A key component in a popular Indian spice could delay liver damage and cirrhosis, according to a new study published in the research journal “Gut.” Curcumin, which gives turmeric its bright yellow hue, has traditionally been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat varying gastrointestinal disorders as it is known for having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Researchers wanted to investigate if the ingredient could be used to treat more progressive inflammatory conditions of the liver, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis. “Both of these conditions, which can be sparked by genetic faults or autoimmune disease, cause the liver's plumbing system of bile ducts to become inflamed, scarred, and blocked. This leads to extensive tissue damage and irreversible and ultimately fatal liver cirrhosis. The research team analysed tissue and blood samples from mice with chronic liver inflammation before and after adding curcumin to their diet for a period of four and a period of eight weeks. The results were compared with the equivalent samples from mice with the same condition, but not fed curcumin. The findings showed that the curcumin diet significantly reduced bile duct blockage and curbed liver cell (hepatocyte) damage and scarring (fibrosis) by interfering with several chemical signalling pathways involved in the inflammatory process.”