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Family Zingiberaceae
Luyang dilaw
Curcuma longa Linn.

Scientific names Common names
Curcuma longa Linn. Angay (Pamp.) 
Curcuma xanthorrhiza Naves Dilaw (Tag.)
Curcuma domestica Valeton Dulaw (S.L. Bis.) 
Jiang huang (Chin.) Kalabaga (Bis.) 
  Kalawag (Mbo., Bis.)
  Kalauag (Mbo., Bis.) 
  Kinamboy (Bis.)
  Kinamboi (Bis.) 
  Kulalo (Bis.)
  Kulyaw (Ilk.) 
  Kunig (Ilk.) 
  kunik (Ibn.)
  Lampuyang (P. Bis.) 
  Lawag (Sub.) 
  Luyang-dilaw (Tag.) 
  Pangar (Pamp.) 
  Pangas (Pamp.)  
  Parak (Kuy.)
  Salampawyan (Bag.) 
  Salampauyan (Bag.)
  Turmeric (Engl.)
  Yu-chin (Chin.)
  Long tumeric (Engl.)

Other vernacular names
BRUNEI: Kunyit, temu kuning, temu kunyit.
CAMBODIA: Ro miet.
FRENCH: Curcuma, safran des Indes, turmeric.
INDONESIA: Kunyit, kunir, koneng.
LAOS: Khi min, 'khmin 'khun.
MALAYSIA: Kunyit, temu kunyit, tius.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Lavar, tamaravirua.
THAILAND: Khamin, khamin kaeng, khamin chan.
VIETNAM: Ngh[eej], ngh[eej] v[af]ng, u[aas]t kim.

Dilaw is a leafy plant, 1 to 1.5 meters tall, with 5 to 6 leaves. Rhizomes are bright yellow inside, thick and cylindric. Leaf blade is green, oblong, 30 to 45 centimeters long and 10 to 20 centimeters wide. Petiole is as long as the blade. Peduncle is 15 centimeters or more in length, borne within the tuft of leaves. Spikes are 10 to 20 centimeters in length and about 5 centimeters in diameter. Floral bracts are pale green, ovate, 3 to 4 centimeters long, the comabracts tinged with pink. Flowers are pale yellow, as long as the bracts. Fruits are capsules.

- Widely distributed in the Philippines in and about towns, sometimes in open waste places and sometimes planted.
- Native of India.
- Now pantropic.

Part utilized
· Rhizome, leaves.
· Collect the whole year round.
· Rinse, removes roots, section into pieces, steam and sun-dry.

- Active constituents are flavonoid curcumin (diferuloylmethane) and various volatile oils, including tumerone, atlantone, and zingiberone.
- Volatile oil, 3-5% - tumerol (alcohol), d-alpha phellandrene, carvone, camphor, curcumone; fat, 3%; starch, 30%; resin; curcumin (pigment).
- Yields three curcuminoids - curcumin (diferuloylmethane, the primary constituent, responsible for the vibrant yellow color), demothoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin - plus volatile oils (tumerone, atiantone and zingiberone), sugars, proteins, and resins.
- Yellow orange color comes from yellow pigment in the rhizomes called curcumin.
- A good source of phosphorus and iron; but hardly a fair source of calcium.

- Pungent and bitter tasting, warming, carminative.
- In Chinese medicine, believed to Improve Ch'i circulation.
- Studies have demonstrated various therapeutics effects: antioxidant, antiinflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, and anticarcinogenic activity.
- Antiinflammatory activity has been compared to topical hydrocortisone.
- Antiseptic, anti -contusion, antibacterial, antifungal.
- Aromatic, stimulant, tonic, cordial, emmenagogue and astringent.
- Rhizomes are used medicinally, as powder, paste, ointment, oil, lotion, inhalant, and confection.

