Turmeric (Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae), the source of curcumin, has been used as a food, spice, and traditional medicine for thousands of years. This yellow pigment has been extensively researched to assess its efficacy in the treatment of chronic diseases, and especially inflammation, in over 2,500 preclinical investigations.

 Traditionally, turmeric has been used for many ailments, particularly as an anti-inflammatory agent. 

The most active component of turmeric is curcumin, which makes up 2–5% of the spice. Curcumin, a polyphenol, has a wide spectrum of biological and pharmacological activities. It has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic activities, to name a few. Various animal models and human studies have proved that curcumin is extremely safe even at very high doses.

 The following selected articles are only a few of the hundreds describing the beneficial effects of curcumin.

General Overview, Pharmacology,
Molecular Mechanisms

Ammon, Hermann PT, and Martin A. Wahl. Pharmacology of Curcuma longa. Planta medica 57, no. 01 (1991): 1-7.

Anto, Ruby John, Asok Mukhopadhyay, Kate Denning, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) induces apoptosis through activation of caspase-8, BID cleavage and cytochrome c release: its suppression by ectopic expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl. Carcinogenesis 23, no. 1 (2002): 143-150.

 Arbiser, Jack L., Nancy Klauber, Richard Rohan, Robert van Leeuwen, Mou-Tuan Huang, Carolyn Fisher, Evelyn Flynn, and H. Randolph Byers. Curcumin is an in vivo inhibitor of angiogenesis. Molecular Medicine 4, no. 6 (1998): 376-383.

 Goel, Ajay, Ajaikumar B. Kunnumakkara, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Curcumin as Curecumin: from kitchen to clinic. Biochemical pharmacology 75, no. 4 (2008): 787-809.

 Jana, Nihar Ranjan, Priyanka Dikshit, Anand Goswami, and Nobuyuki Nukina. Inhibition of proteasomal function by curcumin induces apoptosis through mitochondrial pathway. Journal of Biological Chemistry 279, no. 12 (2004): 11680-11685.

Jung, Eun Mi, Jun Hee Lim, Tae Jin Lee, Jong-Wook Park, Kyeong Sook Choi, and Taeg Kyu Kwon. Curcumin sensitizes tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis through reactive oxygen species-mediated upregulation of death receptor 5 (DR5). Carcinogenesis 26, no. 11 (2005): 1905-1913.

 Kulkarni, S. K., and A. Dhir. An overview of curcumin in neurological disorders. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 72, no. 2 (2010): 149.

 Moos, Philip J., Kornelia Edes, James E. Mullally, and Frank A. Fitzpatrick. Curcumin impairs tumor suppressor p53 function in colon cancer cells. Carcinogenesis 25, no. 9 (2004): 1611-1617.

Motterlini, Roberto, Roberta Foresti, Rekha Bassi, and Colin J. Green. Curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, induces heme oxygenase-1 and protects endothelial cells against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 28, no. 8 (2000): 1303-1312.

 Ramaswami, Ganesh, Hong Chai, Qizhi Yao, Peter H. Lin, Alan B. Lumsden, and Changyi Chen. Curcumin blocks homocysteine-induced endothelial dysfunction in porcine coronary arteries. Journal of vascular surgery 40, no. 6 (2004): 1216-1222.

 Shankar, Sharmila, Suthakar Ganapathy, Qinghe Chen, and Rakesh K. Srivastava. Curcumin sensitizes TRAIL-resistant xenografts: molecular mechanisms of apoptosis, metastasis and angiogenesis. Molecular cancer 7, no. 1 (2008): 16.

 Sharma, R. A., A. J. Gescher, and W. P. Steward. Curcumin: the story so far. European journal of cancer 41, no. 13 (2005): 1955-1968.

Woo, Ju-Hyung, Young-Ho Kim, Yun-Jung Choi, Dae-Gon Kim, Kyung-Seop Lee, Jae Hoon Bae, Do Sik Min et al. Molecular mechanisms of curcumin-induced cytotoxicity: induction of apoptosis through generation of reactive oxygen species, down-regulation of Bcl-X L and IAP, the release of cytochrome c and inhibition of Akt. Carcinogenesis 24, no. 7 (2003): 1199-1208.

