Curcumin and its antiviral action
Coronaviruses are becoming a major threat to both human and animal health, an example is represented by the new coronavirus pandemic we are experiencing. However, it should be emphasized that coronaviruses vary a lot and can manifest themselves with a cold or even with a viral gastroenteritis. That's why scientists are looking for different approaches to treating these viruses, both from a medical and lifestyle perspective, which is something we have control over. In particular, it has emerged that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has an interesting antiviral action, also aimed at fighting coronaviruses, as evidenced by an article published a few months ago in the Journal of General Virology (Li et al, Journal of General Virology, 2020).
Curcumin has shown antiviral action against various types of viruses. In particular, the active ingredient of turmeric is able to inhibit the proliferation of the dengue virus, Zika and hepatitis B. Not only that, this substance is also characterized by an anti-inflammatory, antitumor and antibacterial action. Therefore, the researchers wondered if, given these beneficial effects, curcumin could also act against other types of viruses that represents a serious threat to humans, such as coronaviruses. A type of coronavirus represented by viral gastroenteritis was chosen for this experiment. In the lab, the scientists treated cells with different concentrations of curcumin, then exposed the cells to the virus. What emerged was that at higher doses curcumin was able to reduce the number of viruses in cell cultures. In particular, curcumin would be able to kill the virus before it enters the cell and to inactivate it.
Clearly this is an initial study and other research will need to follow to understand the dose and antiviral efficacy of curcumin. For now, integrating turmeric into your diet may be a good choice. It should be emphasized that, in order for curcumin to be assimilated, turmeric must be associated with extra virgin olive oil and pepper. Therefore, a great way to dress the salad is given by a teaspoon of turmeric, extra virgin olive oil and a grind of pepper in order to enrich the dish with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and even antiviral properties!