Curcumin, a yellow pigment from the spice turmeric, is used in Indian and Chinese medicine since ancient times for wide range of diseases. Extensive scientific research on this molecule performed over the last 3 to 4 decades has proved its potential as an important pharmacological agent. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and chemopreventive activities of curcumin have been extended to explore this molecule against many chronic diseases with promising results. Further, its multitargeting ability and nontoxic nature to humans even up to 12 g/day have attracted scientists to explore this as an anticancer agent in the clinic, which is in different phases of trials. With much more scope to be investigated and understood, curcumin becomes one of the very few inexpensive botanical molecules with potent therapeutic abilities.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Anticancer; Antioxidant; Curcumin; Polyphenol; Turmeric.