Curcumin, a yellow pigment and principal polyphenolic Curcuminoid obtained from the turmeric rhizome Curcuma longa, is commonly used as a food-coloring agent. Studies suggest that curcumin has a wide range of beneficial properties e.g., anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-proliferative, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. These pleiotropic activities prompted several research groups to elucidate the role of curcumin in Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. This is the first review with this heading where we discussed regarding the role of curcumin as an anti-H. pylori agent along with its potential in other gastrointestinal diseases. Based on several in vitro, early cell culture, animal research and few pre-clinical trials, curcumin projected as a potential therapeutic candidate against H. pylori mediated gastric pathogenesis. This review sheds light on the anti-H. pylori effects of curcumin in different models with meticulous emphasis on its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects as well as some critical signaling and effecter molecules. Remarkably, non-toxic molecule curcumin fulfills the characteristics for an ideal chemopreventive agent against H. pylori mediated gastric carcinogenesis but the foremost challenge is to obtain the optimum therapeutic levels of curcumin, due to its low solubility and poor bioavailability. Further, we have discussed about the possibilities for improving its efficacy and bioavailability. Lastly, we concluded with the anticipation that in near future curcumin may be used to develop a therapeutic drug against H. pylori mediated gastric ailments through improved formulation or delivery systems, facilitating its enhanced absorption and cellular uptake.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Anti-oxidant; Curcumin; Duodenal ulcer; Gastric cancer; Helicobacter pylori; Nuclear factor-κB.