Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition characterised chronic inflammation of the intestine in the absence of a specific trigger. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the main types of IBD.
Immune system dysfunction is generally held responsible for this disease. Standard treatment involves administration of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents.
There are numerous studies that discuss benefits of turmeric in adults. Little do we know about its therapeutic use in children.
Curcumin, which is touted for its anti-inflammatory property, is said to be therapeutic in IBD treatment for paediatric patients. This is a small study but findings suggest the need of large scale clinical trial.
What happened in this study?
11 paediatric patients with IBD either in remission or mild disease enrolled for this study. They were initially given 1g of curcumin per day for 3 weeks which was later increased to 2g and finally 4g over the period of 6 weeks.
Severity of the disease was assessed on the basis of scoring charts.
What were the results?
9 patients completed the study. 2 patients were not able to report for follow up. All other patients tolerated the dose very well. 2 patients reported gassiness and other symptoms reported were found unrelated to curcumin.
No patients reported relapse or worsening of symptoms when taking curcumin. 2 patients with ulcerative colitis experienced a decrease of 20 points indicating remission of disease and patients’ suffering from Crohn’s experienced a drastic change in scores indicating improvement.
How did this occur?
As mentioned previously, curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory property which can ameliorate the inflammation of the intestines. It also has immunomodulating properties which could be of help in suppressing unfavourable immune system responses occurring in IBD.
Curcumin has anti-microbial properties which can reduce the occurrence of gastric infections in IBD. The multiple pharmacological properties of curcumin can help in reducing side effects of conventional medications.
What does this mean?
Curcumin is an effective herbal therapy that can be used in combination with standard therapy to treat paediatric inflammatory bowel disease. This is very helpful for children since their immune system is sensitive to side effects and curcumin can help reduce IBD symptoms without causing adverse effects.
Read paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3701433/