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Turmeric and Curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications


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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is extensively used as a spice, food preservative and colouring material in India, China and South East Asia. It has been used in traditional medicine as a household remedy for various diseases, including biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism and sinusitis. For the last few decades, extensive work has been done to establish the biological activities and pharmacological actions of turmeric and its extracts. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), the main yellow bioactive component of turmeric has been shown to have a wide spectrum of biological actions. These include its antiinflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, anticoagulant, antifertility, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antifibrotic, antivenom, antiulcer, hypotensive and hypocholesteremic activities. Its anticancer effect is mainly mediated through induction of apoptosis. Its antiinflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically exploited to control rheumatism, carcinogenesis and oxidative stress-related pathogenesis. Clinically, curcumin has already been used to reduce post-operative inflammation. Safety evaluation studies indicate that both turmeric and curcumin are well tolerated at a very high dose without any toxic effects. Thus, both turmeric and curcumin have the potential for the development of modern medicine for the treatment of various diseases.
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, 10 JULY 2004 44
Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions
and medicinal applications
Ishita Chattopadhyay1, Kaushik Biswas1, Uday Bandyopadhyay2 and
Ranajit K. Banerjee1,*
1Department of Physiology, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4, Raja S.C. Mullick Road, Kolkata 700 032, India
2Deptartment of Biochemistry, Central Drug Research Institute, Chhattar Manzil Palace, Lucknow 226 001, India
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is extensively used as a
spice, food preservative and colouring material in India,
China and South East Asia. It has been used in tradi-
tional medicine as a household remedy for various
diseases, including biliary disorders, anorexia, cough,
diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism and
sinusitis. For the last few decades, extensive work has
been done to establish the biological activities and phar-
macological actions of turmeric and its extracts. Cur-
cumin (diferuloylmethane), the main yellow bioactive
component of turmeric has been shown to have a wide
spectrum of biological actions. These include its anti-
inflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimuta-
genic, anticoagulant, antifertility, antidiabetic, antibac-
terial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antifibrotic,
antivenom, antiulcer, hypotensive and hypocholestere-
mic activities. Its anticancer effect is mainly mediated
through induction of apoptosis. Its antiinflammatory,
anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically ex-
ploited to control rheumatism, carcinogenesis and oxi-
dative stress-related pathogenesis. Clinically, curcumin
has already been used to reduce post-operative inflam-
mation. Safety evaluation studies indicate that both
turmeric and curcumin are well tolerated at a very high
dose without any toxic effects. Thus, both turmeric and
curcumin have the potential for the development of
modern medicine for the treatment of various diseases.
INDIA has a rich history of using plants for medicinal pur-
poses. Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is a medicinal plant
extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicine
as home remedy for various diseases1,2. C. longa L., bota-
nically related to ginger (Zingiberaceae family), is a per-
ennial plant having a short stem with large oblong leaves
and bears ovate, pyriform or oblong rhizomes, which are
often branched and brownish-yellow in colour. Turmeric
is used as a food additive (spice), preservative and colour-
ing agent in Asian countries, including China and South
East Asia. It is also considered as auspicious and is a part
of religious rituals. In old Hindu medicine, it is exten-
sively used for the treatment of sprains and swelling cau-
sed by injury1. In recent times, traditional Indian medicine
uses turmeric powder for the treatment of biliary disorders,
anorexia, coryza, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders,
rheumatism and sinusitis3. In China, C. longa is used for
diseases associated with abdominal pains4. The colouring
principle of turmeric is the main component of this plant
and is responsible for the antiinflammatory property.
Turmeric was described as C. longa by Linnaeus and its
taxonomic position is as follows:
Class Liliopsida
Subclass Commelinids
Order Zingiberales
Family Zingiberaceae
Genus Curcuma
Species Curcuma longa
The wild turmeric is called C. aromatica and the domes-
tic species is called C. longa.
Chemical composition of turmeric
Turmeric contains protein (6.3%), fat (5.1%), minerals
(3.5%), carbohydrates (69.4%) and moisture (13.1%). The
essential oil (5.8%) obtained by steam distillation of rhi-
zomes has α-phellandrene (1%), sabinene (0.6%), cineol
(1%), borneol (0.5%), zingiberene (25%) and sesquiterpines
(53%)5. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) (34%) is respon-
sible for the yellow colour, and comprises curcumin I
(94%), curcumin II (6%) and curcumin III (0.3%)6. Deme-
thoxy and bisdemethoxy derivatives of curcumin have also
been isolated7 (Figure 1). Curcumin was first isolated8 in
1815 and its chemical structure was determined by Roughley
and Whiting9 in 1973. It has a melting point at 176177°C;
forms a reddish-brown salt with alkali and is soluble in
ethanol, alkali, ketone, acetic acid and chloroform.
Biological activity of turmeric and its compounds
Turmeric powder, curcumin and its derivatives and many
other extracts from the rhizomes were found to be bioac-
tive (Table 1). The structures of some of these compounds4
are presented in Figure 1. Turmeric powder has healing
effect on both aseptic and septic wounds in rats and rab-
*For correspondence. (e-mail:
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, 10 JULY 2004 45
bits10. It also shows adjuvant chemoprotection in experi-
mental forestomach and oral cancer models of Swiss mice
and Syrian golden hamsters11. Curcumin also increases
mucin secretion in rabbits12. Curcumin, the ethanol extract
of the rhizomes, sodium curcuminate, [feruloyl-(4-hydroxy-
cinnamoyl)-methane] (FHM) and [bis-(4-hydroxycinna-
moyl)-methane] (BHM) and their derivatives, have high
antiinflammatory activity against carrageenin-induced rat
paw oedema13,14. Curcumin is also effective in formalin-
induced arthritis13. Curcumin reduces intestinal gas for-
mation15 and carbon tetrachloride and D-galactosamine-
induced glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase and glutamate
pyruvate transaminase levels16,17. It also increases bile
secretion in anaesthetized dogs 18 and rats19, and elevates
the activity of pancreatic lipase, amylase, trypsin and chymo-
trypsin20. Curcumin protects isoproterenol-induced myocar-
dial infarction in rats21. Curcumin, FHM and BHM also
have anticoagulant activity22,23. Curcumin and an ether-
extract of C. longa have hypolipemic action in rats24 and
lower cholesterol, fatty acids and triglycerides in alcohol-
induced toxicity25. Curcumin is also reported to have anti-
bacterial15, antiamoebic26 and antiHIV27 activities. Curcumin
also shows antioxidant activity28–31. It also shows antitu-
mour32–34 and anticarcinogenic35–38 activities. The volatile
oil of C. longa shows antiinflammatory39, antibacterial40,41
and antifungal41 activities. The petroleum ether extract of
C. longa is reported to have antiinflammatory activity42.
Petroleum ether and aqueous extracts have 100% antiferti-
lity effects in rats43. Fifty per cent ethanolic extract of C.
longa shows hypolipemic action44 in rats. Ethanolic extract
also possesses antitumour activity45. Alcoholic extract and
sodium curcuminate can also offer antibacterial activity15,18.
The crude ether and chloroform extracts of C. longa stem
are also reported to have antifungal effects46. A C. longa
fraction containing ar-turmerone has potent antivenom
Pharmacological action of turmeric
and its extract
Several pharmacological activities and medicinal applica-
tions of turmeric are known1,2,4. Although curcumin has
been isolated in the 19th century, extracts of the rhizomes
of C. longa have been in use from the Vedic ages1,48. Some
of the medicinal applications3 of turmeric are mentioned
in Table 2.
Pharmacological action of curcumin
Effect on gastrointestinal system
Stomach: Turmeric powder has beneficial effect on the
stomach. It increases mucin secretion in rabbits and may
thus act as gastroprotectant against irritants12. However,
controversy exists regarding antiulcer activity of curcumin.
Both antiulcer49 and ulcerogenic50,51 effects of curcumin
have been reported but detailed studies are still lacking.
Curcumin has been shown to protect the stomach from
ulcerogenic effects of phenylbutazone in guinea pigs at
50 mg/kg dose52,53. It also protects from 5-hydroxytrypta-
mine- induced ulceration at 20 mg/kg dose52,53. However,
when 0.5% curcumin was used, it failed to protect against
histamine-induced ulcers54. In fact, at higher doses of 50 mg/
kg and 100 mg/kg, it produces ulcers in rats51. Though the
mechanism is not yet clear, an increase in the gastric acid
and/or pepsin secretion and reduction in mucin content
have been implicated in the induction of gastric ulcer55.
