Curcumin is extracted from the dried root of the turmeric rhizome Curcuma longa. The process of extraction requires the raw material to be ground into powder, and washed with a suitable solvent that selectively extracts coloring matter. This process after distillation of the solvent yields an oleoresin with coloring matter content in the region of 25–35% along with volatile oils and other resinous extractives. The oleoresin so obtained is subjected to further washes using selective solvents that can extract the curcumin pigment from the oleoresin. This process yields a powdered, purified food color, known as curcumin powder, with more than 90% coloring matter content and very little volatile oil and other dry matter of natural origin. The characteristic yellow color of turmeric is due to the curcuminoids, first isolated by Vogel in 1842.

Curcumin provides a water-soluble orange-yellow color. The rhizome of Curcuma longa has been used as a medicine, spice and coloring agent for thousands of years. The Negritoes of the Philippines utilize the fresh rhizome to treat recent wounds, bumps, bruises and leech bites. Mixed with gingelly oil (a locally produced oil), it is applied to the body to prevent further skin eruptions. Among the dark races of India, turmeric has been used since time immemorial to treat skin problems. Both the Ayurvedic and the Unani practitioners have used a paste of powdered turmeric or its fresh juice made into a paste or a decoction of the whole plant as a local application in the treatment of leprosy and cobra bites. It is especially useful for indolent ulcers on the surface of the skin and gangrene in the flesh. A paste made from the powdered rhizomes along with caustic lime forms a soothing remedy for inflamed joints. Turmeric is also used as an external application of “rouge” and is used by some women in India to suppress the unwelcome growth of facial hairs and upper lip moustaches.  In Northern India, the rhizome is used by many natives for treating cuts, burns and scalds.  The natives of Samoa use powdered rhizome to sprinkle on newborn infants to help heal a recently cut umbilical cord, to prevent nappy rash from occurring, and to keep the skin continually soft and resilient. The powder is also used as a paste or poultice to treat skin ulcers and to help heal extensive skin eruptions. In parts of Africa, turmeric has been successfully tested for healing rashes due to allergies and psoriasis inflammation, and itching accompanying arthritis.

It is a natural extract obtained by solvent extraction from the dried rhizomes of turmeric (used in Indian cuisine as a flavoring agent). Curcumin may be used to compensate for fading of natural coloring in pre-packed foods. Recognized as an anticarcinogenic agent during laboratory tests. It is widely used in traditional Indian medicine to cure biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism and sinusitis. Turmeric paste in slaked lime is a popular home remedy for the treatment of inflammation and wounds. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal actions. Studies have shown that curcumin is not toxic to humans. Curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of a number of different molecules that play an important role in inflammation.

CAS: 458-37-7

Function: Antioxidant.

Source: Dweck, Anthony. Handbook of Natural Ingredients (Dweck Books 4) . Dweck Data. Kindle Edition.