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Curcuma as a functional food in the control of cancer and inflammation

Schaffer, Moshea; Schaffer, Pamela M.b; Zidan, Jamala; Sela, Gil Barc

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: November 2011 - Volume 14 - Issue 6 - p 588–597
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834bfe94
Functional foods: Edited by Nathalie M. Delzenne and Peter Stehle

Purpose of review Several nutritional compounds are the focus of public attention because of their potential beneficial health effects. Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root Curcuma longa. Extensive research over the past half century and especially in recent years has revealed important functions of curcumin and a timely review of clinical state-of-the-art using curcumin.

Recent findings In-vitro and in-vivo research has shown various activities, such as anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, cytokines release, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, enhancing of the apoptotic process, and antiangiogenic properties. Curcumin also have been shown to be a mediator of chemo-resistance and radio-resistance.

Summary Various in-vitro and in-vivo and scarce number of clinical studies on curcumin were identified. The various effects and properties of curcumin are summarized in this review, including preclinical and especially clinical studies. This review concentrates on recent knowledge and research with curcumin clinical applications, and clinical studies, focusing on studies published between 2008 and 2011 demonstrating the gap between preclinical and clinical research.

aInstitute of Oncology, Ziv Medical Center, and Faculty of Medicine, Zefat, Israel

bClinic Bad Trissl, Oncology Center, Oberaudorf, Germany

cDivision of Oncology, Rambam Healthcare Campus, and Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel

Correspondence to Moshe Schaffer, MD, PhD, Institute of Oncology, Ziv Medical Center, Zefat, Israel E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.