Curcuminoids, curcumin and its structurally related compounds, constitute the phenolic yellowish pigment of turmeric. We investigated the absorption and metabolism of orally administered curcuminoids (curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) in rats. HPLC and LC-MS analyses after enzymatic hydrolyses showed that the predominant metabolites in plasma following administration were glucuronides and glucuronide/sulfates (conjugates with both glucuronide and sulfate) of curcuminoids. The plasma concentrations of conjugated curcuminoids reached a maximum one hour after administration. The conjugative enzyme activities for glucuronidation and sulfation of curcumin were found in liver, kidney and intestinal mucosa. These results indicate that orally administered curcuminoids are absorbed from the alimentary tract and present in the general blood circulation after largely being metabolized to the form of glucuronide and glucuronide/sulfate conjugates.