Curry Powder Could Help TB Patients
Just when you thought you had heard it all. There’s something new.
The chemical in turmeric that gives the root its distinctive yellow color and spicy, bitter flavor may also help treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, according to a new study published in Respirology.
Tuberculosis (TB) that’s resistant to most antibiotics can be dangerous and difficult to treat. The disease is caused by an airborne bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), that typically attacks the lungs, but can also harm the brain, kidneys, and spine.
You probably thought that TB was a thing of the past, and in most of recent history, TB was successfully treated with antibiotics; but as antibiotic resistance spreads, some strains of TB bacteria may also develop resistance to drugs.
Curcumin is a substance found in turmeric, a root that’s in the ginger family and originally found in India. Curcumin is turmeric’s most active ingredient and offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For centuries, turmeric has been used in both food and traditional medicine; it’s typically boiled down, baked, and ground into a yellow powder.
In the study, the researchers used an outside the body model for cells infected with TB. They focused on curcumin’s effect on human macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell that clears out any foreign substances, microbes, cancer cells, or cellular waste from the body as part of the immune system. The use of curcumin in the model boosted the macrophages’ ability to clear out and kill the tuberculosis bacteria.
The role of curcumin to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis still needs confirmation, but if validated, curcumin may become a novel treatment to modulate the host immune response to overcome drug-resistant tuberculosis.