Curcumin: From Food Spice to Cancer Prevention


Curcumin [1, 7-bis (4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1, 6 heptadiene-3, 5-dione] is an orange-yellow componentof turmeric (Curcuma longa), a spice often found in curry powder. It is known to have a variety of biologic andpharmacologic activities, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anticarcinogenic potential. It is a potentinhibitor of cytochrome P450 with capacity to simultaneously induce detoxifying enzymes such as glutathioneS-transferase and as such may find application as a chemopreventive agent. Curcumin is a potent inhibitor ofcyclooxygenase-2, lipooxygenase, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), nuclear factor-κB, c-Jun N-terminal kinaseand protein kinase C and has also been demonstrated to play a vital role against pathological conditions such ascancer, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases.