Abstract and key points
- Curcumin is a constituent of turmeric (rhizomes of Curcuma longa), known as an Indian spice and food colouring agent.
- Currently there is insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness and efficacy of curcumin in the prevention or treatment of cancer.
- Based on the traditional use of turmeric and dose escalation studies, curcumin can be regarded as safe.
This summary is currently (April 2016) being updated. The version published here was last updated in April 2014.
Curcumin or diferuloylmethane is the major constituent and the active component in the spice turmeric (rhizomes of Curcuma longa), a herb belonging to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Curcumin is claimed to have anticancer properties and to be chemopreventive. It has been suggested to have beneficial effects both as monotherapy and in combination with existing therapies.
There are currently insufficient data available to support the effectiveness and efficacy of curcumin for cancer due to lack of double-blind, randomized clinical trials. Mostly preliminary findings from small and uncontrolled studies are available.
Turmeric, containing curcumin, is generally regarded as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As for curcumin itself, epidemiological evidence and several clinical trials confirm the safety of curcumin up to 12 g per day over a period of several months.
CitationKlara Rombauts, Liene Dhooghe, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Curcumin [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Herbal-products/Curcumin. May 7, 2014.
Summary fully revised and updated in April 2014 by Klara Rombauts.
Summary first published in May 2012 authored by Klara Rombauts and Liene Dhooghe.
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