Curcumin, the phytochemical component in turmeric, is used as a dietary spice and a topical ointment for the treatment of inflammation in India for centuries. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is relatively insoluble in water, but dissolves in acetone, dimethylsulphoxide, and ethanol. Commercial grade curcumin contains 10-20% curcuminoids, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdesmethoxycurcumin and they are as effective as pure curcumin. Based on a number of clinical studies in carcinogenesis, a daily oral dose of 3.6 g curcumin has been efficacious for colorectal cancer and advocates its advancement into Phase II clinical studies. In addition to the anticancer effects, curcumin has been effective against a variety of disease conditions in both in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies. The present review highlights the importance of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent and suggests that the beneficial effect of curcumin is mediated by the upregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) activation.