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World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. Feb 15, 2011; 2(1): 1-14
Published online Feb 15, 2011. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v2.i1.1
Therapeutic potential of curcumin in gastrointestinal diseases
Sigrid A Rajasekaran
Sigrid A Rajasekaran, Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE 19803, United States
Author contributions: Rajasekaran SA solely contributed to this paper.
Supported by ACS Grant RSG-09-021-01-CNE and The Nemours Foundation
Correspondence to: Sigrid A Rajasekaran, PhD, Assistant Professor and Laboratory Head, Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory, Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Rockland Center I, 1701 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE 19803, United States. sraj@medsci.udel.edu
Telephone: +1-302-6516538 Fax: +1-302-6514827
Received: September 3, 2010
Revised: November 25, 2010
Accepted: December 2, 2010
Published online: February 15, 2011

Curcumin, also known as diferuloylmethane, is derived from the plant Curcuma longa and is the active ingredient of the spice turmeric. The therapeutic activities of curcumin for a wide variety of diseases such as diabetes, allergies, arthritis and other chronic and inflammatory diseases have been known for a long time. More recently, curcumin’s therapeutic potential for preventing and treating various cancers is being recognized. As curcumin’s therapeutic promise is being explored more systematically in various diseases, it has become clear that, due to its increased bioavailability in the gastrointestinal tract, curcumin may be particularly suited to be developed to treat gastrointestinal diseases. This review summarizes some of the current literature of curcumin’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer potential in inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatic fibrosis and gastrointestinal cancers.

Keywords: Curcumin, Inflammation, Cancer, Inflammatory bowel disease, Liver fibrosis, Gastrointestinal disease, Apoptosis