Clinical safety and efficacy of curcumin use for oral lichen planus: a systematic review

J Dermatolog Treat. 2019 Sep;30(6):605-611. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2018.1543849. Epub 2018 Nov 28.


Objective: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a relatively common immunological mucocutaneous disease that causes pain and poor quality of life. Curcumin has been reported to be a safe and effective treatment for OLP. The objective of this review is to evaluate the existing evidence for the safety of curcumin in treating OLP as well as its efficacy compared with that of corticosteroids. Methods: We reviewed the published literature by searching PubMed, EMBASE, EBSCO, and Cochrane Library, and then retrieved and analyzed several variables from patient records. Results: Nine studies met the inclusion criteria, including six randomized, double-blind clinical trials; two pilot clinical trials; and one case report. A total of 259 OLP patients were included in the systematic review. Seven studies showed statistically significant differences in pain severity and clinical appearance of oral lesions after treatment with curcumin for a period of time, compared to baseline (p < .05). Three controlled clinical trials compared the efficacy of curcumin to that of corticosteroids; all of these trials showed no statistically significant differences in pain severity and clinical appearance of oral lesions. Conclusions: Curcumin is a safe treatment and can be used as an adjunct in combination with corticosteroids to reduce pain, burning sensations, and the clinical appearance of oral lesions in OLP patients.

Keywords: Turmeric; curcumin; curcuminoids; oral lichen planus.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Curcumin / adverse effects
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Lichen Planus, Oral / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Curcumin