Chemical Composition and Biological Activities of Essential Oils of Curcuma Species

Nutrients. 2018 Sep 1;10(9):1196. doi: 10.3390/nu10091196.


Members of the genus Curcuma L. have been used in traditional medicine for centuries for treating gastrointestinal disorders, pain, inflammatory conditions, wounds, and for cancer prevention and antiaging, among others. Many of the biological activities of Curcuma species can be attributed to nonvolatile curcuminoids, but these plants also produce volatile chemicals. Essential oils, in general, have shown numerous beneficial effects for health maintenance and treatment of diseases. Essential oils from Curcuma spp., particularly C. longa, have demonstrated various health-related biological activities and several essential oil companies have recently marketed Curcuma oils. This review summarizes the volatile components of various Curcuma species, the biological activities of Curcuma essential oils, and potential safety concerns of Curcuma essential oils and their components.

Keywords: Curcuma aeruginosa; Curcuma glans; Curcuma longa; Curcuma mangga; Curcuma zanthorrhiza; Curcuma zedoaria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Curcuma / classification*
  • Humans
  • Oils, Volatile / analysis*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Oils, Volatile / toxicity
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • Plant Oils / analysis*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / toxicity
  • Plants, Medicinal


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils