Curcumin, The Golden Nutraceutical: Multitargeting for Multiple Chronic Diseases.
Br J Pharmacol. 2016 Sep 17. Epub 2016 Sep 17. PMID: 27638428
Ajaikumar B Kunnumakkara
Curcumin, a yellow pigment in the Indian spice Turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is chemically called as diferuloylmethane was first isolated exactly two centuries ago in 1815 by two German Scientists, Vogel and Pelletier. According to pubmed database, however, the first paper was published on its biological activity in 1949 in Nature as an antibacterial agent, and the first clinical trial reported in Lancet in 1937. Although the current database indicates almost 9000 publications on curcumin but until 1990 there were less than 100 papers published on this nutraceutical. At molecular level, this multitargeted agent has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity through suppression of numerous cell signaling pathways including NF-κB, STAT3, NRF2, ROS, and COX2. Numerous studies have indicated that curcumin is a highly potent antimicrobial agent and has been shown to be active against various chronic diseases including various types of cancers, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological and autoimmune diseases. Further, this compound has also been shown to be synergistic with other nutraceuticals such as resveratrol, piperine, catechins, quercetin, and genistein. Till date over 100 different clinical trials have been completed with curcumin which clearly shows its safety, tolerability and its effect against various chronic diseases in humans. However, more clinical trials in different populations are necessary to prove its potential against different chronic diseases in human. This review's primary focus is lessons learnt about curcumin from clinical trials.