Medical and Food Industries Put Turmeric's Antibacterial Properties to Good Use
Turmeric's health benefits are well known in countries that commonly use the spice in traditional medicine and cooking. Now scientists worldwide are taking advantage of the spice's natural antimicrobial properties. They've employed turmeric and its compounds in a number of innovative products for medical and food industries. This includes making bandages for wounds and pesticide sheets for crops. (v.11, 37, 40-41)
Medical material and food packaging can help protect against microbes that cause infection and spoil food. When turmeric is added to these products, industry research shows it is an effective antibacterial and antifungal agent. In addition, turmeric has a long safety record. This makes it especially practical for food and healthcare products. (v.11, 37, 40-41)
Antibacterial Cloth Made with Turmeric
Antimicrobial fabrics are used in health and hygiene products. In the medical field, they help control infections. Herbal fabric dyes are a natural and safe alternative to synthetic antimicrobial solutions. (v.11, 40, 42)
- Bandages for wounds
Turmeric compounds are applied by themselves or combined with other natural substances. Either way, the compounds in turmeric lend excellent antimicrobial properties to fabric against some bacteria. (v.11, 40)
Turmeric-Infused Biomedical Adhesive Film
Turmeric and neem (oil from a large semi-evergreen tree of the East Indies) add nontoxic antimicrobial properties to materials made to cover wounds or coat surgical implants. Both are major sources of hospital-acquired infections, which increase the risk of mortality and health care costs tremendously. (v.19, 37, 43)
For example, statistics from one report showed that 6 times more patients with heath care associated infections died than those without infection. In fact, sepsis related to surgery and medical treatment for trauma is the 10th most common cause of death in the United States alone. (v.19, 20, 43)
Some bacteria actually produce a slime that allows it to stick to the plastic used in medical devices (such as shunts, prosthetic joints, and catheters). The slime also creates a biofilm that protects the bacteria from the immune system and antibiotics. (v.34)
Coating surgical implants with antimicrobial film could help prevent these infections. When tested, biodegradable adhesive film containing turmeric and neem successfully blocked growth of the bacteria related to: (v.37, 43)
Antibacterial Turmeric Foam and Soap
Turmeric and curcumin each proved successful against bacteria when used in medical wound care products:
- Curcumin-loaded foam used with phototherapy reduced E. coli bacteria by over 80%. (v.38)
- A turmeric-based antibacterial soap developed to clean and treat wounds in patients with HIV blocked 4 different bacteria and yeast organisms. (v.25)
Edible Food Coatings Made with Turmeric
Turmeric-based antimicrobial films successfully keep produce (such as carrots) fresher longer. The edible coatings preserve color, nutrients, and texture while preventing spoilage. (v.41)
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