Antioxidant Properties

Menon, Venugopal P., and Adluri Ram Sudheer. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. In The molecular targets and therapeutic uses of curcumin in health and disease, pp. 105-125. Springer, Boston, MA, 2007.

Toda, Shizuo, Toshio Miyase, Hideko Arichi, Hisayuki Tanizawa, and Yoshio Takino. Natural antioxidants. III. Antioxidative components isolated from rhizome of Curcuma longa L. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 33, no. 4 (1985): 1725-1728.

Antiinflammatory Properties

Aggarwal, Bharat B., and Kuzhuvelil B. Harikumar. Potential therapeutic effects of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory agent, against neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases. The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 41, no. 1 (2009): 40-59.

 Chainani-Wu, Nita. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa). The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 9, no. 1 (2003): 161-168.

 Jurenka, Julie S. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Alternative medicine review 14, no. 2 (2009).

 Kawamori, Toshihiko, Ronald Lubet, Vernon E. Steele, Gary J. Kelloff, Robert B. Kaskey, Chinthalapally V. Rao, and Bandaru S. Reddy. Chemopreventive effect of curcumin, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agent, during the promotion/progression stages of colon cancer. Cancer research 59, no. 3 (1999): 597-601.

 Anticancer Antitumor Potential

Aggarwal, Bharat B., Anushree Kumar, and Alok C. Bharti. Anticancer potential of curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies. Anticancer research 23, no. 1/A (2003): 363-398.

Anand, Preetha, Chitra Sundaram, Sonia Jhurani, Ajaikumar B. Kunnumakkara, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Curcumin and cancer: an old age disease with an age-old solution. Cancer letters 267, no. 1 (2008): 133-164.

 Anthwal, Amit, Bandana K. Thakur, M. S. M. Rawat, D. S. Rawat, Amit K. Tyagi, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Synthesis, characterization and in vitro anticancer activity of C-5 curcumin analogues with potential to inhibit TNF-α-induced NF-κB activation. BioMed research international 2014 (2014).

 Chen, Huei‐Wen, and Huei‐Chen Huang. Effect of curcumin on cell cycle progression and apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells. British journal of pharmacology 124, no. 6 (1998): 1029-1040.

 Chendil, Damodaran, Rama S. Ranga, David Meigooni, Sabapathi Sathishkumar, and Mansoor M. Ahmed. Curcumin confers radiosensitizing effect in prostate cancer cell line PC-3. Oncogene 23, no. 8 (2004): 1599.

 Choudhuri, Tathagata, Suman Pal, Munna L. Agwarwal, Tanya Das, and Gaurisankar Sa. Curcumin induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells through p53‐dependent Bax induction. FEBS letters 512, no. 1-3 (2002): 334-340.

 Chuang, Shuang-En, M. L. Kuo, CHIH-HUNG Hsu, C. R. Chen, J. K. Lin, G. M. Lai, C. Y. Hsieh, and A. L. Cheng. Curcumin-containing diet inhibits diethylnitrosamine-induced murine hepatocarcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis 21, no. 2 (2000): 331-335.

 Deeb, D., Xu, Y.X., Jiang, H., Gao, X., Janakiraman, N., Chapman, R.A., Gautam, S.C., 2003. Curcumin (diferuloyl-methane) enhances tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand-induced apoptosis in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2 (1), 95–103.

Dorai, Thambi, N. Gehani, and A. Katz. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer—I. Curcumin induces apoptosis in both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells. Prostate cancer and prostatic diseases 3, no. 2 (2000): 84.

 Huang, Mou-Tuan, You-Rong Lou, Wei Ma, Harold L. Newmark, Kenneth R. Reuhl, and Allan H. Conney. Inhibitory effects of dietary curcumin on forestomach, duodenal, and colon carcinogenesis in mice. Cancer research 54, no. 22 (1994): 5841-5847.