Culinary / Nutritional
• Condiment, ingredient of curry powder, and coloring for food.
• In dried or powdered form, used like ginger.
• Good source of phosphorus and iron, a fair source of calcium.
• Rhizomes commonly sold in Manila markets. dried
• In Java, flour is made from the plant is the same way as cassava and arrowroot, used for all kinds of dainties.
· Decoction of rhizome, as tea, used for fevers, dysentery, abdominal pain, flatulence, abdominal spasm, arthritis.
· In the Philippines, rhizomes with coconut oil used as stomachic and vulnerary.
· Internally, juice of fresh rhizome used as anthelmintic.
· Used for menstrual irregularities, contusions and associated painful swelling.
· Antiseptic for wounds: Crush rhizome and apply to wounds.
· Externally, rhizomes are applied to insect bites, ringworm, bleeding.
· A 1:20 decoction used in catarrhal and purulent ophthalmia.
· In India, used as antiseptic for cuts. Used for leprosy, liver problems, swelling, insect bites, wounds, whooping cough, pimples. Sweetened milk boiled with tumeric is popular as a remedy for colds and cough. Juice of fresh rhizome used externally on wounds, bruises and leech-bites.
· Tumeric paste mixed with a little lime and saltpeter is applied hot to sprains and bruises.
· For smallpox and chicken pox, coating of tumeric powder or thin paste applied externally to facilitate scabbing.
· Paste made from flowers used for ringworm and other parasitic skin infections.
· Ointment used in neuralgia and rheumatism.
· Rhizomes with coconut oil used as stomachic and vulnerary.
· Rhizome used for intermittent fevers, flatulence,, dyspepsia.
· In Ayurveda, use as stomach and liver tonic and blood purifier.
· Malays use it as carminative and for dispelling flatulence.
· In China used for colic, amenorrhea, congestions.
· Fumes of burning turmeric used as inhalation in catarrh and severe head colds.
· For flatulence in children, used with garlic or onions.
· Used as carminative and antispasmodic, and in diarrhea and dysentery.
• Dye:
Tumeric is one of the best known of material dyes, used for dyeing silk, wool and cotton. Rhizomes used for dyeing mats in the Philippines.
• Cosmetic:
In Sudan, rhizome used as cosmetic.
New Age
- Improves Qi (chi) circulation. Chi is the basis of traditional Eastern medicine. In chinese parlance, chi means 'spirit.' In new-age speak, good health is synonymous with free-flowing energy through meridian pathways. A blocked Qi flow is associated with disease or ill-health.
- Approved by German health authorities for the treatment of dyspeptic complaints.
Recent uses and preparation
Ointment: Wash the unpeeled ginger. Chop the rhizomes to fill half a glass of water. Sauté with one glass of coconut oil on low heat for five minutes. Place in a clean bottle and label.
Antiseptic for wounds: Extract juice of the fresh rhizome and apply directly on the wound or swelling.
Gas pain in adults: Decoction from thumb-sized rhizome in a glass of water reduced to half.

Biologic Activities:
An overview of the biologic activities lists in vitro anti-parasitic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal effects; also, inhibition of carcinogenesis and cancer growth. In vivo, studies show anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory potency of curcumin and extracts in animal models.
(1) Curcumin Suppresses Metastasis in a Human Breast Cancer Xenograft Model: The dietary administration to mice of curcumin and curcumin plus Taxol significantly decreased the incidence of breast cancer metastasis to the lung. The results indicate that curcumin has a potential for breast cancer therapy. (2) Study on the anticancer activity of the rhizomes of tumeric in invitro tissue culture and in vivo in mice showed cytotoxicity to lymphocytes and Dalton's lymphoma cells. The active constituent was found to be "curcumin." Results showed the tumeric extract and curcumin reduced the development of animal tumors.
The study suggests the ethanolic extract of C. longa has potent hepatoprotective effect against paracetamol-induced liver damage in rats and validates its use as a hepatoprotectant agent.
Antifungal: The study on the ethanolic extracts of Curcuma longa and Alpinia galanga exhibited excellent phytotoxic activity against Lemna minor and good antifungal activities against Trichophyton longifusus.
Antibacterial: Study showed the essential oil fraction from tumeric possesses significant antibacterial activity against pathogenic Staph aureus bacteria and suggests a potential for use of the essential oil as antiseptic in prevention and treatment of bacterial infections.
Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Antioxidant: Study of Curcuma longa and Abroma augusta found them to be efficient antioxidants and showed significant reduction in blood glucose. Study showed the combination of herbal extracts showed better efficacy compared to individual plant extracts.

