Curcuma as a functional food in the control of cancer and inflammation

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Nov;14(6):588-97. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834bfe94.


Purpose of review: Several nutritional compounds are the focus of public attention because of their potential beneficial health effects. Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root Curcuma longa. Extensive research over the past half century and especially in recent years has revealed important functions of curcumin and a timely review of clinical state-of-the-art using curcumin.

Recent findings: In-vitro and in-vivo research has shown various activities, such as anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, cytokines release, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, enhancing of the apoptotic process, and antiangiogenic properties. Curcumin also have been shown to be a mediator of chemo-resistance and radio-resistance.

Summary: Various in-vitro and in-vivo and scarce number of clinical studies on curcumin were identified. The various effects and properties of curcumin are summarized in this review, including preclinical and especially clinical studies. This review concentrates on recent knowledge and research with curcumin clinical applications, and clinical studies, focusing on studies published between 2008 and 2011 demonstrating the gap between preclinical and clinical research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Curcuma / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Functional Food*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Models, Animal
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Spices


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Curcumin