Curcumin: a boon to colonic diseases

Curr Drug Targets. 2013 Sep;14(10):1210-8. doi: 10.2174/13894501113149990168.


Curcumin, a natural polyphenolic compound present in turmeric, exhibited multiple pharmacological activities. Extensive studies in last two decade suggested that curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, anti-amyloid, antiarthritic and antioxidant properties. The mechanism for these effects involves modulation of several signaling transduction pathways. Various clinical studies have suggested that curcumin might be a potential candidate for the prevention and/or treatment of a variety of colonic diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and colonic cancer. However, several evidences suggested the role of curcumin in multiple diseases, but the major challenge is to obtain optimum therapeutic levels of curcumin due to its low solubility and poor bioavailability. Improved absorption and cellular uptake of curcumin can be achieved through alteration in formulation properties and novel approaches in delivery systems. This review presents an overview of the background of curcumin, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, clinical evidence in chemoprevention of bowel diseases and recent approaches to deliver curcumin for improved cellular uptake and bioavailability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Biological Availability
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Colonic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Curcumin / pharmacokinetics
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Curcumin