phenylbutazone improved walking time, morning stiffness, and swelling, but only
phenylbutazone improved ‘fatigue time’. Both drugs were assessed as producing an overall
improvement over baseline. However, the patients only rated phenylbutazone as better for
controlling symptoms, compared with baseline [85].
Biliary effects
In animal models an increase of the bile flow and the bile excretion were observed after intravenous
administration of up to 500 mg/kg of an aqueous alcohol turmeric extract [109-112].
Gall-bladder function
In a randomised double-blind crossover study in 12 healthy volunteers ultrasonic examination
revealed that the contraction of the human gall-bladder is stimulated by a single oral dose of 20 mg
of curcumin [91].
Cancer
In an open clinical trial a curcumin 0.5% ointment was tested in 62 patients with skin and mucous
membrane cancers. The ointment was applied three times daily for a minimum of four weeks. A
total of 68% of the patients responded (reduction in exudates 70%, lesion smell 90%, and pain 50%)
[31].
Chronic anterior uveitis
In an open clinical trial, curcumin was administered in an oral dose of 375 mg three times daily for
12 weeks to 53 patients with chronic anterior uveitis. Symptoms improved after 12 weeks of
therapy in about 90% of the patients who completed the trial. 47% had repeated episodes of anterior
uveitis in a three-year follow-up [36].
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Inflammation
Human trials have demonstrated that a dose of 400 mg of curcumin, three times per day, can reduce
postoperative inflammation as effectively as the NSAID phenylbutazone [87].
Pancreatitis
Durgaprasad et al. investigated the effect of oral administration of curcumin with piperine in
20 patients with tropical pancreatitis on pain and markers of oxidative stress. The patients received
500 mg of curcumin in combination with 5 mg of piperine or placebo for a period of
6 weeks. A significant reduction in erythrocyte MDA levels was observed, as well as a significant
increase in GSH levels compared to placebo. No effect was observed on the pain. These effects
indicate that curcumin in combination with piperine reverses lipid peroxidation in patients with
tropical pancreatitis [88].
I.3.2.3
Clinical studies in special populations (e.g. elderly and children)
No published data available.
I.3.2.4
Overall conclusions on (clinical) efficacy / traditional medicinal use
The use of Curcuma longa against dyspepsia, skin and liver diseases is well documented in a
number of handbooks.
The traditional use is supported by a substantial amount of data on the pharmacological effects of
curcuma root, curcuma extract and curcumin. However clinical data is very limited. Only
5 trials have been published for curcuma (extract), of which one is placebo controlled and relevant
as to the mentioned indications.
The study of Thamlikitkul et al . performed in 1989, is the only placebo controlled trial performed
with Curcuma longa . However the article contains very little information on the medical protocol
used. For example according to the title of the article the trial was double-blinded but the article
does not contain information on the blinding of the clinical assessors. The comparison to placebo
treatment with curcuma resulted in a statistically significant improvement of dyspeptic symptoms,
yet no difference was observed with regard to the patient’s satisfaction.
Several trials were performed with curcumin. Not withstanding the fact that it is questionable if the
activity of an isolated constituent can be used to justify the efficacy of a herbal medicinal product,
the studies performed with curcumin have limited value for the monograph because they were
performed with either a very high dose or with combination products. Furthermore the trials were
conducted on diseases for which curcuma has no well established use in the EU. In conclusion the
available data is not sufficient to support a “well established use” indication for curcuma.
I.3.3
Clinical Safety / Pharmacovigilance
I.3.3.1
Patient exposure
No data available.
I.3.3.2
Adverse effects
The Food and Drug Administration classifies turmeric as a substance Generally Recognized as Safe
[50].
No major side effects have been reported in the clinical studies [3, 49, 91].
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No side-effects were reported in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with 1200 mg/day of
curcumin for two weeks [85].
In a phase I trial with 25 subjects, who had various high-risk cancerous conditions, no toxic
reactions were observed. The subjects received up to 8 g of curcumin a day for
3 months [89].
In a clinical study in patients with irritable bowel syndrome dry mouth and flatulence was reported
by approximately 25% of the patients [49]. In another study two of 19 patients treated with 2500 mg
of curcumin per day, complained of gastric irritation. No other adverse effects were reported [101].
In the study of Thamlikitkul mild side-effects as nausea, diarrhoea, headache, tiredness and
sleepiness have been reported in the turmeric group (2 g/day) as well as in the other groups (placebo
and comparitive herbal combination) [115].
Rare cases of allergic contact dermatitis have been reported [102, 103]. In an 18-month study on the
topical use of curcumin to treat skin and mucous membrane cancers, scalp itching was observed in
1 patient of 62 patients, [31]. Patch testing led to allergic reactions (not further classified) in persons
who were regularly exposed to the substance or who already had dermatitis of the finger tips. Few
allergic reactions (skin rash) occurred to people not previously exposed to curcumin [104].
Pharmacovigilance problems have been reported for a product containing curcuma and a amino
acid. Further study revealed that the observed liver toxicity was not due to curcuma.