Antioxidant: In study investigating the mechanism of free radical-induced tissue damage in inflammatory disease that involved pathogenic processes similar to periodontal disease, Curcuma longa was studied for antioxidation activity. Results showed CL to be effective protection from free radical-induced tissue damage.
Tobacco Chewer and Chronic Smoker De-Addiction : Study showed the control arm to continue the same addiction dependency while the 63.6% of the study arm patients completely gave up smoking or tobacco chewing. 14.3% decreased smoking to <10 cigarettes per day and 10.6% of tobacco chewers decreased from 10 to < 2 times per day. The difference is statistically significant.
Curcumin / Anti-Inflammatory: Curcumin, a highly pleiotropic molecule, acts on many targets involved with inflammation. It modulates the inflammatory response by down-regulating the activity of COX-2, lipoxygenase, and iNOS enzymes; inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukins 1,2,6,8 and 12, and down-regulates mitogen-activated and Janus kinases.
Tumeric Oil / Safety Study in Healthy Human Volunteers (2003): Study in human volunteers showed no clinical, hematological, renal or hepato-toxicity at 1 and 3 months. Tumeric extract and tumeric oil have shown chemoprotective effect against chemically-induced malignancies in experimental animals. It's potential for reversing oral submucous fibrosis, a precancerous condition for oral cancer, a Phase II trial was recommended.
Analgesic / Non-Antipyretic: Study of rhizome extracts showed analgesic but no antipyretic effect.
Lipid Effects/ Anti-Atherosclerosis: Study of hydroalcoholic extract of Curcuma longa showed significant reduction of LDL and apo B with increases in HDL and apo A of healthy subjects. Results suggest the curcuma lipid-lowering extract might be a specially useful anti-atherogenic agent.
Radioprotective: Study evaluated the radioprotective effect of a rhizome extract on radiation-induced chromosomal aberrations in cancer treatment. Results showed pre-radiotherapy treatment with CL extract lead to a decrease in all types of chromosomal aberrations, and suggests a potential application as adjuvant to radiotherapy in cancer therapy.
Gastrointestinal Effects: C. longa exert several protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract: (1) Sodium curcuminate inhibited intestinal spasm (2) p-tolymethylcarbinol, a tumeric component, increase gastrin, secretin, bicarbonate, and pancreatic enzyme secretion. (3) An antiulcer effect with significant increase of gastric wall mucus in rats subjected to a variety of gastrointestinal insults.
Hepatic Regenerative Effect on Passive Smoking-Induced Liver Damage: Study evaluated the regenerative effect of C. longa rhizome extract on passive smoking induced liver damage in rats. Results showed a regenerative effect on liver cell changes and also a regenerative effect on TNF-a expression.
Antifertility Effect / Curcumin: Study evaluated ovulatory effects of curcumin, the active principle present in turmeric, in control and curcumin treated albino rats. Results showed curcumin has an antiovulatory effect probably through its antiestrogenic activity through suppression of negative feedback effect of estrogen on the pituitary.
Cardioprotective Effect Against Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity: Study showed CL extracts showed resiliency against doxorubicin-induced toxicity in rats due to polyphenolic contents and suggests a potential novel adjuvant therapy with doxorubicin.
Tumerin / Effect / Anti-Snake Venom: Study evaluated tumerin, a turmeric protein, for its ability to prevent oxidative damage against Naja naja venom phospholipase A2 in male Swiss wistar mice. Tumerin showed to be a potent antioxidant against NV-PLA2 induced free radical formation in plasma and organs, preventing tissue damage and neutralizing lethality.
Freeze Dried Rhizome Power in Milk / Triple Effect: Study showed antidiabetic, hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of C. longa freeze dried powder dissolved in milk. Results suggest a potential for an effective and safe antidiabetic dietary supplement.
Essential Oils / Antioxidant: Study of essential oil showed the major compounds to be ar-turmerone (43.04%), humulene oxide (16.59%) and ß-selinene (10.18%) for C. longa. In comparative antioxidant activity with C. sichuanensis and C. aromatica, C longa showed the highest EC50 value on antioxidant activities.
Ileum and Colon Myorelaxant Effect / Anti-Spasmolytic: Curcuma extract showed a direct and indirect myorelaxant effect on mouse ileum and colon. The indirect effect is reversible and non-competitive with the cholinergic agent. Results suggest use as an anti-spasmolytic.
Curcumin / Control of Oxidative Stress in Diabetic Rats: Study showed feeding of curcumin to diabetic rats controlled oxidative stress by inhibiting the increase of TBARS and protein carbonyls and reversing altered antioxidant systems despite unaltered hyperglycemic status.
Hypolipdemic / Double-blind Study: In a double-blind study, an aqueous extract of tumeric showed lipid lowering properties in overweight hyperlipidemic patients.
Decreased Oxidative Stress in Diabetic: Study evaluated the protective effect of C. longa on STZ-induced oxidative stress in various tissues of rats. The elevated parameters and enzymatic activities induced by hyperglycemia were restored to near normal levels by oral administration of oral curcumin. The ethanol extract provided more potent protective action than the water extract. Results suggest beneficial effects in preventing diabetes-induced oxidative states in rats despite unaltered hyperglycemic status.
Anti-Inflammatory: Studies have identified a number of different molecules involved in inflammation that are inhibited by curcumin, including phospholipase, lipooxy- genase, COX-2, leukotrienes, thromboxane, prostaglandins, nitric oxide, collagenase, elastase, hyaluronidase, MCP-1, interferon-inducible protein, tumor necrosis factor, and in- terleukin-12.

