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Visit also our Cholesterol, Diabetes, Hypertension and Urinary tract infection (UTI) pages.

See also the Curcumin tincture and - tea pages.


  • Analgesic

  • Anticoagulant

  • Antifertility action

  • Anti - inflammatory

  • Antimicrobial

  • Antineoplastic

  • Antioxidant

  • Antiplatelet aggregator

  • Carminative

  • Cholagogue

  • Emmenagogue

  • Hepatoprotective

  • Hypotensive

  • Increases glutathione content in liver

  • Increases rate limiting step of cholesterol conversion into bile acids

  • Inhibits platelet aggregation

  • Inhibits lymphocytic activity

  • Lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol

  • Stabilizes lysosomal membranes

  • Timulates digestive enzymes

  • Topical antibacterial and antifungal

  • Tumor preventing activity


    Curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin have antioxidant activity. They may also posses anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and hypocholesterolemic activities. The curcuminoids have been found to have a number of antioxidant activities, including scavenging of such reactive oxygen species as superoxide anions and hydrogen peroxide, inhibition of lipid peroxidation and inhibition of the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The reduced derivative of curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, has been found to have even stronger antioxidant activity. Tetrahydrocurcumin may be formed from curcumin following ingestion; but this is unclear. The possible anticarcinogenic activity of curcumin and the other curcuminoids may be accounted for by a few mechanisms. These include inhibition of angiogenesis, upregulation of apoptosis, interference with certain signal transduction pathways that are critical for cell growth and proliferation, inhibition of colonic mucosa cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX) activities and inhibition of farnesyl protein transferase. In addition to its possible activity in preventing malignant transformation and inhibiting tumor growth, curcumin may have antimetastatic potential, as well. In this regard, curcumin has been found to inhibit matrix metalloproteinase-9 in a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line. The possible anticarcinogenic activity of the curcuminoids may be attributed, at least in part, to their ability to inhibit activation of the transcription factors NF-KappaB and AP-1. Curcuminoids have also been found to target the fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) angiogenic signaling pathway and inhibit expression of gelatinase B in the angiogenic process. In the final analysis, the curcuminoids' antioxidant activity may underlie many of the above mechanisms. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can activate AP-1 and NF-KappaB. Further, FGF-2 induces AP-1 activation via ROS produced through NADPH oxidase. The curcuminoids, acting as antioxidants, may interfere with the ability of FGF-2 to stimulate AP-1, and they may generally inhibit the activation of NF-KappaB and AP-1. The possible anti-inflammatory activity of the curcuminoids may also be accounted for by several mechanisms, including inhibition of COX and LOX, reduction of the release of ROS by stimulated neutrophils, inhibition of AP-1 and NF-KappaB, and inhibition of the activation of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF (tumor necrosis factor) -alpha and IL (interleukin)-1 beta. Curcumin has modest anti HIV-1 activity. It has been found to inhibit HIV-1 and HIV-2 proteases, HIV-1 LTR (long terminal repeat)-directed gene expression, Tat-mediated transactivation of HIV-1-LTR and HIV-1 integrase. All of these actions have been demonstrated in vitro. There is no evidence that curcumin or the other curcuminoids significantly inhibit the replication of HIV-1 in vivo. The mechanism of the possible hypocholesterolemic effect of the curcuminoids is unclear. The pharmacokinetics of the curcuminoids remain only partly understood. Of the curcuminoids, curcumin has been most studied, mainly in animals. Curcumin is poorly absorbed following ingestion in mice and rats. In these animals, 38 to 75% of an ingested dose is excreted directly in the feces. Absorption appears to be better with food. In mice, the major metabolites of curcumin are curcumin glucuronoside, dihydrocurcumin glucuronoside, tetrahydrocurcumin glucuronoside and tetrahydrocurcumin. These metabolites are formed in the liver. Animal studies and the pharmacokinetics of curcumin are continuing. Human pharmacokinetic studies are needed.


