Turmeric has become a global sensation for its healing properties and health benefits. If findings of a latest study are to be believed, turmeric active compound curcumin may also play a role in killing certain viruses. The study was published in the Journal of General Virology. The study showed that curcumin could help prevent Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) - an alpha-group coronavirus that infects pigs - from infecting cells. At higher doses, the compound was also found to kill virus particles.
Infection with TGEV causes a disease called transmissible gastroenteritis in piglets, some symptoms are diarrhoea, severe dehydration, in worse cases it could also lead to death.
To examine the potential [/topic/antiviral-properties]antiviral properties of curcumin, the research team treated experimental cells with various concentrations of the compound, before attempting to infect them with TGEV.
It was found that higher concentrations of curcumin reduced the number of virus particles in the cell culture.
"Curcumin has a significant inhibitory effect on TGEV adsorption step and a certain direct inactivation effect, suggesting that curcumin has great potential in the prevention of TGEV infection," said Dr Lilan Xie, lead author of the study and researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Bioengineering.
Interestingly, curcumin has also been shown to inhibit the replication of some types of virus, including dengue virus, hepatitis B and Zika virus.
Turmeric is also loaded with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities. Curcumin was chosen for this research due to having low side effects according to Dr Xie. They said: "There are great difficulties in the prevention and control of viral diseases, especially when there are no effective vaccines. Traditional Chinese medicine and its active ingredients, are ideal screening libraries for antiviral drugs because of their advantages, such as convenient acquisition and low side effects."
The researchers also said that more analysis is required to study the inhibiting properties of curcumin "Further studies will be required, to evaluate the inhibitory effect in vivo and explore the potential mechanisms of curcumin against TGEV, which will lay a foundation for the comprehensive understanding of the antiviral mechanisms and application of curcumin," said Dr Xie.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)