HomeHealth articlescancerWhat Is Curcumin?

Curcumin for Cancer Treatment - Functions, Benefits, and Complications

Verified dataVerified data
Default Banner

3 min read


Curcumin suppresses the initiation, development, and spreading of several cancers. Read the below article to know more.

Written by

Dr. Durga. A. V

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vishvendra Singh

Published At August 10, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 23, 2023


Curcumin, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects, is obtained from the roots of the turmeric plant Curcuma longa. Cancer development is linked to persistent inflammation. One explanation for curcumin's anticancer properties is that it regulates several immune modulators, such as cytokines, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Additionally, it participates in downregulating growth factors, protein kinases, oncogenic molecules, and several signaling pathways. Curcumin has been or is undergoing clinical studies for several cancer types.

What Is Curcumin?

The turmeric plant is a flowering member of the ginger family best known as a curry spice, and contains curcumin. This yellow pigment has anti-inflammatory qualities and the capacity to boost the body's production of antioxidants. Supplements with much more efficacy than turmeric can be made by extracting the curcumin and curcuminoids from turmeric. However, because curcumin does not digest well, many formulations have been developed to increase its bioavailability.

How Does Curcumin Work?

Curcumin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities are the primary causes of its possible positive benefits. Curcumin interacts directly or indirectly with several biological targets, including transcription factors, growth factors, cell cycle proteins, receptors, cell surface adhesion molecules, and protein kinases. Using turmeric products that contain up to eight grams of curcumin per day for up to two months and consuming up to three grams of turmeric per day for up to three months, both appear safe. The majority of the time, turmeric has mild negative effects. It is best to take turmeric with food to aid with absorption. Additionally, splitting it into two doses and taking them eight to twelve hours apart has shown to be beneficial. This will result in increased absorption and stable levels in the body. A divided dosage may also assist in lessening any negative effects. The specific dosage depends on the ailment being treated. Turmeric pills (400 to 600 mg) should be taken three times daily, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Another choice is to consume 2 teaspoon of powdered root daily.

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is when a few of the body's cells grow out of control and spread to other body regions. Cancer may develop practically anywhere in the millions of cells that make up the human body. Human cells often divide through a process known as cell growth and multiplication to create new cells when the body requires them. New cells replace old ones when they die due to aging or injury.

What Is the Role of Curcumin in Cancer Treatments?

  • Due to its alleged antioxidant effects, curcumin may lessen edema (swelling) and inflammation. Inflammation appears to have a role in cancer. Hence it is being investigated as a cancer therapy.

  • One of the natural substances, curcuminoids, is generated from the rhizome (a continually expanding horizontal underlying stem that occasionally produces adventitious roots and lateral branches) of the East Indian plant Curcuma longa and is found in an extract known as turmeric.

  • Traditional Asian medicine has used turmeric for medicinal purposes for a long time.

  • The active component of turmeric, curcuminoids, may interfere with several cell signaling pathways, according to an extensive study conducted over the past 20 years. This finding supports curcumin's possible function in controlling the growth and spread of cancer.

  • It has been proven that curcumin and curcumin conjugates are bioavailable in plasma, urine, and tissue when given in the various formulations and dosages evaluated in phase I clinical studies.

  • Early-phase studies using curcumin-containing products in the chemoprevention of oral, liver, and colon cancers have yielded encouraging results.

  • However, well-powered trials investigating safety and efficacy, as evidenced by modification of clinical outcomes, are required to corroborate the results from these early trials.

  • The safety and efficacy of curcumin-containing products as complements to conventional cancer therapies come from pilot trials with small sample sizes, which targeted different stages of cancer and patient populations and used various formulations, doses, and intervention durations.

  • As a result, there is currently insufficient data to support the recommendation of curcumin-containing products.

What Are the Benefits of Curcumin in Cancer Treatment?

According to laboratory studies, curcumin may be able to prevent cancer, reduce the spread of cancer, improve the efficacy of chemotherapy (a medication that kills the body's rapidly dividing cells using strong chemicals), and shield healthy cells from radiation treatment harm. Due to the following advantages, most doctors recommend and prescribe curcumin capsules as part of their consultation:

  • Patients with rheumatoid arthritis can also take curcumin capsules to reduce the disease's course, as can those with skin cancer and various digestive ailments.

  • Curcumin, when properly ingested, also protects the brain cells from damage brought on by stress.

  • Curcumin can help treat inflammatory and degenerative eye problems and reduce discomfort when taken regularly.

  • Regular consumption of micro curcumin supplements reduces internal inflammation and improves the body's antioxidant defenses.

What Are the Side Effects of Curcumin in Cancer Treatment?

Since it increases bioavailability when mixed with root extract, curcumin, also known as turmeric, is a well-known substance worldwide and an important component of Indian cuisine. For optimum benefits, people should only consume one teaspoon of turmeric daily and stay away from more since it may cause unwanted side effects:

  • Individuals who use high dosages of curcumin may experience nausea and digestive problems.

  • If one has gallstones, avoid using them since it might worsen gallbladder issues.

  • Iron deficiency can result from high amounts of the turmeric compound curcumin, which blocks iron absorption.


Traditional medicine has long utilized turmeric to cure various illnesses, and now science has established that curcumin is the active ingredient. The turmeric plant's dried rhizome (root) is used to produce curcumin. Turmeric is mostly found in South and South-East Asia. Ideally, the rhizome is processed to create turmeric with a curcumin content of two to five percent. Despite having a high potency, curcumin has low solubility and only a small amount of absorption. Traditional curcumin powder forms, such as capsules and tablets, can not get around these issues, making it unable to use curcumin to its full potential.

Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Vishvendra Singh
Dr. Vishvendra Singh


iCliniq's FREE Newsletters

Expert-backed health and wellness information, delivered to your email.

Subscribe iCliniq
By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the iCliniq Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of iCliniq subscriptions at any time.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on


Ask a doctor online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: Native Care is not aimed to replace the services of your treating physician or allopathy medicines. Our site's information is to those who are willing to take responsibility for their health, being fully aware that the content published herein would not qualify as a prescription or specific medical advice. If users use the information and stop prescribed medication without their physician's consent, they bear full responsibility for their actions, and iCliniq-Native Care bears no responsibility for the same. Information on Native Care should not be misinterpreted as a cure for any illness, as our body is complex and everyone reacts differently.