Recent studies in our laboratory indicate that curcumin can
block indomethacin, ethanol and stress-induced gastric ulcer
and can also prevent pylorus-ligation-induced acid secre-
Figure 1. Structure of natural curcuminoids.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, 10 JULY 2004 46
tion in rats. The antiulcer effect is mediated by scaveng-
ing of reactive oxygen species by curcumin (unpublished
Intestine: Curcumin has some good effects on the intes-
tine also. Antispasmodic activity of sodium curcuminate
was observed in isolated guinea pig ileum14. Antiflatulent
activity was also observed in both in vivo and in vitro
experiments in rats15. Curcumin also enhances intestinal
lipase, sucrase and maltase activity56.
Liver: Curcumin and its analogues have protective acti-
vity in cultured rat hepatocytes against carbon tetrachlo-
ride, D-galactosamine, peroxide and ionophore-induced
toxicity17,30,57. Curcumin also protects against diethylni-
trosamine and 2-acetylaminofluorine-induced altered
hepatic foci development58. Increased bile production
was reported in dogs by both curcumin and essential oil
of C. longa19,59.
Pancreas: 1-phenyl-1-hydroxy-n-pentane, a synthetic deri-
vative of p-tolylmethylcarbinol (an ingredient of C. longa)
increases plasma secretion and bicarbonate levels60. Cur-
cumin also increases the activity of pancreatic lipase, amy-
lase, trypsin and chymotrypsin20.
Effect on cardiovascular system
Curcumin decreases the severity of pathological changes
and thus protects from damage caused by myocardial in-
farction21. Curcumin improves Ca2+-transport and its slip-
page from the cardiac muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum,
thereby raising the possibility of pharmacological inter-
ventions to correct the defective Ca2+ homeostasis in the
cardiac muscle61. Curcumin has significant hypocholes-
teremic effect in hypercholesteremic rats62.
Effect on nervous system
Curcumin and manganese complex of curcumin offer pro-
tective action against vascular dementia by exerting anti-
oxidant activity63,64.
Effect on lipid metabolism
Curcumin reduces low density lipoprotein and very low
density lipoprotein significantly in plasma and total cho-
lesterol level in liver alongwith an increase of α-tocopherol
level in rat plasma, suggesting in vivo interaction between
curcumin and α-tocopherol that may increase the bioavail-
ability of vitamin E and decrease cholesterol levels65. Cur-
cumin binds with egg and soy-phosphatidylcholine, which
in turn binds divalent metal ions to offer antioxidant acti-
vity66. The increase in fatty acid content after ethanol-indu-
ced liver damage is significantly decreased by curcumin
treatment and arachidonic acid level is increased67.
Anti-inflammatory activity
Curcumin is effective against carrageenin-induced oedema
in rats13,14,68,69 and mice70. The natural analogues of cur-
cumin, viz. FHM and BHM, are also potent antiinflamma-
tory agents14. The volatile oil39 and also the petroleum
ether, alcohol and water extracts of C. longa show antiin-
flammatory effects71. The antirheumatic activity of cur-
cumin has also been established in patients who showed
significant improvement of symptoms after administration
of curcumin72. That curcumin stimulates stress-induced
expression of stress proteins and may act in a way similar
Table 1.
Biological activity of turmeric and its compounds
Compound/extract Biological activity Reference
Turmeric powder Wound-healing 10
Ethanol extract Antiinflammatory
Petroleum ether extract Antiinflammatory
Antifertility 71
Alcoholic extract Antibacterial 15
Crude ether extract Antifungal 46
Chloroform extract Antifungal 46
Aqueous extract Antifertility 43
Volatile oil Antiinflammatory
Curcumin Antibacterial
Ar-turmerone Antivenom 47
Methylcurcumin Antiprotozoan 123
Demethoxycurcumin Antioxidant 29
Antioxidant 29
Sodium curcuminate Antiinflammatory, antibacterial 18
Table 2.
Medicinal properties of turmeric
Turmeric finds medicinal
applications in
Anaemia, atherosclerosis, diabetes, oedema,
haemorrhoids, hepatitis, hysteria, indigestion
inflammation, skin disease, urinary disease,
wound and bruise healing, psoriasis, ano
cough, liver disorders, rheumatism, sinusitis
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, 10 JULY 2004 47
to indomethacin and salicylate, has recently been reported73.
