Technical Information
Medicinal Properties
Alzheimer's Disease
Cancer (in general)
Cancer (colon/bladder)
Cancer (lung)
Cancer (ovary/breast)


Curcumin is a yellow-orange polyphenol. In its usual form it is a dry yellow powder that is oil-soluble. Curcumin is without flavor and aroma. Its strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics are its most obvious medicinal properties.

Curcumin is derived from the root of the Curcuma Longa plant first by drying and powdering, to create the spice called Turmeric, then by a solvent extraction. The resulting powder is 18 times stronger in the essential ingredients than is the common spice.

Research on Curcumin has been focused on Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Cancer and Diabetes. In laboratory experiments on rodents, Curcumin can break up the Alzheimer's amyloid-beta polymers, suppress arthritic inflammation, induce apoptosis in some cancer types and improve insulin sensitivity. Human trials of Curcumin for some illnesses are underway.


Technical Information:

  • Chemical Formula: C21H20O6
  • Molecular Weight: 368.38
  • Curcumin has both metabolites and catabolites. When measuring "bioavailability" both should be considered:
    • Metabolites: Curcumin-sulphate, Curcumin-glucuronide.
    • Catabolites: Vanillic acid and Ferulic acid.
  • Three Molecular Forms: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin.
  • Molecular structure: it is a dimer of vanillin (2 molecules of vanillin conjoined).
    molecule of curcumin
    molecular structure of curcumin
  • Synonyms:
    • Turmeric Extract
    • Regional Names: Haldi (North India); Munjal (South India); Kunyit (Indonesia); Huang Jiang (China); Al-kurkum (Arabia)
    • Food Color E100
    • diferuloylmethane
    • 1,7-Bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione

Medicinal Properties:

  • anti-oxidant;
  • arthritis: anti-inflammatory effects, possibly inhibits something in the pathway of Cox-2 but not Cox-2 itself; not only does it not cause ulcers but is currently being used experimentally as a treatment for ulcers in western countries.
  • anti-Alzheimer's: inhibits formation of, and breaks down, Amyloid-beta oligomers (fibres) and aggregates in rodents;
  • anti-platelet;
  • anti-cancer effects: causes apoptosis in various cancer cell types including skin, colon, forestomach, duodenum and ovary in the laboratory; we await clinical trials in humans;
  • anti: -viral, -fungal, -bacterial effects (inhibits Helicobacter Pylori);
  • anti-diabetic effects in rodents; we await clinical trials in humans.

Quotations from Research Articles on Curcumin

Alzheimer's Disease

Article 1: "Alzheimer's disease (AD) involves amyloid (Abeta) accumulation, oxidative damage and inflammation ... The phenolic yellow curry pigment curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and can suppress oxidative damage, inflammation, cognitive deficits, and amyloid accumulation. ... When fed to aged Tg2576 mice with advanced amyloid accumulation, curcumin labeled plaques and reduced amyloid levels and plaque burden. Hence, curcumin directly binds small ss-amyloid species to block aggregation and fibril formation in vitro and in vivo. These data suggest that low dose curcumin effectively disaggregates Ass as well as prevents fibril and oligomer formation, supporting the rationale for curcumin's use in clinical trials preventing or treating AD."

J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 7; Curcumin inhibits formation of Abeta oligomers and fibrils and binds plaques and reduces amyloid in vivo. Yang F, Lim GP, Begum AN, Ubeda OJ, Simmons MR, Ambegaokar SS, Chen PP, Kayed R, Glabe CG, Frautschy SA, Cole GM. GRECC (VA Medical) and Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, North Hills, CA 91343.

Article 2: "... we examined the effects of curcumin (Cur) and rosmarinic acid (RA) on the formation, extension, and destabilization of fAbeta(1-40) and fAbeta(1-42) at pH 7.5 at 37 degrees C in vitro. ... Cur and RA dose-dependently inhibited fAbeta formation from Abeta(1-40) and Abeta(1-42), as well as their extension. In addition, they dose-dependently destabilized preformed fAbetas. ... Although the mechanism by which Cur and RA inhibit fAbeta formation from Abeta and destabilize preformed fAbeta in vitro remains unclear, they could be a key molecule for the development of therapeutics for AD."