    The rhizomes contain curcuminoids, curcumin, demethoxy curcumin, bis- demethoxycurcumin, 5'- methoxycurcumin and dihydrocurcumin which are found to be natural anti-oxidants. A new curcuminoid, cyclocurcumin, was isolated from the nematocidally active fraction of turmeric. The fresh rhizomes also contain two nnatural phenolics which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and also two new pigments. Several sesquiterpenes, germacrone, turmerone, ar-(+)-, a-, - turmerones; - bisabolene; a-curcumene; zingiberene; - sesquiphellandene, bisacurone; curcumenone; dehydrocurdione; procurcumadiol; bis-acumol; curcumenol; isoprocurcumenol epiprocurcumenol; procurcumenol; zedoaronediol; curlone; and turmeronol A and turmeronol B, have been recorded from the rhizomes. The rhizomes also contain four polysaccharides-ukonans - having activity on the Reticuloendothelial system, along with stigmasterol, -sitosterol, cholesterol and 2-hydroxymethyl anthraquinone


    *Amer. Assn. for Cancer Res., 150 S. Independence Mall W., Phila., PA 19106-3483, at their 89th Annual Meeting, March-April l998. **Khafis, Kim, Schantz & Sachs, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, N.Y. ***Singletary & MacDonald, Dept. of Food Science & Nutrition, U. of Ill. Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801 ****Plummer, Verschoyle & Gescher, Centre for Mechanisms of Human Toxicity & the MRC Toxicology Unit, U. of Leicester, Leicester, UK. *****Reddy, Kelloff et al., of the Amer. Health Found., Valhalla, N.Y. 10595, & the Nat'l Cancer Inst., Bethesda, Md 1. Aggarwal B., Kumar A., and Bharti A. Anticancer Potential of Curcumin: Preclinical and Clinical Studies. Anticancer Research (2003) Jan.-Feb.; 23(1A): pp. 363-398. 2. Choudhuri T., Pal S., et. al. Curcumin Induces Apoptosis in Human Breast Cancer Cells Through p53-Dependent Bax Induction. FEBS Letters (2002) Feb. 13; 512(1-3): pp. 334-340. 3. Reddy B.S. and Rao C.V. Novel Approaches for Colon Cancer Prevention by Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitors. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol (2002); 21(2): pp. 155-164. 4. Verma S.P., Goldin B.R., and Lin P.S. The Inhibition of the Estrogenic Effects of Pesticides and Environmental Chemicals by Curcumin and Isoflavonoids. Environ Health Perspect (1998) Dec.; 106(12): pp. 807-812. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Public Health Statement. Chlordane. Can be accessed at Anonymous. 1997. Antiproliferative effects of curcumin and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) on normal and premalignant human oral epithelial cells (Meeting abstract). Proc Annu Meet Am Assoc Cancer Res 38:A1755. Antony S, et al. 1999. Immunomodulatory activity of curcumin. Immunol Invest 28:291-303. Anto RJ, et al. 2000. L-929 cells harboring ectopically expressed Rela resist curcumin-induced apoptosis. J Biol Chem 275(21):15601-4. Chlordane found in foods decades after pesticide use. Press release of the American Chemical Society, May 2, 2000. Chuang SE, et al. 2000. Curcumin-containing diet inhibits diethylnitrosamine-induced murine hepatocarcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis 21:331-35. Churchill M, et al. 2000. Inhibition of intestinal tumors by curcumin is associated with changes in the intestinal immune cell profile. J Surg Res 89:169-75. Ciolino HP, et al. 1998. Effect of curcumin on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and cytochrome p450 1A1 in MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells. Biochem Pharmacol 56:197-06. Dow Brand Dioxin: Dow makes you poison great things. J Weinberg, ed. Greenpeace report. Elattar TM, et al. 2000. The inhibitory effect of curcumin, genistein, quercetin and cisplatin on the growth of oral cancer cells in vitro. Anticancer Res 20(3A):1733-38. Incorvia Mattina MJ, et al. 2000. Chlordane uptake and its translocation in food crops. J Agric Food Chem 48:1909-15. Jobin C, et al. 1999. Curcumin blocks cytokine-mediated NF-kappa B activation and proinflammatory gene expression by inhibiting inhibitory factor I-kappa B kinase activity. J Immunol 163:3474-83. Kawamori T, et al. 1999. Chemopreventive effect of curcumin, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agent, during the promotion/progression stages of colon cancer. Cancer Res 59:597-601. Korutla L, et al. 1995. Inhibition of ligand-induced activation of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine phosphorylation by