A recent study has found that curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, can provide protection against lung damage in infants.
Premature infants often need the assistance of ventilator and forced oxygen therapy because they're frequently born with inadequate lung function. These therapies can cause lasting lung damage and even death among infants.
Researchers at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center (LA BioMed), using disease models, found that curcumin provided long-term protection against this damage.
Their study, published online by the American Journal of Physiology, Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, found curcumin provided protection against bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BDP), a condition characterised by scarring and inflammation.
They also found that the turmeric constituent shields against hyperoxia, in which too much oxygen enters the body through the lungs, for up to 21 days after birth.
"This is the first study to find long-term benefits of using curcumin to protect lung function in premature infants," said Virender K. Rehan, LA BioMed lead researcher who authored the study.
"Curcumin is known to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, making it a promising therapy for premature infants who require oxygen therapy after birth," Rehan said.