Veterinary nutraceutical medicine – Curcumin
Curcumin, the yellow pigment of Curcuma longa (turmeric), is one of nature’s most potent anti-inflammatory agents. Turmeric and its derivatives have a great deal of pharmacological activity (4). Although a number of components have exerted activity, curcumin is the most potent compound. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and has greater effects in preventing free radical damage compared with vitamin C, vitamin E, and superoxide dismutase (5). However, the protective effects that curcumin has against inflammation and joint damage is only partially explained by its direct antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects. Additional mechanisms include enhancement of the body’s natural antioxidant system; increasing the activity of the body’s own anti-inflammatory mechanisms; and exerting direct anti-inflammatory action, acting directly on several enzymes and gene loci (6). Numerous experimental studies have demonstrated that curcumin produces exceptional anti-inflammatory effects (5,6). Curcumin is as effective as cortisone or the potent anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone in models of acute inflammation (7). However, while phenylbutazone and cortisone are associated with significant toxicity, curcumin is without side effects. Animals fed very high levels of curcumin (3 g/kg body weight) did not exhibit any significant adverse effects (8).