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Plant Part Used


Active Constituents

Curcuminoids. (1)

[span class=alert]This section is a list of chemical entities identified in this dietary supplement to possess pharmacological activity. This list does not imply that other, yet unidentified, constituents do not influence the pharmacological activity of this dietary supplement nor does it imply that any one constituent possesses greater influence on the overall pharmacological effect of this dietary supplement.[/span]


In Ayurvedic medicine (traditional Indian medicine), turmeric rhizome has been used for centuries internally as a tonic for the stomach and liver and as a blood purifier.(2) It has also been used externally in the treatment and prevention of skin diseases and in arthritic complaints. The laboratory and clinical research indicates that turmeric and its phenolics have unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.(3) The anti-inflammatory strength of turmeric is comparable to antiinflammatory medications.(4) Turmeric has been reported to be anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.(2),(24),(25)

Interactions and Depletions


Dosage Info

Dosage Range

100-500mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day with meals.

Tea: 2 to 3 cups taken between meals using 1 gm herb per cup.(5)

Tincture: 10 to 15 drops, 2 to 3 times daily at a ratio of 1:10.(5)

Most Common Dosage

300mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day with meals.

Tea: 2 cups taken between meals using 1 gm herb per cup.

Tincture: 10 drops, 2 times daily at a ratio of 1:10.


[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 95-98% curcuminoids.


Frequently Reported Uses

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-Rheumatic
  • Antioxidant
  • Hypercholesterolemia

Other Reported Uses

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiviral.
  • Anticancer
  • Chemopreventative Effects
  • Immune support

Toxicities & Precautions


No known toxicity in recommended dosages.(6) Several cases of contact urticaria have been reported from curcumin.(26)

Health Conditions

Use with caution if peptic ulcer disease is present.

Based on pharmacology, do not use if biliary obstruction is present.(7)

Based on laboratory studies, use with caution in individuals pre-disposed to kidney stone formation.(27)

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders.(8)

Side Effects

Some individuals may experience GI distress or irritation when beginning use.(5)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

If pregnant or nursing, consult a physician before use.

Age Limitations

Do not use in children under 2 years of age unless recommended by a physician.



The antioxidant activity of turmeric is mainly associated with its phenolic fraction, curcuminoids. The mechanisms by which they reportedly exert their antioxidative effects are: intervening in oxidative attacks to restrict or prevent them from occurring; scavenging or neutralizing free radicals; and breaking the oxidative chain reaction caused by free radicals.(9),(10),(11)


Curcuminoids (particularly curcumin) reportedly inhibit enzymes which participate in the synthesis of inflammatory substances (leukotrienes and prostaglandins) derived from arachidonic acid, and it is claimed they are comparable in activity to NSAIDs.(12),(28) In a double-blind study of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin produced significant improvement in all subjects.(4) Turmeric is also claimed to inhibit platelet aggregation.(13)

Curcumin reportedly has COX-2, LOX, TNF-alpha, iNOS, IFN-gamma, NF-kappaB inhibiting activity in laboratory studies.(14),(29) An advantage of curcumin over aspirin is claimed, since curcumin, unlike aspirin, is reported to selectively inhibit synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins but does not affect the synthesis of prostacyclin.(14) Curcumin may be preferable for individuals who are prone to vascular thrombosis and require anti-inflammatory and/or anti-arthritic therapy. Curcumin’s antiinflammatory effects may protect against acute and chronic lung disease.(30) Curcumin’s pharmacology also suggests it may be effective in autoimmune diseases.(31)

Turmeric may be beneficial in individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis. Curcumin has been investigated in several experimental models for the treatment of IBD.(29) Results indicate suppression of induced IBD colitis and changes in cytokine profiles, from the pro-inflammatory Th1 to the anti-inflammatory Th2 type. In human IBD, one open study has found positive results using curcumin in IBD patients, reducing symptoms and relapse.(32)



