Curcumin, the active compound in the spice turmeric, has a solid foundation in science with numerous studies (more than 4000 published studies) supporting it’s anti-inflammatory effects and its potency to be an anti-cancer supplement.
As published in “Cell and Developmental Biology” review, curcumin has a long history of medicinal use, without overt side effects. Studies have proved it has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and anti-diabetic activity, and clinical trials have shown efficacy in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes and infectious diseases — especially viral infections.
Curcumin has been identified as having particular benefits against COVID-19.
Studies have also shown curcumin has an inhibitory effect on virus-induced cytokine storms, which occur as a result of an overproduction of immune cells and pro-inflammatory cytokines. This too suggests it may be of particular use against COVID-19, considering the cytokine storm triggered in severe and critical COVID-19 infection is what ends up killing these patients.
Thus, curcumin proves to be a potential therapeutic and natural supplement against COVID-19
Most recently, a scientific review named “Cell and Developmental Biology”, published June 12, 2020, reports curcumin can be useful in cases of severe viral pneumonia such as COVID-19.
According to the authors:”….Coronavirus infection, including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV2, causes daunting diseases that can be fatal because of lung failure and systemic cytokine storm.”
The development of coronavirus-evoked pneumonia is associated with extreme inflammatory responses in the lung, known as ‘cytokine storms,’ which results in pulmonary edema, atelectasis, and acute lung injury (ALI) or deadly acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
No drugs are available to suppress or reduce overly immune response-mediated lung injury effectively.
Considering the low toxicity and its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral activity, it is plausible to speculate that curcumin could be used as a therapeutic agent for viral pneumonia and ALI/ARDS.
Therefore, the intensifying evidence obtained from preclinical studies using animal models of lethal pneumonia where curcumin exerts protective effects by regulating the expression of both pro- and anti-inflammatory factors, promoting the apoptosis of PMN cells, and scavenging the reactive oxygen species (ROS), which exacerbates the inflammatory response.
One important technique behind curcumin’s beneficial effects is its ability to modulate immune responses, meaning it can both upregulate and downregulate immune responses as needed. According to the authors, at least four studies, published between 2018 and 2020, suggest curcumin inhibits virus-induced cytokine storms.
In view of its preventative and therapeutic role in viral infection and cytokine storms common to all viral infections, curcumin could be considered as an agent for the management of coronavirus infections.
Further, these studies provide a rationale that curcumin can be used as a therapeutic agent against pneumonia and acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome(ARDS) in humans resulting from Corona-viral infection.