J Neurosci Res. 2004 Mar 15;75(6):742-50. Curcumin has potent anti-amyloidogenic effects for Alzheimer's beta-amyloid fibrils in vitro. Ono K, Hasegawa K, Naiki H, Yamada M. Department of Neurology and Neurobiology of Aging, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa, Japan.


Article 1: "OBJECTIVE: Curcumin and quercetin are antioxidant molecules with anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities. The objective of this study was to investigate the inhibitory activity of these agents using four assays of inflammatory aspects of arthritis... RESULTS: Both agents inhibited neutrophil activation, synoviocyte proliferation and angiogenesis. Curcumin strongly inhibited collagenase and stromelysin expression at micromolar concentrations whereas quercetin had no effect in this assay. CONCLUSION: These studies suggest that curcumin and to a lesser extent quercetin may offer therapeutic potential for the treatment of crystal-induced arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis."

Inflamm Res. 2006 Apr;55(4):168-75. The antioxidants curcumin and quercetin inhibit inflammatory processes associated with arthritis. Jackson JK, Higo T, Hunter WL, Burt HM. Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2146 East Mall, Vancouver BC, Canada V6T 1Z3.

Article 2: "The cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) has recently emerged as a crucial factor in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ... Curcumin and caffeic acid were found to be the most potent inhibitors, exhibiting IC(50) values in the submicromolar range in the ketonase assay. ... Our results reveal MIF as a possible target for the herbal anti-rheumatic agents."

Int Immunopharmacol. 2005 May;5(5):849-56. Epub 2005 Jan 27. Plant-derived anti-inflammatory compounds affect MIF tautomerase activity Molnar V, Garai J. Department of Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Pecs, 12, Szigeti Str. H-7624 Pecs, Hungary.

Cancer (general)

Article 1: "Curcumin, a natural product isolated from the spice turmeric, has been shown to exhibit a wide range of pharmacological activities including certain anti-cancer properties. It has been specifically shown to be an effective inhibitor of angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo."

Bioorg Med Chem. 2005 Jun 2;13(12):4007-13. Synthesis and biological evaluation of aromatic enones related to curcumin. Robinson TP, Hubbard RB 4th, Ehlers TJ, Arbiser JL, Goldsmith DJ, Bowen JP. Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.

Article 2: " ... Curcumin, one of the most studied chemopreventive agents, is a natural compound extracted from Curcuma longa L. that allows suppression, retardation or inversion of carcinogenesis. Curcumin is also described as an anti-tumoral, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent capable of inducing apoptosis in numerous cellular systems. ..."

Cancer Lett. 2005 Jun 8;223(2):181-90. Chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of curcumin. Duvoix A, Blasius R, Delhalle S, Schnekenburger M, Morceau F, Henry E, Dicato M, Diederich M. Laboratoire de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire du Cancer, Hopital Kirchberg, 9, rue Edward Steichen, L-2540 Luxembourg, Luxembourg.

Cancer (colon and bladder)

Article 1: "The effects of curcumin on the growth of human colon cancer cell lines, HT-29 and WiDr cells were examined ... RESULTS: Curcumin inhibited the growth of HT-29 and WiDr cells in a dose-dependent fashion."

Korean J Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr;45(4):277-84. [The inhibitory effect of curcumin on the growth of human colon cancer cells (HT-29, WiDr) in vitro] [Article in Korean] Kim KH, Park HY, Nam JH, Park JE, Kim JY, Park MI, Chung KO, Park KY, Koo JY. Department of Internal Medicine, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan 602-702, Korea.

Article 2: "OBJECTIVE: To observe the effect of curcumin on bladder cancer cell line EJ in vitro. ... CONCLUSIONS: Curcumin can suppress the growth, induce apoptosis of bladder cancer EJ cell in vitro. Its mechanism is related with down-regulations of the expressions of NF-kappaB and Cyclin D1. Curcumin has great potential for the treatment of bladder cancer."

Zhong Yao Cai. 2004 Nov;27(11):848-50. [The effect of curcumin on bladder cancer cell line EJ in vitro] [Article in Chinese] Sun M, Yang Y, Li H, Su B, Lu Y, Wei Q, Fan T. Department of Urology of Westchina Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu.

