Effect of turmeric on xenobiotic metabolising enzymes

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1993 Jul;44(1):87-92. doi: 10.1007/BF01088486.


Diet contains several substances capable of inhibiting chemical carcinogenesis. It is known that such inhibitors may either act directly by scavenging the reactive substances or indirectly by promoting mechanisms which enhance detoxification. Turmeric which contains curcumin both in vitro and in vivo is an active antimutagen. Studies were therefore conducted to evaluate the effects of turmeric on xenobiotic metabolising enzymes in hepatic tissue of rats fed turmeric ranging from 0.5-10% in the diet. Enzymes such as aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase, UDP glucuronyl transferase and glutathione-S-transferase were assayed after four weeks of turmeric fed diets. No significant differences were seen in the activating enzyme AHH. However, UDPGT was significantly elevated in rats fed 10% turmeric while GSHT registered a significant increase in 5 and 10% turmeric fed diet as compared to controls and 0.5-1.0% turmeric fed animals. The results suggest that turmeric may increase detoxification systems in addition to its anti-oxidant properties. Curcumin perhaps is the active principle in turmeric. Turmeric used widely as a spice would probably mitigate the effects of several dietary carcinogens.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Diet
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Magnoliopsida*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Xenobiotics
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Curcumin