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Phytother Res. 2011 Mar;25(3):396-401. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3275. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

An aqueous extract of Curcuma longa (turmeric) rhizomes stimulates insulin release and mimics insulin action on tissues involved in glucose homeostasis in vitro.

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Centre for Bioactive Discovery, School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.


Curcuma longa (turmeric) has been used widely as a spice, particularly in Asian countries. It is also used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as an antiinflammatory and antimicrobial agent and for numerous other curative properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of an aqueous extract of Curcuma longa (AEC) on tissues involved in glucose homeostasis. The extract was prepared by soaking 100 g of ground turmeric in 1 L of water, which was filtered and stored at -20°C prior to use. Pancreas and muscle tissues of adult mice were cultured in DMEM with 5 or 12 mmol/L glucose and varying doses of extract. The AEC stimulated insulin secretion from mouse pancreatic tissues under both basal and hyperglycaemic conditions, although the maximum effect was only 68% of that of tolbutamide. The AEC induced stepwise stimulation of glucose uptake from abdominal muscle tissues in the presence and absence of insulin, and the combination of AEC and insulin significantly potentiated the glucose uptake into abdominal muscle tissue. However, this effect was attenuated by wortmannin, suggesting that AEC possibly acts via the insulin-mediated glucose uptake pathway. In summary, water soluble compounds of turmeric exhibit insulin releasing and mimicking actions within in vitro tissue culture conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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