London: A derivative of tumeric, the spice used in Indian preparations, has shown promise in treating sufferers of tendinitis, a painful condition.

Researchers from the universities of Nottingham (UK) and Ludwig Maximilians (Germany) have shown that curcumin, which gives turmeric its bright yellow hue, can be used to quell bio-mechanisms that trigger inflammation in tendon diseases.

Tendinitis is a painful inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle. It is often caused by incorrect posture at work or home or poor stretching or conditioning before exercise.

Turmeric has been used for centuries in Indian 'Ayurvedic' medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent and remedy for symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders, the Journal of Biological Chemistry reports.

Ali Mobasheri of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, who co-authored the study, said: "Our research is not suggesting that curry, turmeric or curcumin are cures for inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis and arthritis.

"However, we believe that it could offer scientists an important new lead in the treatment of these painful conditions through nutrition," said Mobasheri in a Nottingham statement.

The only medicines which are effective in treating tendinitis are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

However, NSAIDS and steroids are linked with side-effects such as ulcers, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache, diarrhoea, constipation, drowsiness and fatigue.

More recently, studies have linked curcumin to potential uses in treating arthritis and a range of rheumatic diseases and, potentially, even as an agent to kill cancer cells directly or make them more sensitive to killing by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

(Agencies)