Curcumin / Safety / Anti-Inflammatory: Tumeric yields three curcuminoids: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Studies have shown anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of different molecules involved in inflammation. Six human trials have also showed curcumin to be safe.
Analgesic / Curcumin: Study evaluated different extracts at three different doses for their analgesic activity using different animal models of analgesia. The extracts showed significant reduction of the number of writhes in mice. It is postulated curcumin exerts anti-nociceptive action through activation of both opioid and non-opioid mediating systems.

• Anticoagulation Concerns:
Ginger may decrease thromboxane production and cause prolong bleeding time and platelet inhibition. Therefore, should be used with caution by patients receiving anticoagulant therapy.

Rhizomes commonly sold in markets.
Essential oils and capsules from the cybermarket.

Last Update April 2013

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Curcuma longa / File:Koeh-199.jpg / Franz Eugen Köhler / Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen / 1897 / Public Domain / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
HEPATOPROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF Curcuma longa RHIZOMES IN PARACETAMOL-INDUCED LIVER DAMAGE IN RATS / Somchit M.N., Sulaiman M.R., Noratunlina R. and Ahmad Z. / Proceedings of the Regional Symposium on Environment and Natural Resources, 10-11th April 2002, Vol 1: 698-702
Potential anticancer activity of turmeric (Curcuma longa) / Ramadasan Kuttan et al / Cancer Letters
Volume 29, Issue 2, November 1985, Pages 197-202 / doi:10.1016/0304-3835(85)90159-4 |
Biological Activities of Curcuma longa L. / Araujo and Leon / Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.96 no.5 Rio de Janeiro July 2001 / doi: 10.1590/S0074-02762001000500026
Tumeric Plant / Eco India
An illustrated guide to 101 medicinal herbs: Steven Foster, 1988. Interweave Press
Biological effects of indigenous medicinal plants Curcuma longa and Alpinia galanga / Fitoterapia Vol 76, Issue 2, March 2005, Pages 254-257 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2004.12.012
Antibacterial activity of Curcuma longa rhizome extract on pathogenic bacteria / Rambir Singh et al / CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 83, NO. 6, 25 SEPTEMBER 2002