Kamat, Ashish M., Sheeja T. Tharakan, Bokyung Sung, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Curcumin potentiates the antitumor effects of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin against bladder cancer through the downregulation of NF-κB and upregulation of TRAIL receptors. Cancer research 69, no. 23 (2009): 8958-8966.

Khar, Ashok, A. Mubarak Ali, B. V. V. Pardhasaradhi, Zareena Begum, and Rana Anjum. Antitumor activity of curcumin is mediated through the induction of apoptosis in AK‐5 tumor cells. FEBS letters 445, no. 1 (1999): 165-168.

 Kunnumakkara, Ajaikumar B., Sushovan Guha, Sunil Krishnan, Parmeswaran Diagaradjane, Juri Gelovani, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Curcumin potentiates antitumor activity of gemcitabine in an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer through suppression of proliferation, angiogenesis, and inhibition of nuclear factor-κB–regulated gene products. Cancer research 67, no. 8 (2007): 3853-3861.

Notarbartolo, Monica, Paola Poma, Daniela Perri, Luisa Dusonchet, Melchiorre Cervello, and Natale D’Alessandro. Antitumor effects of curcumin, alone or in combination with cisplatin or doxorubicin, on human hepatic cancer cells. Analysis of their possible relationship to changes in NF-kB activation levels and in IAP gene expression. Cancer letters 224, no. 1 (2005): 53-65.

 Ohtsu, Hironori, Zhiyan Xiao, Junko Ishida, Masahiro Nagai, Hui-Kang Wang, Hideji Itokawa, Ching-Yuan Su et al. Antitumor agents. 217. Curcumin analogues as novel androgen receptor antagonists with potential as anti-prostate cancer agents. Journal of medicinal chemistry 45, no. 23 (2002): 5037-5042.

 Rashmi, Ramachandran, Santhosh Kumar, and Devarajan Karunagaran. Ectopic expression of Bcl-XL or Ku70 protects human colon cancer cells (SW480) against curcumin-induced apoptosis while their down-regulation potentiates it. Carcinogenesis 25, no. 10 (2004): 1867-1877.

 Scott, David W., and George Loo. Curcumin-induced GADD153 gene up-regulation in human colon cancer cells. Carcinogenesis 25, no. 11 (2004): 2155-2164.

 Sharma, Ricky A., Heather R. McLelland, Kirsti A. Hill, Christopher R. Ireson, Stephanie A. Euden, Margaret M. Manson, Munir Pirmohamed, Lawrence J. Marnett, Andreas J. Gescher, and William P. Steward. Pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic study of oral Curcuma extract in patients with colorectal cancer. Clinical Cancer Research 7, no. 7 (2001): 1894-1900.

 Singh, Shivendra V., Xun Hu, Sanjay K. Srivastava, Manish Singh, Hong Xia, John L. Orchard, and Howard A. Zaren. Mechanism of inhibition of benzo[a]pyrene-induced for stomach cancer in mice by dietary curcumin. Carcinogenesis 19, no. 8 (1998): 1357-1360.

Van Erk, Marjan J., Eva Teuling, Yvonne CM Staal, Sylvie Huybers, Peter J. Van Bladeren, Jac MMJG Aarts, and Ben Van Ommen. Time-and dose-dependent effects of curcumin on gene expression in human colon cancer cells. Journal of carcinogenesis 3 (2004): 8.

Sharma, Ricky A., Stephanie A. Euden, Sharon L. Platton, Darren N. Cooke, Aisha Shafayat, Heather R. Hewitt, Timothy H. Marczylo et al. Phase I clinical trial of oral curcumin: biomarkers of systemic activity and compliance. Clinical Cancer Research 10, no. 20 (2004): 6847-6854.

Youssef, Khairia M., and Magda A. El‐Sherbeny. Synthesis and antitumor activity of some curcumin analogs. Archiv der Pharmazie: An International Journal Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry 338, no. 4 (2005): 181-189.

