Turmeric or curcumin can cure inflammation
Dr Ali Mobasheri of the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, who co-led the research, said: "Our research is not suggesting that curry, turmeric or curcumin are cures for inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis and arthritis. However, we believe that it could offer scientists an important new lead in the treatment of these painful conditions through nutrition."
Turmeric has been used for centuries in traditional Indian, or Ayurvedic, medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent and remedy for symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrom and other disorders. Based on its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, researchers in several countries are investigating curcumin for use in a variety of diseases, including some types of cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.
Result of study
The Nottingham-Munich study, due to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, used a culture model of human tendon inflammation to study the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin on tendon cells. The main objective of the study was to observe the effects that curcumin had on the inflammatory and degenerative properties induced by signalling molecules called interleukins. Interleukins are a type of small cell-signalling protein molecules called cytokines that can activate a whole series of inflammatory genes by triggering a dangerous "switch" called nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB).
The results showed that introducing curcumin into the culture system inhibits NF-kB and prevents it from switching on and promoting further inflammation.
Tendons, the tough cords of fibrous connective tissue that join muscles to bones, are essential for movement because they transfer the force of muscle contraction to bones. However, they are prone to injury, particularly in athletes who may overstretch themselves and overuse their joints. Tendonitis (or tendinitis) is a form of tendon inflammation that causes pain and tenderness close to the joints, and it is particularly common in the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, heels or wrists. Examples of common tendon disease include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow and Achilles tendon injury.
The global incidence of tendonitis is on the increase in line with the rise in ageing and inflammatory diseases. It is also linked to other arthritic and rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are used to relieve the pain and inflammation of tendonitis. In more serious cases of tendon injury, steroid injections can be given directly into the tendon sheath to control pain and enable physiotherapy to start. However, NSAIDS and steroids are associated with side effects, such as stomach ulcers, nausea, vomiting and other problems affecting the digestive system, as well as headaches, drowsiness and fatigue