Turmeric (Curcuma longa rhizomes), commonly used as a spice is well documented for its medicinal properties in Indian and Chinese systems of medicine. It has been widely used for the treatment of several diseases. Epidemiological observations, though inconclusive, are suggestive that turmeric consumption may reduce the risk of some form of cancers and render other protective biological effects in humans. These biological effects of turmeric have been attributed to its constituent curcumin that has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic, anti-oxidant, wound healing and anti-cancer effects. As a result of extensive epidemiological, clinical, and animal studies several molecular mechanisms are emerging that elucidate multiple biological effects of curcumin. This review summarizes the most interesting in vitro and in vivo studies on the biological effects of curcumin.