Turmeric is claimed to be an antiproliferative agent and has been studied for use in various tumor cells its potential as an anticancer agent.(15),(33),(34),(35) Although the precise mechanism by which curcumin may inhibit tumorigenesis remains to be elucidated, it is believed that the chemopreventative action, at least in part, may be related to antioxidant activity and the modulation of inflammatory signaling and cell cycle arrest.(16),(36),(37) Laboratory studies also suggest antiangiogenic effects and tumor cell apoptosis induced by capspase-3 activation and poly(ADP-ribosyl)polymerase (PARP) cleavage.(38),(39)

Curcumin has been reported in laboratory studies to be effective in bladder cancer therapy models.(40) Turmeric was reported to decrease the incidence of Epstein-Barr induced post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) in individuals undergoing therapy with cyclosporin A.(17) Also, turmeric recently has been reported to have chemopreventative effects in colon cancer when it is administered prior to, during, and after carcinogen treatment as well as when it is given only during the promotion/progression phase (starting late in premalignant stage) of colon carcinogenesis.(18),(40) Another study incubated the SUIT-2 human pancreatic carcinoma cell line with various concentrations of curcumin while monitoring biological activity such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) production and transactivation of nuclear factor B (NF-B). Curcumin significantly reduced NF-B activity and inhibited IL-8 production in a dose dependent manner and pretreatment with curcumin significantly inhibited the growth rate of these cancer cells. Inhibition of such proinflammatory cytokines certainly lends merit to curcumin as a potential anticancer agent.(19),(42) Immunomodulation of curcuminoids ,including effect on lymphoid cell populations, antigen presentation, humoral and cell-mediated immunity, and cytokine production, may also be a factor in turmeric’s anticancer activity.(43)

Cholesterol Lowering

Turmeric has been reported in vivo to have the ability to decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in serum, as well as to increase HDL cholesterol.(20) Curcuminoids given daily to healthy subjects for seven days reportedly lowered the levels of blood lipid peroxides, as well as the levels of blood cholesterol.(21) Curcuminioids are reported in a laboratory study to change gene expression involved in cholesterol homeostasis.(44)

Other Effects

Turmeric has been reported to be beneficial in HIV infection, possibly inhibiting transactivation of the virus.(22),(23) Recent studies in models of pressure overload show that curcumin can reduce cardiac remodeling by altering reninangiotensin-system-transforming growth factor beta1 and collagen axis, suggesting use in cardiac ischemia.(45),(46)

A 6 month randomized human study found no benefit when using curcumin in Alzheimer’s disease.(47)


