Curcuma longa: A Natural Remedy for Cancer
Authors: Paavan Singhal, Preeti K Sharma, Pooja Sharma
Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Mullana, Ambala (India)
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Cancer is a hyperproliferative disorder which is caused due to the mutation in tumour suppresor genes and protooncogenes. Cancer is usually treated by chemotherapeutic agents which are toxic not only to tumour cells but also to normal cells of the body. These agents produce major side effects, are highly expensive and thus not affordable. Cancer is the most common disease worldwide and the second cause of death after myocardial infection. Millions of people die every year due to different types of cancer despite tremendous efforts to find methods of control and cure. In the last century, great advances were made in modern medical science to control cancer, but cancer is not yet curable completely. Genetic variations, environmental factors and sudden change in lifestyle are the main reasons for such a massive occurrence of cancer. To find out new and authentic therapies, scientists are working with traditional or folk medicines in parallel of modern medicine. Traditional medicines are generally free of the deleterious side effects and are usually inexpensive. The spices which are used in daily routine are the best source for remedy or prevention of different types of cancers. Many studies reveal spices may be the factor in one’s diet that may lower cancer risk and affect tumour behaviour. It’s been reported that multiple processes including proliferation, metastasis, apoptosis, angiogenesis, tumorigenesis and immunocompetence, can be influenced by one or more spices. This article emphasize the biological importance of Curcumin which plays an important role in combating cancer without any side effects and reoccurence.


Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. Chemically, curcumin is a diarylheptanoid, a natural phenol responsible for the yellow colour of turmeric. It is a tautomeric compund which exists in it’s enolic form in organic solvents, and as keto form in water. Along with curcumin, Curcuma longa, contains bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin, as well as essentail volatile oils (tumerone, , zingiberone and atlantone), resins, proteins, and sugars . Extensive clinical trials over the past quarter have addressed the pharmacokinetics, safety, and efficacy of this nutraceutical against numerous diseases in humans. Some promising effects have been observed in patients with various diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, uveitis, ulcerative proctitis, neurological, respiratory and liver disorders. It has been observed that the the risk of cancer is comparatively lower in countries where turmeric intake is about 100-200 mg (roughly 1-2 teaspoon) daily.

Curcumin possess the ability to suppress proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells, modulate cell cycle, down regulate transcription factors NF-κB, AP-1 and Egr-1; down-regulate the expression of COX2, LOX, NOS, MMP-9, uPA, TNF, chemokines, cell surface adhesion molecules and cyclin D1; down-regulate growth factor receptors (such as EGFR and HER2); inhibit the activity of c-Jun N-terminal kinase, protein tyrosine kinases and protein serine/threonine kinases; proteasome activation; epigenetic regulation including DNA methylation and histone modification. Human clinical trials indicated no dose-limiting toxicity when administered at doses up to 10 g/day.


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