Efficacy of curcumin for management of oral submucous fibrosis: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2019 Apr;127(4):300-308. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2019.01.010. Epub 2019 Jan 16.


Objectives: Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) is a chronic debilitating disease that has a high risk of malignant transformation. Management of OSF is quite challenging, with no definitive cure being available. This systematic review assessed the available evidence for using curcumin for pain alleviation and clinical improvement in patients with OSF.

Study design: A comprehensive search of PubMed/Medline, Scopus, and ISI Web of Science databases was conducted to identify all relevant clinical trials comparing patients receiving curcumin treatment to active and/or nonactive controls for the treatment of OSF.

Results: Six clinical trials comprising 298 patients were included. All studies found curcumin to be effective in the management of OSF. Three studies found significantly higher improvement in burning sensation in the curcumin group compared with controls, whereas 3 other studies found comparable results. With regard to clinical signs, 2 studies showed better improvement in mouth opening in the curcumin group; 3 studies reported no differences in effectiveness; and only 1 study found curcumin to be inferior to conventional therapy.

Conclusions: The available evidence remains inconclusive but suggests that curcumin is a promising effective treatment option for the management of patients with OSF. Further well-designed clinical trials with large sample sizes and adequate follow-up periods are warranted.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Curcumin* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Oral Submucous Fibrosis* / drug therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Curcumin