Assessors comment :
The inhibitory effects of curcuminoids on COXs correlates with the ulcerogenic activity in observed
rats: ulcus index 8-10 times higher than control. These findings suggest that curcuma extracts
should not be used by patients with duodenal/gastric ulcers. However in a phase II study, a gastro
protective action was observed in patients with peptic ulcer disease after oral intake of 600 mg
curcumin 5 times daily [Prucksunand et al. , 2001]. Therefore no contraindication for
duodenal/gastric ulcers was included in the monograph.
I.3.3.3
Serious adverse events and deaths
No data available.
I.3.3.4
Laboratory findings
No data available.
I.3.3.5
Safety in special populations and situations
No data available.
I.3.3.5.1 Intrinsic (including elderly and children) / extrinsic factors
No data available.
I.3.3.5.2 Drug interactions
Turmeric may interact with NSAIDs, antiplatelet agents or antihyperlipidemics [94], although there
have been no reports in humans [97].
The antiplatelet activity has only been observed in animal studies. Clinical data is lacking [97].
Therefore this interaction is not included in the monograph.
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Fetrow suggested that curcumin could decrease the effect of immunosuppressants, although no
supporting data was provided [97].
Reports on interaction between warfarin and turmeric are mainly based on in vitro data, animal
studies or individual case reports. More studies are needed to confirm and assess the clinical
significance of this potential interaction [105].
Several studies reported interactions between curcumin and other phytochemicals. When healthy
human subjects took a 2 g dose of curcumin in combination with 20 mg of piperine, extracted from
black pepper, the bioavailability of curcumin increased twenty-fold compared to subjects who took
only 2 g of curcumin [106].
Green tea enhances the effect of curcumin. In Swiss mice and Syrian golden hamsters tumor models
the combination of catechin and turmeric was more effective than the individual components [107].
Recently it has been suggested that curcumin and green tea extract have synergistic effect in
reducing oral squamous-cell carcinomas in hamsters [65].
I.3.3.5.3 Use in pregnancy and lactation
There are no reports on the use of curcumin during pregnancy and lactaction [15, 92].
Singh et al. observed pharmacological effects in dams as well as their suckling neonates when
turmeric and/or curcumin was administrated to the dams. The results indicate that turmeric and/or
curcumin metabolites (not specifically mentioned) can be transferred through lactation [64]. Hence
the use of curcumin during breast-feeding is not recommended [92].
I.3.3.5.4 Overdose
No toxic effects were observed after three months oral intake of 8,000 mg or 2.2 g of turmeric
(equivalent to 180 mg of curcumin) a day for four months [89, 96].
I.3.3.5.5
Drug abuse
No data available.
I.3.3.5.6
Withdrawal and rebound
No data available.
I.3.3.5.7
Effects on ability to drive or operate machinery or impairment of mental ability
No data available.
I.3.3.5.8
Contra-indications
Because curcumin was found to stimulate the gall bladder, the use of curcumin or turmeric is
contraindicated in patients with obstruction of the biliary tract [18, 91, 92, 108]. This
contraindication is also mentioned in the WHO monograph and in the Kommisson E monograph
[18, 92].
I.3.3.6
Overall conclusions on clinical safety
No serious side effects have been reported up to now. Furthermore the chemical composition of
Curcuma longa does not give any reason for concerns regarding safety.
Potential interactions between Curcuma longa and NSAIDs, antiplatelet agents, antihyper-
lipidemics and immunosuppressants have been reported, but this has not clinically been proven The
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use of Curcuma longa in pregnant women and during lactation is not recommended while there are
indications that metabolites of Curcuma longa can be transferred through lactation.
I.4
OVERALL CONCLUSIONS
Curcuma longa has been used in Europe for a long time, mainly against dyspepsia, skin and liver
diseases and infections. However, the available data is not sufficient to support a “well established
use” indication for curcuma. As the medicinal use of curcuma has been documented continuously in
European handbooks, C urcuma longa fulfils the requirements of Directive 2004/24 EC for
classification of traditional herbal medicinal products. The use of Curcuma longa is considered
plausible in the treatment of dyspeptic complaints on the basis of bibliography and pharmacological
data.
Although the use for skin diseases is also described in authoritative texts, it is not included in the
monograph because no data could be found on the preparations and the posology.
The pharmacological activity is attributed to the whole extract; however the majority of activities
were also observed with curcumin.
Curcuma longa is used in the following pharmaceutical forms and posology:
- powdered plant material: 1.5-3.0 g daily
- oral infusion: 0.5-1 g up to three times daily
- tincture (1:10): 0.5-1 ml three times daily
- dry extract (13-25:1): 80-160 mg daily, divided in 2-5 partial doses
- dry extract (5.5-6.5:1): 100-200 mg 2 times daily
- tincture (1:5) : 10 ml once daily or 5 ml in 60 ml water 3 times daily
Only mild side effects have been reported for Curcuma longa : dry mouth, flatulence, and gastric
irritation. No serious side effects have been reported.
Due to lack of data, the use of Curcuma longa in children under the age of 18 years cannot be
recommended.
As relevant data on the use during pregnancy and lactation is lacking, Curcuma longa can not be
recommended in these cases.
II
ANNEXES
I.5
C OMMUNITY H ERBAL M ONOGRAPH ON C URCUMA LONGA L., RHIZOMA
I.6
L ITERATURE R EFERENCES
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Source: European Medicines Agency



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