Curcumin as "Curecumin": from kitchen to clinic.
Although turmeric (Curcuma longa; an Indian spice) has been described in Ayurveda, as a treatment for inflammatory diseases and is referred by different names in different cultures, the active principle called curcumin or diferuloylmethane, a yellow pigment present in turmeric (curry powder) has been shown to exhibit numerous activities. Extensive research over the last half century has revealed several important functions of curcumin. It binds to a variety of proteins and inhibits the activity of various kinases. By modulating the activation of various transcription factors, curcumin regulates the expression of inflammatory enzymes, cytokines, adhesion molecules, and cell survival proteins. Curcumin also downregulates cyclin D1, cyclin E and MDM2; and upregulates p21, p27, and p53. Various preclinical cell culture and animal studies suggest that curcumin has potential as an antiproliferative, anti-invasive, and antiangiogenic agent; as a mediator of chemoresistance and radioresistance; as a chemopreventive agent; and as a therapeutic agent in wound healing, diabetes, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and arthritis. Pilot phase I clinical trials have shown curcumin to be safe even when consumed at a daily dose of 12g for 3 months. Other clinical trials suggest a potential therapeutic role for curcumin in diseases such as familial adenomatous polyposis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, hypercholesteremia, atherosclerosis, pancreatitis, psoriasis, chronic anterior uveitis and arthritis. Thus, curcumin, a spice once relegated to the kitchen shelf, has moved into the clinic and may prove to be "Curecumin".
Biochem Pharmacol. 2008 Feb 15;75(4):787-809. Epub 2007 Aug 19.