Anti-Arthritic Effects and Toxicity of the Essential Oils of Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.)

Department of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85724, USA.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Impact Factor: 3.11). 12/2009; 58(2):842-9. DOI: 10.1021/jf9027206
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Turmeric (Curcuma longa L., Zingiberaceae) rhizomes contain two classes of secondary metabolites, curcuminoids and the less well-studied essential oils. Having previously identified potent anti-arthritic effects of the curcuminoids in turmeric extracts in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), studies were undertaken to determine whether the turmeric essential oils (TEO) were also joint protective using the same experimental model. Crude or refined TEO extracts dramatically inhibited joint swelling (90-100% inhibition) in female rats with streptococcal cell wall (SCW)-induced arthritis when extracts were administered via intraperitoneal injection to maximize uniform delivery. However, this anti-arthritic effect was accompanied by significant morbidity and mortality. Oral administration of a 20-fold higher dose TEO was nontoxic, but only mildly joint-protective (20% inhibition). These results do not support the isolated use of TEO for arthritis treatment but, instead, identify potential safety concerns in vertebrates exposed to TEO.

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