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CURCUMA ROOT [郁金, YU JIN]

turmeric-root_optName : Curcuma Root

Chinese Name : 郁金

Latin Name : Radix Curcumae

Overview

This herb  is the dried tuberous root of a fragnant plant of several varieties Curcuma kwangsiensis S. G. Lee et C. F. Liang. C. zedoaria Rosc,. C. wenyujin Y. H. Chen et C. Ling, or C. longa L. of the family Zingiberaceae. It is grown mainly in the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, and Zheijang in China. Collected in the winter, the hairy rootles are removed before it is washed, boiled thoroughly, dried in the sun, sliced, and used.

The root has a taste similar to turmeric. Traditionally, it was used for all sorts of hemorrhages and wounds. Curcuma was also recommended for treating primary syphilis, mania, and worm poison. Today, curcuma root is used to invigorate the flow of  Qi and blood to treat pain in the chest, abdomen, and costal region, hepatitis,profuse menstruation, and other menstrual disorders.

Use of Curcuma Root in TCM

Pungent and bitter in taste, and cold, it acts on the heart, liver, and gallbladder meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Invigorate the flow of Liver-Qi and relieves pain by normalizing blood circulation :
  • To treat distending pain in the chest, pain in the hypochondriac region, stomach, and abdomen, and hepatosplenomegaly, curcuma root is used with salvia root (dan shen), bupleurum root (chai hu), cyperus tuber, and bitter orange.
  • For painful menstruation and distending pain in the breasts, curcuma is prescribed with bupluerum root (chai hu), Chinese angelica, cyperus tuber, and white peony root.
  • Curcuma root can also be blended with salvia root, turtle shell. Lycopus (ze lan), and green tangerine peel for resolving masses in the abdomen that cause distension and pain.
  1. Clears internal Heat in the blood combined with blood stasis : for vomiting of blood, blood in the urine, epistaxis (nose bleeding) during the menstrual period, or profuse menstruation, curcuma root can be dispensed with dried rehmannia root, moutan bark (dan pi), gardenia (zhi zi), and achyranthes root (huai niu xi).
  2. Removes Damp Heat : for jaundice due to Damp-Heat pathogens, curcuma root is mixed with capillaries and gardenia.

Dosage

In a decoction of 6 to 12 g.

Precautions

Curcuma root is incompatible with clove (ding xiang). Use with caution during pregnancy.

Side Effects and Toxicity

The herb is safe at the recommended dose. The toxicological studies on C. longa showed that curcuma fed to rats at a dose up to 125-fold corresponding to normal human intake caused no adverse effects on growth, feed efficiency ratio, blood counts, and clinical blood chemistry.

Chemical Constituents

Curcuma wenyujin rhizome contains curcumin, curdione, beta-elemene, carvone, camphene, camphor, and chuanxioongzine. The volatile oil contains alpha- and beta-pinene, camphene, limonene, curcumol, and curdione as main ingredients.

Curcuma longa rhizome contains curcumin, hexahydrocurcumin, and furmerone. The essential oil contains tumerone, alpha-tumerone, cinole, curcumol, and caryophyllen as the main ingredients. It also contains phenolic pigments, curcumin, and desmethoxycurcumin.

Pharmacological Findings

  1. Hypolipidemic : oral administration of the ethanolic or other extract of the herb, curcumin, and the essential oil of the herb to rats and rabbits with experimental hyperlipidemia significantly decreased serum cholesterol and beta-lipoprotein levels. These agents also reduced liver cholesterol levels and corrected the imbalanced ratio of the alpha- and beta-lipoproteins but did not affect the endogenous cholesterol.
  2. A reduction in plaque formation in the aortas and coronary arteries in rabbits and white rats has been demonstrated.
  3. Effective treatment for viral hepatitis and jaundice.
  4. As a cholagogue, curcuma increases the secretion and excretion of bile, and decreases tha amount of urobilinogen in urine.
  5. Inhibits liver cell damage.
  6. Antibacterial and antifungal.