curcumin. Carcinogenesis 16:1741-5. Lertratanangkoon K, et al. 1997. Increase of unmethylated CpG sites in genomic DNA by glutathione-depleting agent (Meeting abstract). Proc Annu Meet Am Assoc Cancer Res 38:A1205. Lertratanangkoon K, et al. 1999. Inhibition of glutathione synthesis with proppargylglycine enhances N-acetylmethionine protection and methylation in bromobenzene-treated Syrian hamsters. J Nutr 129:649-56. Lin LI, et al. 1998. Curcumin inhibits SK-Hep-1 hepatocellular carcinoma cell invasion in vitro and suppresses matrix metalloproteinase-9 secretion. Oncology 55:349-53. Liu JY, et al. 1993. Inhibitory effects of curcumin on protein kinase C activity induced by 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate in NIH 3Td cells. Carcinogenesis 14:857-61. Mexico moves to phase out DDT and chlordane. 1997. Env Health Persp 105(8). Mohan R, et al. 2000. Curcuminoids inhibit the angiogenic response stimulated by fibroblast growth factor-2, including expression of matrix metalloproteinase gelatinase B. J Biol Chem 275(14):10405-12. Munzenmaier A, et al. 1997. A secreted/shed product of Helicobacter pylori activates transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B. J Immunol 159:6140-47. Park EJ, et al. 2000. Protective effect of curcumin in rat liver injury induced by carbon tetrachloride. J Pharm Pharmacol 52:437-40. Pendurthi UR, et al. 1997. Inhibition of tissue factor gene activation in cultured endothelial cells by curcumin. Suppression of activation of transcription factors Egr-1, AP-1, and NF-kappa B. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 17:3406-13. Sharma A, et al. 2000. Spice extracts as dose-modifying factors in radiation inactivation of bacteria. J Agric Food Chem 48:1340-44. Simon A, et al. 1998. Inhibitory effect of curcuminoids on MCF-7 cell proliferation and structure-activity relationships. Cancer Lett 129:111-16. Venkatesan N. 2000. Pulmonary protective effects of curcumin against paraquat toxicity. Life Sci 66(2):PL21-28. Verma SP, et al. 1997. Curcumin and genistein, plant natural products, show synergistic inhibitory effects on the growth of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells induced by estrogenic pesticides. Biochem Biphy Res Comm 233:692-96. Verma SP, et al. 1998. The inhibition of the estrogenic effects of pesticides and environmental chemicals by curcumin and isoflavonoids. Environ Health Perpect 106:807-12. Curcumin References 1. Sinha R, Anderson DE, McDonald SS, Greenwald P. "Cancer risk and diet in India." J Postgrad Med. 2003 Jul-Sep;49(3):222-228. 2. Shim JS, Kim JH, Cho HY, Yum YN, Kim SH, Park HJ, Shim BS, Choi SH, Kwon HJ. "Irreversible inhibition of CD13/aminopeptidase N by the antiangiogenic agent Curcumin." Chem Biol. 2003 Aug;10(8):695-704. 3. Aggarwal BB, Kumar A, Bharti AC. "Anticancer potential of Curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies." Anticancer Res. 2003 Jan-Feb;23(1A):363-98. 4. Cheng Y, Li HL, Wang HF, Sun HF, Liu YF, Peng SX, Liu KX, Guo ZY. "Inhibition of nicotine-DNA adduct formation in mice by six dietary constituents." Food Chem Toxicol. 2003 Jul;41(7):1045-50. Online 5. Chen YS, Ho CC, Cheng KC, Tyan YS, Hung CF, Tan TW, Chung JG. "Curcumin inhibited the arylamines N-acetyltransferase activity, gene expression and DNA adduct formation in human lung cancer cells (A549)." Toxicol In Vitro. 2003 Jun;17(3):323-33. 6. Corpet DE, Pierre F Point: From animal models to prevention of colon cancer. Systematic review of chemoprevention in min mice and choice of the model system. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 May;12(5):401-4. 7. Vietri M, Pietrabissa A, Mosca F, Spisni R, Pacifici GM. "Curcumin is a potent inhibitor of phenol sulfotransferase (SULT1A1) in human liver and extrahepatic tissues." Xenobiotica. 2003 Apr;33(4):357-63. 8. "Prostate Cancer." Mayo Clinic. Online 9. Chaudhary LR, Hruska KA. "Inhibition of cell survival signal protein kinase B/Akt by Curcumin in human prostate cancer cells." J Cell Biochem. 2003 May 1;89(1):1-5. 10. Deeb D, Xu YX, Jiang H, Gao X, Janakiraman N, Chapman RA, Gautam SC. "Curcumin (diferuloyl-methane) enhances tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand-induced apoptosis in LNCaP prostate cancer cells." Mol Cancer Ther. 2003 Jan;2(1):95-103. 11. Dorai T, Gehani N, Katz A. "Therapeutic potential of Curcumin in human prostate cancer-I. Curcumin induces apoptosis in both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells." Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2000 Aug;3(2):84-93. 12. Ishida J, Ohtsu H, Tachibana Y, Nakanishi Y, Bastow KF, Nagai M, Wang HK, Itokawa H, Lee KH. "Antitumor agents. Part 214: synthesis and evaluation of curcumin analogues as cytotoxic agents." Bioorg Med Chem. 2002 Nov;10(11):3481-7. 13. Shao ZM, Shen ZZ, Liu CH, Sartippour MR, Go VL, Heber D, Nguyen M. "Curcumin exerts multiple suppressive effects on human breast carcinoma cells." Int J Cancer. 2002 Mar 10;98(2):234-40. 14. Chauhan DP. "Chemotherapeutic potential of Curcumin for colorectal cancer." Curr Pharm Des. 2002;8(19):1695-706 15. Reddy BS, Rao CV. "Novel approaches for colon cancer prevention by cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors." J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2002;21(2):155-64. 16. Venkatesan N, Punithavathi D, Arumugam V. "Curcumin prevents adriamycin nephrotoxicity in rats." Br J Pharmacol. 2000 Jan;129(2):231-4. 17. Park SY, Kim DS. "Discovery of natural products from Curcuma longa that protect cells from beta-amyloid insult: a drug discovery effort against Alzheimer's disease." J Nat Prod. 2002 Sep;65(9):1227-31. 18. Frautschy SA, Hu W, Kim P, Miller SA, Chu T, Harris-White ME, Cole GM. "Phenolic anti-inflammatory antioxidant reversal of Abeta-induced cognitive deficits and neuropathology." Neurobiol Aging. 2001 Nov-Dec;22(6):993-1005. 19. Lim GP, Chu T, Yang F, Beech W, Frautschy SA, Cole GM. "The curry spice Curcumin reduces oxidative damage and amyloid pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic mouse." J Neurosci. 2001 Nov 1;21(21):8370-7. 20. Vlietinck AJ, De Bruyne T, Apers S, Pieters LA.Plant-derived leading compounds for chemotherapy of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Planta Med. 1998 Mar;64(2):97-109. 21. Jordan WC, Drew CR. "Curcumin--a natural herb with anti-HIV activity." J Natl Med Assoc. 1996 Jun;88(6):333. 22. Mazumder A, Raghavan K, Weinstein J, Kohn KW, Pommier Y. "Inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 integrase by Curcumin." Biochem Pharmacol. 1995 Apr 18;49(8):1165-70. 23. Niederau C, Gopfert E. "The effect of chelidonium- and turmeric root extract on upper abdominal pain due to functional disorders of the biliary system. Results from a placebo-controlled double-blind study" Med Klin (Munich). 1999 Aug 15;94(8):425-30. 24. Awasthi S, Srivatava SK, Piper JT, Singhal SS, Chaubey M, Awasthi YC. "Curcumin protects against 4-hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal-induced cataract formation in rat lenses." Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Nov;64(5):761-6. 25. Rithaporn T, Monga M, Rajasekaran M. "Curcumin: a potential vaginal contraceptive." Contraception. 2003 Sep;68(3):219-23. 26. Natarajan C, Bright JJ. "Curcumin inhibits experimental allergic encephalomyelitis by blocking IL-12 signaling through Janus kinase-STAT pathway in T lymphocytes." J Immunol. 2002 Jun 15;168(12):6506-13. 27. Banerjee M, Tripathi LM, Srivastava VM, Puri A, Shukla R. "Modulation of inflammatory mediators by ibuprofen and curcumin treatment during chronic inflammation in rat." Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2003 May;25(2):213-24. 28. Kandarkar SV, Sawant SS, Ingle AD, et al. Subchronic oral hepatotoxicity of turmeric in mice--histopathological and ultrastructural studies. Indian J Exp Biol. 1998 Jul;36(7):675-679. 29. Babu PS, et al. Hypolipidemic action of curcumin, the active principle of turmeric (Curcuma longa) in streptozocin induced diabetic rats. Mol Cell Biochem. 1997;166:169-175. 30. Aggarwal BB, Kumar A, Bharti AC. "Anticancer potential of Curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies." Anticancer Res. 2003 Jan-Feb;23(1A):363-98. 31. Chainani-Wu N. "Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of Curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa)." J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8. 32. Soni KB, Kuttan R. Effect of oral curcumin administration on serum peroxides and cholesterol levels in human volunteers. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992 Oct;36(4):273-5. 33. Ramirez-Tortosa MC, Mesa MD,, Oral administration of turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1999 Dec; 147 (2):371-8. 34. Ramirez-Bosca A, Soler A,, An hydroalcoholic extract of curcuma longa lowers the apo B/apo A ratio - Implications for atherogenesis prevention.

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