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Scientists have revealed that curcumin, a major component in turmeric helps to treat liver damage. Curcumin is also useful in treating jaundice and blemishes.

The substance, which gives the curry spice turmeric, a bright yellow color, has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine - a practice popular in the Indian subcontinent, to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders.

The study was carried out by Dr. Anna Bagdasaryan and colleagues from the Laboratory of Experimental and Molecular Hepatology at the Medical University of Graz, Austria with joint effort with fellow colleagues from Texas.

The study aimed at testing a mouse model of a group of diseases in humans known as chronic cholangiopathies, caused by inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts in the liver that causes blockage of bile flow to the gut, which results in jaundice, liver cirrhosis (damage), liver failure and liver cancer.

Results showed that in mice that were fed curcumin, the liver damage was much lesser, as compared to mice that were not fed with such diet. They also found that curcumin prevented the cells, which were responsible in the development of inflammation in the bile ducts, from growing.

Although it is still too early to conclude that new treatments may be developed from the spice, researchers welcome these new findings as they offer a distinct direction for new studies into treatments for severe conditions of the liver diseases.

The findings of this study were published in the medical journal Gut.