Anticoagulant / Antithrombotic Properties

Keihanian, Faeze, Amin Saeidinia, Ramin Khameneh Bagheri, Thomas P. Johnston, and Amirhossein Sahebkar. Curcumin, hemostasis, thrombosis, and coagulation. Journal of cellular physiology 233, no. 6 (2018): 4497-4511.

Kim, Dong-Chan, Sae-Kwang Ku, and Jong-Sup Bae. Anticoagulant activities of curcumin and its derivative. BMB reports 45, no. 4 (2012): 221-226.

Ovbiagele, Bruce. Potential role of curcumin in stroke prevention. Expert review of neurotherapeutics 8, no. 8 (2008): 1175-1176.

Sirisidthi, Kanjana, Piya Kosai, Kanitta Jiraungkoorskul, and Wannee Jiraungkoorskul. Antithrombotic activity of turmeric (Curcuma longa): A review. Indian Journal of Agricultural Research 50, no. 2 (2016).

Cognitive Function

Baum, Larry, Christopher Wai Kei Lam, Stanley Kwok-Kuen Cheung, Timothy Kwok, Victor Lui, Joshua Tsoh, Linda Lam et al. Six-month randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, pilot clinical trial of curcumin in patients with Alzheimer disease. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 28, no. 1 (2008): 110-113.

Baum, Larry, and Alex Ng. Curcumin interaction with copper and iron suggests one possible mechanism of action in Alzheimer’s disease animal models. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease 6, no. 4 (2004): 367-377.

 Begum, Aynun N., Mychica R. Jones, Giselle P. Lim, Takashi Morihara, Peter Kim, Dennis D. Heath, Cheryl L. Rock et al. Curcumin structure-function, bioavailability, and efficacy in models of neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 326, no. 1 (2008): 196-208.

 Garcia‐Alloza, M1, L. A. Borrelli, A. Rozkalne, B. T. Hyman, and B. J. Bacskai. Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, and partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model. Journal of neurochemistry 102, no. 4 (2007): 1095-1104.

 Lim, Giselle P., Teresa Chu, Fusheng Yang, Walter Beech, Sally A. Frautschy, and Greg M. Cole. The curry spice curcumin reduces oxidative damage and amyloid pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic mouse. Journal of Neuroscience 21, no. 21 (2001): 8370-8377.

Ng, Tze-Pin, Peak-Chiang Chiam, Theresa Lee, Hong-Choon Chua, Leslie Lim, and Ee-Heok Kua. Curry consumption and cognitive function in the elderly. American journal of epidemiology 164, no. 9 (2006): 898-906.

 Ringman, John M., Sally A. Frautschy, Edmond Teng, Aynun N. Begum, Jenny Bardens, Maryam Beigi, Karen H. Gylys et al. Oral curcumin for Alzheimer’s disease: tolerability and efficacy in a 24-week randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study. Alzheimer’s research & therapy 4, no. 5 (2012): 43.

Zhang, Laura, Milan Fiala, John Cashman, James Sayre, Araceli Espinosa, Michelle Mahanian, Justin Zaghi et al. Curcuminoids enhance amyloid-β uptake by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease 10, no. 1 (2006): 1-7.


Pashine, Lekhani, J. V. Singh, A. K. Vaish, S. K. Ojha, and A. A. Mahdi. Effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa) on overweight hyperlipidemic subjects: Double blind study. Indian Journal of Community Health 24, no. 2 (2012): 113-117.

 Babu, P. Suresh, and K. Srinivasan. Influence of dietary curcumin and cholesterol on the progression of experimentally induced diabetes in albino rat. Molecular and cellular biochemistry 152, no. 1 (1995): 13-21.

Chemo-protective Properties

Duvoix, Annelyse, Romain Blasius, Sylvie Delhalle, Michaël Schnekenburger, Franck Morceau, Estelle Henry, Mario Dicato, and Marc Diederich. Chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of curcumin. Cancer letters 223, no. 2 (2005): 181-190.

Hsieh, C. Y. Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemopreventive agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anticancer Res 21, no. 2895 (2001): e2900.

