Curcumin: Biological, Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical, and Analytical Aspects

Molecules. 2019 Aug 13;24(16):2930. doi: 10.3390/molecules24162930.


Turmeric is a curry spice that originated from India, which has attracted great interest in recent decades because it contains bioactive curcuminoids (curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin). Curcumin (1,7-bis-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-hepta-1,6-diene-3,5-dione), a lipophilic polyphenol may work as an anticancer, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging agent as suggested by several in vitro, in vivo studies and clinical trials. However, poor aqueous solubility, bioavailability, and pharmacokinetic profiles limit curcumin's therapeutic usage. To address these issues, several curcumin formulations have been developed. However, suboptimal sample preparation and analysis methodologies often hamper the accurate evaluation of bioactivities and their clinical efficacy. This review summarizes recent research on biological, pharmaceutical, and analytical aspects of the curcumin. Various formulation techniques and corresponding clinical trials and in vivo outcomes are discussed. A detailed comparison of different sample preparation (ultrasonic, pressurized liquid extraction, microwave, reflux) and analytical (FT-IR, FT-NIR, FT-Raman, UV, NMR, HPTLC, HPLC, and LC-MS/MS) methodologies used for the extraction and quantification of curcuminoids in different matrices, is presented. Application of optimal sample preparation, chromatographic separation, and detection methodologies will significantly improve the assessment of different formulations and biological activities of curcuminoids.

Keywords: analytical methods; biological activity; curcumin; formulations; sample preparation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Curcuma / chemistry
  • Curcuma / metabolism
  • Curcumin / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / isolation & purification
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Drug Compounding
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / analysis
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Curcumin