Curcuma longa, Indian saffron, curcuma aromatica, turmeric
Part of the plant used: rhizome
Curcuma, a small perennial plant native to South Asia, is part of the ginger family. Cultivated in tropical climates, it can grow to a height of 0.9 to 1.5 meters. Curcuma contains curcuminoids, namely curcumin which, in addition to being the major component (90%), is also responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity.
The dried rhizome powder is a very popular and widely used spice found in curry. It is also used as a colouring agent.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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