The Curcuma xanthorhiza rox content, curcumin, contains a million of benefits for health improvement.
Indonesian is known as a tropical country with the second mega biodiversity, rich with plants known empirically or through a lab research as useful herbal medicine. One of them is temulawak, which belongs to ginger family (zingiberaceae). Temulawak ( Curcuma xanthorhiza rox ) is Indonesian original herbal plant. However, the spread of the plant popularly known as curcuma javanica is limited on Java, Maluku, and Kalimantan islands only. Temulawak grows as herbaceous bushes. Starting from its base or foot grows long and straight leaves stick. The plant can grow 2-2.5 meters tall. Its leaves are long and oval like banana leaves. Its leaves are overlapping one and another forming a stem.
The plant, the core of which is easy to digest, can grow rapidly at lowland to an area reaching the height of 750 meters above sea level. Temulawak is ready for harvest after reaching the age of 8-12 months, when its leaves become yellowish and look like to die. Tubers will appear from its foot, their colors are dark yellow or light brown, their length can be 15 centimeters with a diameter of 6 centimeters. It smells good and tastes bitter and a little bit hot.
The benefits of temulawak for health actually has been acknowledged empirically and through experiences for generations from our forefathers. For decades temulawak has been used as antibiotic, arouse someone's appetite, cure yellow decease, diarrhea, gastritis, filled with air stomach, and weariness. Temulawak can also lower blood fat, hamper blood clotting as antioxidant, and maintain health by increasing immunity. Some of those benefits are clinically proven. Looking at the various benefits of temulawak, with no doubt the Indonesian government announced “drink temulawak national campaign” since 2 years ago.
Help Liver Destroy Toxin
Temulawak rhizome contains several chemical compounds, such as atsiri oil, fellandrean and turmerol, camphor, glucocyde, foluymetic carbinol, and curcumin. Curcumin is known as a compound with various benefits, especially as anti-hepototoxic and antioxidant.
The mechanism of curcumin in surviving the “symbol of romanticism” is still unclear. However, a study an a tested animal reported that curcumin strongly hampers cytochrome 4501A1/1A2 enzyme in the liver. This enzyme is isoenzyme which is actively participated in bioactivation of some toxin, including benzo[a]pyrene . Curcumin is also found out in preventing the formation of covalent ties between cytochrome P450 and DNA. The researchers concluded that curcumin might hamper carcinogenesis by chemicals with the modulation of P450 function.
Besides, curcumin is also found to be able to protect liver against alcohol toxicity. This effect was proven in a study done over rats which were induced with ethanol 25%. The rats which were given curcumin 80 mg/kg BB experienced the reduction of liver enzyme rate and the reactive tiobarbiturat acid product. Another study also showed that curcumin decreases liver destruction through reduction of lipid peroxidation. It was observed over rats which were induced with ferrum. Still according to a pre clinical test, curcumin was reported to increase the activity of glutathione-S-transferase . This enzyme is very important in detoxification process.
Curcumin Clinical Test
A moderate clinal test was done in Indonesia to find out the benefits of curcumin in fixing the liver function. The study involved 38 patients with liver problems or having SGPT and SGOT above the normal rate in 7 cities (Bogor, Bandung, Semarang, Solo, Surabaya, Palembang, and Jakarta). The patients were given a mix of curcumin 25 mg, essential phospholipid 100 mg, and vitamin E 100 mg. The study used seeding trial method or without comparison. The observation was done by around 20 researchers in the period of July-December 1998.
The parameter used is SGPT and SGOT rates. SGPT is an enzyme produced by hepatocytes, the cells abundantly found at the liver. The rate of SGPT in the blood will increase in line with the damage of hepatocytes cells due to hepatitis virus infection, alcohol, medicines which induce the damage of hepatocytes, and due to other reasons such as shock or medicine poison.
The normal SGPT rate is 0 - 35 units per liter (u/l). The acceleration of SGPT rate by 50 times of the normal rate indicates the short of blood flow at the liver, hepatitis, or liver cells decay caused by chemical medicine/compound, such as CCl4. The increase of SGPT from low to medium rate may be caused due to hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and alcohol. Sometimes at cirrhosis, the increase of SGPT rate is only 2-4 times higher than the normal rate.
Meanwhile, SGOT is much found at heart, liver, skeleton muscles, pancreas, lungs, red blood cells, and brain cells. When the cells are damaged, SGOT will be released into the blood. As a result when being measured, it can be seen the correlation the amount or level of cell damages. The normal rate of SGOT is around 3 - 45 units per liter (u/l). The escalation of SGOT rate may be caused with the existence of hepatitis C. At acute hepatitis, the escalation may reach up to 20 times of the normal rate.
The study shows, according to the statistic calculation, there is a significant decrease of SGOT and SGPT. After 14 days of therapy, the decrease of SGOT of the total patients reached 2.89 times, while for SGPT reached 3.28 times compared to before treatment. The similar result was also found at a person suffering from hepatitis and non hepatitis. The hepatitis patients experienced the decrease of SGOT at 3.48 times and SGPT at 3.82 times, compared to before treatment. On the other hand, at the non hepatitis patients, there is a decrease of SGOT around 1.91 times and SGPT at 2.15 times.
Digging up Other Benefits.
Until today, there are many studies done to find out other benefits from this valuable tuber. The study which was seriously done recently is to see the use of curcumin as anti tumor to heal cancer deceases. A number of reports show that curcumoid, including curcumin, has the activity of chemo preventive and curative against cancer. The study generally was done on animal with different giving routes and tested using in vitro system. Recently a few study has been started on man.
Another benefit of curcumin aimed is the replication obstruction of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). A study shows that curcumin hampers the fusion stage of the virus cells at HIV replication cycle. A various studies were continuously done to reach the breakthrough. In case all studies are clinically proven, the plants containing curcumin will be rich in benefits. And Indonesia will also be happy because curcumin is the Indonesian original herbal plant.
Source: ULAS OBAT November 2006 edition (Vol. 6 No. 4), by andra.