Study of Antioxidation Activity of the Curcuma longa / Nishiguchi Eiko et al / Journal of the Kanagawa Odontological Society, VOL.39;NO.4;PAGE.139-148(2004) /
Abstract B144: Role of curcuma longa in de-addiction of tobacco chewers and chronic smokers: A pilot study on precancerous and frank oropharyngeal cancer patients / Anjana Basu Ghosh Dastidar et al / Cancer Prevention Research 3 (Meeting Abstract Supplement), B144, January 7, 2010. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.PREV-09-B144
Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma longa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Research / Julie S. Jurenka, MT(ASCP) / Alternative Medicine Review Volume 14, Number 2 2009
Early human safety study of turmeric oil (Curcuma longa oil) administered orally in healthy volunteers
/ Joshi J, Ghaisas S, Vaidya A et al / J Assoc Physicians India. 2003 Nov;51:1055-60.
Analgesic and antipyretic activities of Curcuma longa rhizome extracts in Wister Rats / S Neha, G D Ranvir and C R Jangade / Veterinary World, Vol.2(8):304-306
Curcuma longa / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Curcuma longa / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Evaluation of radioprotective properties of Curcuma longa rhizome extract: A cytogenetic analysis in cancer
/ Gyanendra Singh, Swapnil Sharma, Naveen Choudhary, Sachdev Yadav, Rajani Chauhan, and Jaya Dwivedi Pharmacognosy Communications, Volume 2, Issue 2, Apr-Jun 2012
An hydroalcoholic extract of Curcuma longa lowers the apo B/apo A ratio Implications for atherogenesis prevention / Ana Raḿırez-Bosca et al / Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 119 (2000) 41–47
Curcuma longa / Alternative Medicine Review Monographs / docs.google
STUDY EFFECT OF CURCUMA LONGA RHIZOME EXTRACT ON LIVER CELL AFFECTED BY PASSIVE SMOKING Expiremental study in Sprague Dawley Rats / M M El-Gutt, Osama / Master thesis, 2012
Studies on antifertility effect of rhizome of curcuma longa linn.
/ Amit kumar ghosh* , Anup kumar das, Kajal kumar patra / Asian Journal of Pharmacy and Life Science, Vol. 1 (4), Oct-Dec, 2011
Cardioprotective effects of Curcuma longa L. extracts against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in rats
Eman M. El-Sayed, Amal S. Abd El-azeem, Abeer A. Afify, Manal H. Shabana and Hanaa H. Ahmed / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 5(17), pp. 4049-4058, September 2011
Turmerin, a protein from Curcuma longa L. prevent oxidative organ damage against Naja naja venom phospholipase A2 in experimental animal / Mukunda Chethankumar / Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Research 2010; 3(1): 29-34
EFFECT OF CURCUMA LONGA FREEZE DRIED RHIZOME POWDER WITH MILK IN STZ INDUCED DIABETIC RATS / P K Rai, D Jaiswal, S Mehta, D K Rai*, B Sharma* and G Watal / Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 2010 / 25 (2) 175-181
Composition and Antioxidant Properties of Essential Oils from Curcuma rhizome / S. H. Tsai et al. / Asian Journal of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 57-66, 2011
Curcuma longa Extract Exerts a Myorelaxant Effect on the Ileum and Colon in a Mouse Experimental Colitis Model, Independent of the Anti-Inflammatory Effect / Aldini R, Budriesi R, Roda G, Micucci M, Ioan P, et al. / PLoS ONE 7(9): e44650 / doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044650
EFFECT OF TURMERIC (CURCUMA LONGA) ON OVERWEIGHT HYPERLIPIDEMIC SUBJECTS: DOUBLE BLIND STUDY / Lekhani Pashine, J V Singh, A K Vaish, S K Ojha, A A Mahdi / Uttar Pradesh Uttarkhand, Vol 24, No 2 (2012)
Potential Therapeutic Effect of Curcuma longa on Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic rats / Azza A. El-Masry / Global Advanced Research Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences Vol. 1(4) pp. 091-098, May, 2012
Safety and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Curcumin: A Component of Tumeric (Curcuma longa) / NITA CHAINANI-WU, D.M.D., M.P.H., M.S. / THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE Volume 9, Number 1, 2003, pp. 161–168
Analgesic property of different extracts of Curcuma longa (Linn.): An experimental study in animals / S. John, S. Nikhil, J. Yaswanth, A. Bhaskar, A. Amit, S. Sudha* / Journal of Natural Remedies, Vol. 9/1 (2009) 116 - 120

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