Scientists from Saint Louis University have found that a crucial chemical in Turmeric used in Asian countries to treat liver damage from a condition known as fatty liver disease.

Curcumin, a chemical in turmeric can treat the non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the most occurring fatty liver disease.

Around 3-4 percent of the US population gets affected by NASH which could eventually damage the liver. The extreme cases could be cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.

Turmeric is used as a medicinal plant in countries such as India and China.

"My laboratory studies the molecular mechanism of liver fibrosis and is searching for natural ways to prevent and treat this liver damage," said Anping Chen, Ph.D., corresponding author and director of research in the pathology department of Saint Louis University.

NASH-led liver fibrosis is commonly associated with human patients who are obese or have type 2 diabetes. Curcumin eliminated the effects of leptin, which plays a crucial role in the development of liver fibrosis.

"While research in an animal model and human clinical trials are needed, our study suggests that curcumin may be an effective therapy to treat and prevent liver fibrosis, which is associated with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)," said Chen.