Curcumin (a natural compound derived from the spice tumeric) in addition to mesalamine was superior to placebo and mesalamine in inducing clinical and endoscopic remission in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Curcurmin has been widely used in ayurevidic and chinese medicine to treat various inflammatory conditions. About 54% of patients achieved clinical remission at week 4. Endoscopic remission was found in 8/22 patients in the curcumin group compared to 0/16 of the non curcumin group. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2015;13:1444-1449. Curcumin has been known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties in previous experiments. The sample size was small (50 patients) and it was not a dose-finding study so the optimal dosage is unclear. Also, not all patients got endoscopic evaluation to evaluate for mucosal healing. This is exciting news but further trials will be needed to determine efficacy.
Mehra Hosseini MD