 Venkatesan, Narayanan. Curcumin attenuation of acute adriamycin myocardial toxicity in rats. British journal of pharmacology 124, no. 3 (1998): 425-427.

Venkatesan, Narayanan, Durairaj Punithavathi, and Venkatesan Arumugam. Curcumin prevents adriamycin nephrotoxicity in rats. British journal of pharmacology 129, no. 2 (2000): 231-234.

Wang, Ke, Tao Zhang, Lina Liu, Xiaolei Wang, Ping Wu, Zhigang Chen, Chao Ni, Junshu Zhang, Fuqiang Hu, and Jian Huang. Novel micelle formulation of curcumin for enhancing antitumor activity and inhibiting colorectal cancer stem cells. International journal of nanomedicine 7 (2012): 4487.

Tissue Regeneration and Wound Healing

Cheppudira, Bopaiah, Marcie Fowler, Laura McGhee, Angie Greer, Alberto Mares, Lawrence Petz, David Devore, Dayna R. Loyd, and John L. Clifford. Curcumin: a novel therapeutic for burn pain and wound healing. Expert opinion on investigational drugs 22, no. 10 (2013): 1295-1303.

 Chereddy, Kiran Kumar, Régis Coco, Patrick B. Memvanga, Bernard Ucakar, Anne des Rieux, Gaëlle Vandermeulen, and Véronique Préat. Combined effect of PLGA and curcumin on wound healing activity. Journal of controlled release 171, no. 2 (2013): 208-215.

 Gadekar, Radhika, Manoj Kumar Saurabh, Gulab S. Thakur, and Avinash Saurabh. Study of formulation, characterisation and wound healing potential of transdermal patches of curcumin. Asian J Pharm Clin Res 5, no. Suppl 4 (2012): 225.

Jagetia, Ganesh Chandra, and Golgod Krishnamurthy Rajanikant. Acceleration of wound repair by curcumin in the excision wound of mice exposed to different doses of fractionated γ radiation. International wound journal 9, no. 1 (2012): 76-92.

 Kulac, Mustafa, Cevat Aktas, Feti Tulubas, Ramazan Uygur, Mehmet Kanter, Mustafa Erboga, Mehmet Ceber, Birol Topcu, and Oguz Aslan Ozen. The effect of topical treatment with curcumin on burn wound healing in rats. Journal of molecular histology 44, no. 1 (2013): 83-90.

Panchatcharam, Manikandan, Sumitra Miriyala, Vinaya Subramani Gayathri, and Lonchin Suguna. Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. Molecular and cellular biochemistry 290, no. 1-2 (2006): 87-96.

 Singer, Adam J., Steve A. McClain, Alexander Romanov, Jean Rooney, and Tom Zimmerman. Curcumin reduces burn progression in rats. Academic Emergency Medicine 14, no. 12 (2007): 1125-1129.

Thaloor, Deepa, Kristy J. Miller, Jonathan Gephart, Patrick O. Mitchell, and Grace K. Pavlath. Systemic administration of the NF-κB inhibitor curcumin stimulates muscle regeneration after traumatic injury. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology 277, no. 2 (1999): C320-C329.

 Thangapazham, Rajesh L., Anuj Sharma, and Radha K. Maheshwari. Beneficial role of curcumin in skin diseases. In The molecular targets and therapeutic uses of curcumin in health and disease, pp. 343-357. Springer, Boston, MA, 2007.

Anti-Thrombotic Effect; Cardiovascular Protection

Kapakos, Georgia, Viktoria Youreva, and Ashok K. Srivastava. Cardiovascular protection by curcumin: molecular aspects. (2012).

Shukla, Pradeep K., Vinay K. Khanna, Mohd M. Ali, Mohd Y. Khan, and Rikhab C. Srimal. Anti-ischemic effect of curcumin in rat brain. Neurochemical research 33, no. 6 (2008): 1036-1043.

Srivastava, R., M. Dikshit, R. C. Srimal, and B. N. Dhawan. Anti-thrombotic effect of curcumin. Thrombosis research 40, no. 3 (1985): 413-417.