The metabolism and excretion of curcumin (1,7-bis-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione) in the rat

Xenobiotica. 1978 Dec;8(12):761-8. doi: 10.3109/00498257809069589.


Curcumin labelled with deuterium and tritium was prepared. Oral and intraperitoneal doses of [3H]curcumin led to the faecal excretion of most of the radioactivity. 2. Intravenous and intraperitoneal doses of [3H]curcumin were well excreted in the bile of cannulated rats. 3. The major biliary metabolites were glucuronides of tetrahydrocurcumin and hexahydrocurcumin. A minor biliary metabolite was dihydroferulic acid together with traces of ferulic acid. Metabolites were identified using chemical ionization mass spectrometry.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile / metabolism
  • Biotransformation
  • Catechols / metabolism*
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Curcumin / metabolism*
  • Curcumin / urine
  • Feces / analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Rats


  • Catechols
  • Curcumin