  1. View Abstract: Srinivas L, et al. Turmerin, a Water-Soluble Antioxidant Peptide from Turmeric. Arch Biochem Biophy. 1992;292:617.
  2. View Abstract: Ammon HP, et al. Pharmacology of Curcuma longa. Planta Med. Feb1991;57(1):1-7.
  3. Arora RB, et al. Anti-inflammatory Studies on Curcuma longa L. Ind J Med Res. 1971;59:1289.
  4. Deodhar SD, et al. Preliminary Studies on Anti-Rheumatic Activity of Curcumin. Ind J Med Res. 1980;71:632.
  5. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:776.
  6. Bhavani Shankar TN, et al. Toxicity Studies on Turmeric: Acute Toxicity Studies in Rats, Guinea Pigs and Monkeys. Ind J Exp Biol. 1980;18:73.
  7. Snow JM. Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae). Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine. 1995;1(2):43-46.
  8. View Abstract: Heck AM, et al. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. Jul2000;57(13):1221-7.
  9. View Abstract: Reddy AC, et al. Effect of Dietary Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Iron-induced Lipid Peroxidation in the Rat Liver. Food Chem Toxicol. Mar1994;32(3):279-83.
  10. View Abstract: Subramanian M, et al. Diminution of Singlet Oxygen-induced DNA Damage by Curcumin and Related Antioxidants. Mutat Res. Dec1994;311(2):249-55.
  11. View Abstract: Ruby AJ, et al. Anti-tumour and Antioxidant Activity of Natural Curcuminoids. Cancer Lett. Jul1995;94(1):79-83.
  12. View Abstract: Ammon HP, et al. Mechanism of Anti-inflammatory Actions of Curcumin and Boswellic Acids. J Ethnopharmacol. 1993;38:113.
  13. View Abstract: Srivastava KC, et al. Curcumin, A Major Component of Food Spice Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Inhibits Aggregation and Alters Eicosanoid Metabolism In Human Blood Platelets. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. Apr1995;52(4):223-27.
  14. View Abstract: Srivastava V, et al. Effect of Curcumin on Platelet Aggregation and Vascular Prostacyclin Synthesis. Arzneim Forsch/Drug Res. 1986;36:715-17.
  15. View Abstract: Mehta K, et al. Antiproliferative Effect of Curcumin (Diferuloylmethane) against Human Breast Tumor Cell Line. Anticancer Drugs. Jun1997;8(5):470-81.
  16. View Abstract: Rao CV, et al. Chemoprevention of Colon Carcinogenesis by Dietary Curcumin, a Naturally Occurring Plant Phenolic Compound. Cancer Res. Jan1995;55(2):259-66.
  17. View Abstract: Ranjan D, et al. The Effect of Curcumin On Human B-Cell Immortalization by Epstein-Barr Virus. Am Surg. Jan1998;64(1):47-51.
  18. View Abstract: Mazumder A, et al. Inhibition of Human Immunodefficiency Virus Type-I Integrase by Curcumin. Biochem. Pharmacol. 1995;49(11):1165-70.
  19. View Abstract: Barthelemy S, et al. Curcumin and Curcumin Derivatives Inhibit Tat-mediated Transactivation of Type 1 Human Immunodeficiency Virus Long Terminal Repeat. Res Virol. Jan1998;149(1):43-52.
  20. View Abstract: Kawamori T, et al. Chemopreventive Effect of Curcumin, A Naturally Occurring Anti-inflammatory Agent, During the Promotion/Progression Stages of Colon Cancer. Cancer Res. Feb1999;59(3):597-601.
  21. View Abstract: Hidaka H, Ishiko T, Furuhashi T, Kamohara H, Suzuki S, Miyazaki M, et al. Curcumin inhibits interleukin 8 production and enhances interleukin 8 receptor expression on the cell surface:impact on human pancreatic carcinoma cell growth by autocrine regulation. Cancer. Sep2002;95(6):1206-14.
  22. View Abstract: Soni KB, et al. Effect of Oral Curcumin Administration on Serum Peroxides and Cholesterol Levels in Human Volunteers. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. Oct1992;36(4):273-75.
  23. Sharma OP. Antioxidant Activity of Curcumin and Related Compounds. Biochem Pharmacol. 1976;46:1013
  24. Bengmark S, Mesa MD, Gil A. Plant-derived health: the effects of turmeric and curcuminoids. Nutr Hosp. May-Jun 2009;24(3):273-281. Review.
  25. Aggarwal BB, Harikumar KB. Potential therapeutic effects of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory agent, against neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. Jan 2009;41(1):40-59. Epub 2008 Jul 9. Review.
  26. Liddle M, Hull C, Liu C, Powell D. Contact urticaria from curcumin. Dermatitis. Dec 2006;17(4):196-197.
