Curcumin is a yellow colored polyphenol obtained from the rhizome of Curcuma longa L. It is also known as diferuloyl methane, a symmetric molecule with a seven carbon linker connecting two o-methoxy phenolic groups containing aromatic rings. Curcumin is synthesized by Pabon′s reaction using vanillin and acetyl acetone in the presence of boric oxide. It constitutes an important part of various diets and herbal medicines, especially in the Asian continent for its various salubrious effects on human health.
A natural phenolic compound. Potent anti-tumor agent having anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Curcumin has been cited as a potential chemopreventive agent, in addition to its chemotherapeutic activity. Induces apoptosis in cancer cells and inhibits phorbol ester-induced protein kinase C (PKC) activity. Reported to inhibit production of inflammatory cytokines by peripheral blood monocytes and alveolar macrophages. Potent inhibitor of EGFR tyrosine kinase and IκB kinase. Inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cycloxygenase and lipoxygenase. Easily penetrates into the cytoplasm of cells, accumulating in membranous structures such as plasma membrane, endoplasmic reticulum and nuclear envelope.
Curcumin is postulated to have anti-depressant, anti-stress and neuroprotective effects on humans and other animals. Additionally, it also shows anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-microbial, chemosensitizing, radiosensitizing, and wound healing activities.