Protection from acute and chronic lung diseases by curcumin

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007:595:379-405. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_17.


The aim of this review has been to describe the current state of the therapeutic potential of curcumin in acute and chronic lung injuries. Occupational and environmental exposures to mineral dusts, airborne pollutants, cigarette smoke, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy injure the lungs, resulting in acute and chronic inflammatory lung diseases. Despite major advances in treating lung diseases, until now disease-modifying efficacy has not been demonstrated for any of the existing drugs. Current medical therapy offers only marginal benefit; therefore, there is an essential need to develop new drugs that might be of effective benefit in clinical settings. Over the years, there has been increasing evidence that curcumin, a phytochemical present in turmeric (Curcuma longa), has a wide spectrum of therapeutic properties and a remarkable range of protective effects in various diseases. Several experimental animal models have tested curcumin on lung fibrosis and these studies demonstrate that curcumin attenuates lung injury and fibrosis caused by radiation, chemotherapeutic drugs, and toxicants. The growing amount of data from pharmacological and animal studies also supports the notion that curcumin plays a protective role in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and allergic asthma, its therapeutic action being on the prevention or modulation of inflammation and oxidative stress. These findings give substance to the possibility of testing curcumin in patients with lung diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / therapy
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Protective Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Protective Agents
  • Curcumin