Curcumin, also known as diferuloylmethane, is derived from the plant Curcuma longa and is the active ingredient of the spice turmeric. The therapeutic activities of curcumin for a wide variety of diseases such as diabetes, allergies, arthritis and other chronic and inflammatory diseases have been known for a long time. More recently, curcumin's therapeutic potential for preventing and treating various cancers is being recognized. As curcumin's therapeutic promise is being explored more systematically in various diseases, it has become clear that, due to its increased bioavailability in the gastrointestinal tract, curcumin may be particularly suited to be developed to treat gastrointestinal diseases. This review summarizes some of the current literature of curcumin's anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer potential in inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatic fibrosis and gastrointestinal cancers.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Cancer; Curcumin; Gastrointestinal disease; Inflammation; Inflammatory bowel disease; Liver fibrosis.