  27. Tang M, Larson-Meyer DE, Liebman M. Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary oxalate excretion, plasma lipids, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2008;87(5):1262-1267.
  28. Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. Jun 2009;14(2):141-153. Review. Erratum in: Altern Med Rev. Sep 2009;14(3):277.
  29. Hanai H, Sugimoto K. Curcumin has bright prospects for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(18):2087-2094. Review.
  30. Venkatesan N, Punithavathi D, Babu M. Protection from acute and chronic lung diseases by curcumin.Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:379-405. Review.
  31. Bright JJ. Curcumin and autoimmune disease. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:425-451. Review.
  32. Hsu CH, Cheng AL. Clinical studies with curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:471-480. Review.
  33. Schaaf C, Shan B, Buchfelder M, et al. Curcumin acts as anti-tumorigenic and hormone-suppressive agent in murine and human pituitary tumour cells in vitro and in vivo. Endocr Relat Cancer. Dec 2009;16(4):1339-1350. Epub 2009 Sep 2.
  34. Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin and cancer cells: how many ways can curry kill tumor cells selectively? AAPS J. Sep 2009;11(3):495-510. Epub 2009 Jul 10. Review.
  35. Johnson SM, Gulhati P, Arrieta I, Wang X, Uchida T, Gao T, Evers BM. Curcumin inhibits proliferation of colorectal carcinoma by modulating Akt/mTOR signaling. Anticancer Res. Aug 2009;29(8):3185-3190. Erratum in: Anticancer Res. Oct 2009;29(10):4315.
  36. Basile V, Ferrari E, Lazzari S, Belluti S, Pignedoli F, Imbriano C. Curcumin derivatives: molecular basis of their anti-cancer activity. Biochem Pharmacol. 15 Nov 2009;78(10):1305-1315. Epub 2009 Jul 4.
  37. Liu Q, Loo WT, Sze SC, Tong Y. Curcumin inhibits cell proliferation of MDA-MB-231 and BT-483 breast cancer cells mediated by down-regulation of NFkappaB, cyclinD and MMP-1 transcription. Phytomedicine. Oct 2009;16(10):916-922. Epub 2009 Jun 12.
  38. Lee DS, Lee MK, Kim JH. Curcumin induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human osteosarcoma (HOS) cells. Anticancer Res. Dec 2009;29(12):5039-5044.
  39. Binion DG, Heidemann J, Li MS, Nelson VM, Otterson MF, Rafiee P. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression in human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells is regulated by PI 3-kinase/Akt/MAPK/NF-kappaB: inhibitory role of curcumin. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. Aug 2009;297(2):G259-268. Epub 2009 Jun11.
  40. Tharakan ST, Inamoto T, Sung B, Aggarwal BB, Kamat AM. Curcumin potentiates the antitumor effects of gemcitabine in an orthotopic model of human bladder cancer through suppression of proliferative and angiogenic biomarkers. Biochem Pharmacol. 15 Jan 2010;79(2):218-228. Epub 2009 Aug 12.
  41. Johnson JJ, Mukhtar H. Curcumin for chemoprevention of colon cancer. Cancer Lett. 8 Oct 2007;255(2):170-181. Epub 2007 Apr 19.
  42. Kamat AM, Tharakan ST, Sung B, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin potentiates the antitumor effects of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin against bladder cancer through the downregulation of NF-kappaB and upregulation of TRAIL receptors. Cancer Res. 1 Dec 2009;69(23):8958-8966. Epub 2009 Nov 10.
  43. Gautam SC, Gao X, Dulchavsky S. Immunomodulation by curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:321-341. Review.
  44. Peschel D, Koerting R, Nass N. Curcumin induces changes in expression of genes involved in cholesterol homeostasis. J Nutr Biochem. Feb 2007;18(2):113-119. Epub 2006 May 18.
  45. Srivastava G, Mehta JL. Currying the heart: curcumin and cardioprotection. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. Mar2009;14(1):22-27. Epub 2009 Jan 18. Review.
  46. Miriyala S, Panchatcharam M, Rengarajulu P. Cardioprotective effects of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:359-377. Review.
  47. Baum L, Lam CW, Cheung SK, et al. Six-month randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, pilot clinical trial of curcumin in patients with Alzheimer disease. J Clin Psychopharmacol. Feb 2008;28(1):110-113.

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