Cancer (lung)

Article 1: "OBJECTIVE: To investigate the mechanism of anti-tumor effects of curcumin on human lung cancer cell (A549). ... CONCLUSION: Curcumin can interfere with cell growth cycle of A549 cell and suppress cell growth. The suppression effect is concentration dependent. ..."

Zhong Yao Cai. 2004 Dec;27(12):923-7. Research of anti-proliferation of curcumin on A549 human lung cancer cells and its mechanism Zhang J, Qi H, Wu C. Respiratory Department of Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi' an.

Cancer (ovary/breast)

Article 1: "OBJECTIVE: To study the suppressive effects of curcumin on breast carcinoma cells and the mechanism. ... RESULTS: Curcumin inhibits the proliferation in both estrogen receptor (ER) positive MCF-7 cells and ER negative MDA-MB-231 cells. ... CONCLUSION: Curcumin exerts multiple suppressive effects on breast carcinoma cells; it's mechanism of chemoprevention is pleiotropic."

Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2003 Oct 25;83(20):1764-8. Analysis of anti-proliferation of curcumin on human breast cancer cells and its mechanism. Di GH, Li HC, Shen ZZ, Shao ZM. Breast Surgery Department of Cancer Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China.

Article 2: "To study the growth-inhibitory effects of curcumin on human ovary cancer A2780 cells in vitro and its molecular mechanisms, ... After being treated by various concentrations of Curcumin, the growth of cancer ... was inhibited significantly. Some cancer cells presented characteristic morphological changes of apoptosis. ... It was concluded that Curcumin could significantly inhibit the growth of ovary cancer cells. The induction of apoptosis by down-regulating the expression of bcl-2 and p53 was probably one of its molecular mechanisms."

J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2004;24(1):55-8. Growth-inhibitory effects of curcumin on ovary cancer cells and its mechanisms. Zheng L, Tong Q, Wu C. Department of Pathology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022.


Article 1: "... We tested the hypothesis that the plant polyphenolic compound curcumin, which is known to exert potent antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects, would ameliorate diabetes and inflammation in murine models of insulin-resistant obesity. We found that Curcumin admixture ameliorated diabetes in high-fat diet-induced obese and leptin-deficient ob/ob male C57BL/6J mice as determined by glucose and insulin tolerance testing and hemoglobin A1c percentages. Curcumin treatment also significantly reduced macrophage infiltration of white adipose tissue, increased adipose tissue adiponectin production, and decreased hepatic nuclear factor-kappaB activity, hepatomegaly, and markers of hepatic inflammation. We therefore conclude that orally ingested curcumin reverses many of the inflammatory and metabolic derangements associated with obesity and improves glycemic control in mouse models of type 2 diabetes. ..."

Endocrinology. 2008 Jul;149(7):3549-58. Dietary curcumin significantly improves obesity-associated inflammation and diabetes in mouse models of diabesity. Weisberg SP, Leibel R, Tortoriello DV. Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion, Columbia University Medical Center, 1150 St. Nicholas Avenue, Room 620, New York, New York 10032.


Article 1: "Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) inhibits tumour cell growth by inducing apoptosis in many tumour types, including melanoma, via complex and ill-defined pathways. ... Curcumin induced melanoma cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, ... Our results demonstrate that Curcumin arrested cell growth at the G(2)/M phase and induced apoptosis in human melanoma cells by inhibiting NFkappaB activation and thus depletion of endogenous nitric oxide. Therefore, Curcumin should be considered further as a potential therapy for patients with melanoma."

Melanoma Res. 2004 Jun;14(3):165-71. Inhibition of nuclear factor-kappaB and nitric oxide by curcumin induces G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human melanoma cells. Zheng M, Ekmekcioglu S, Walch ET, Tang CH, Grimm EA. Department of Bioimmunotherapy, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Old Herbs - New Science

Ananain and Comosain (from Pineapple stem)

Cinnamon Extract

Curcuma Longa


Ficain (from Fig Trees)

Licorice Root Extract

Petty Spurge and Euphorbia Peplus

Rosmarinic Acid (from Rosemary, Sage)

Spanish Sage

Turmeric Extract

Vineatrol (from Grapevine shoots)

Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha)

Withanolide (from Ashwagandha)

Zerumbone (from Ginger)
This website acknowledges Pubmed ( as source for medical research abstracts.

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