Curcumin Gel May Speed Healing of Scalds and Burns Interview with:

Madalene Heng MD, FRACP, FACD, FAAD</strong> Professor of Medicine/Dermatology UCLA School of Medicine

Dr. Madalene Heng

Madalene Heng MD, FRACP, FACD, FAAD
Professor of Medicine/Dermatology
UCLA School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice, turmeric, is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent with unique healing properties.

However, this is only observed with our preparation of topical curcumin but not with oral curcumin. This is because curcumin is not absorbed and does not cross cell membranes – low bioavailability.

The biochemical basis for the efficacy of topical curcumin is based on the fact that it is a phosphorylase kinase inhibitor. Phosphorylase kinase is an enzyme released by injured tissue 5 mins following injury, and is responsible for activating the transcription activator (NF-kB), resulting in turning on over 200 genes responsible for inflammation, and scarring among others, resulting in redness, swelling, pain, and eventually scarring. By blocking phosphorylase kinase activity early in the injury pathway, topical curcumin (curcumin gel) results in rapid healing with minimal or no scarring following many types of healing, including burns and scalds. The unique healing properties are also due to the fact that curcumin induces cell death (apoptosis) to damaged cells, resulting in the “space” for replacement by new healthy cells, resulting in normal appearing skin following burns and scalds.

The salutary result depends on when the curcumin gel is applied – the earlier the better. We observed that when curcumin gel was applied within 4 days to second degree burns- hourly applications, tapering after the patient is improved – we observed rapid healing within 5 days, with the skin returning to normal within 6 weeks to 2 months without redness or visible scarring. Minor burns and scalds heal even more rapidly. Pain was improved within hours. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: If the readers happen to have curcumin gel (Psoria-Gold) in their first aid kit, they should apply curcumin gel multiple times as soon as possible. Within the first hour, they should apply it every 5-10 mins, tapering off when the pain and swelling is improved. If they do this, it is possible that blistering may be aborted. The scarring is also minimal. The curcumin gel should be applied twice daily until the skin returns to normal (no redness, swelling, pigmentation etc) and no visible scarring is seen. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Burns units may like to perform this study on their patients and compare the results with historical controls.

Disclosures: Dr Madalene Heng is the inventor of curcumin gel. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Madalene Heng. Phosphorylase Kinase Inhibition Therapy in Burns and Scalds. BioDiscovery, 2017; 20: e11207 DOI: 10.3897/biodiscovery.20.e11207

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on March 19, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD