New research published in the journal Respirology says that curcumin–a substance in turmeric–may help fight drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Investigators found that by stimulating human immune cells called macrophages, curcumin was able to successfully remove Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative bacterium of tuberculosis, from experimentally infected cells in culture. The process relied on inhibiting the activation of a cellular molecule called nuclear factor-kappa B.
The ability of curcumin to modulate the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis points to a potential new tuberculosis treatment that would be less prone to the development of drug resistance.
“Our study has provided basic evidence that curcumin protects against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in human cells,” said Dr. Xiyuan Bai, lead author of the study. “The protective role of curcumin to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis still needs confirmation, but if validated, curcumin may become a novel treatment to modulate the host immune response to overcome drug-resistant tuberculosis.”
Further studies would need to be done to find out the implications of a turmeric-based treatment for tuberculosis in the human body.