Curcumin offers antiinflammatory effect through inhibi-
tion of NFκB activation74. Curcumin has also been shown
to reduce the TNF-α-induced expression of the tissue factor
gene in bovine aortic-endothelial cells by repressing acti-
vation of both AP-1 and NFκB75. The antiinflammatory
role of curcumin is also mediated through downregulation
of cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthe-
tase through suppression of NFκB activation34. Curcumin
also enhances wound-healing in diabetic rats and mice76,
and in H2O2-induced damage in human keratinocytes and
Antioxidant effect
The antioxidant activity of curcumin was reported77 as early
as 1975. It acts as a scavenger of oxygen free radicals6,78.
It can protect haemoglobin from oxidation29. In vitro, cur-
cumin can significantly inhibit the generation of reactive
oxygen species (ROS) like superoxide anions, H2O2 and
nitrite radical generation by activated macrophages, which
play an important role in inflammation79. Curcumin also
lowers the production of ROS in vivo79. Its derivatives,
demethoxycurcumin and bis-demethoxycurcumin also have
antioxidant effect29,30. Curcumin exerts powerful inhibi-
tory effect against H2O2-induced damage in human kera-
tinocytes and fibroblasts31 and in NG 108-15 cells80. Cur-
cumin reduces oxidized proteins in amyloid pathology in
Alzheimer transgenic mice81. It also decreases lipid per-
oxidation in rat liver microsomes, erythrocyte membranes
and brain homogenates28. This is brought about by main-
taining the activities of antioxidant enzymes like super-
oxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase82.
Recently, we have observed that curcumin prevents oxida-
tive damage during indomethacin-induced gastric lesion
not only by blocking inactivation of gastric peroxidase,
but also by direct scavenging of H2O2 and OH (unpub-
lished observation). Since ROS have been implicated in
the development of various pathological conditions83–85,
curcumin has the potential to control these diseases through
its potent antioxidant activity.
Contradictory to the above-mentioned antioxidant effect,
curcumin has pro-oxidant activity. Kelly et al.86 reported
that curcumin not only failed to prevent single-strand DNA
breaks by H2O2, but also caused DNA damage. As this
damage was prevented by antioxidant α-tocopherol, the
pro-oxidant role of curcumin has been proved. Curcumin
also causes oxidative damage of rat hepatocytes by oxidi-
zing glutathione and of human erythrocyte by oxidizing
oxyhaemoglobin, thereby causing haemolysis87. The pro-
oxidant activity appears to be mediated through genera-
tion of phenoxyl radical of curcumin by peroxidaseH2O2
system, which cooxidizes cellular glutathione or NADH,
accompanied by O2 uptake to form ROS87.
The antioxidant mechanism of curcumin is attributed to
its unique conjugated structure, which includes two meth-
oxylated phenols and an enol form of β-diketone; the struc-
ture shows typical radical-trapping ability as a chain-break-
ing antioxidant (Figure 1)88,89. Generally, the nonenzymatic
antioxidant process of the phenolic material is thought to
be mediated through the following two stages:
S-OO° + AH SOOH + A° ,
A + X Nonradical materials,
where S is the substance oxidized, AH is the phenolic anti-
oxidant, A is the antioxidant radical and X is another
radical species or the same species90 as A . A and X
dimerize to form the non-radical product. Masuda et al.89
further studied the antioxidant mechanism of curcumin
using linoleate as an oxidizable polyunsaturated lipid and
proposed that the mechanism involves oxidative coupling
reaction at the 3position of the curcumin with the lipid
and a subsequent intramolecular DielsAlder reaction.
Anticarcinogenic effect induction of apoptosis
Curcumin acts as a potent anticarcinogenic compound.
Among various mechanisms, induction of apoptosis plays
an important role in its anticarcinogenic effect. It induces
apoptosis and inhibits cell-cycle progression, both of which
are instrumental in preventing cancerous cell growth in rat
aortic smooth muscle cells91. The antiproliferative effect is
mediated partly through inhibition of protein tyrosine kinase
and c-myc mRNA expression and the apoptotic effect may
partly be mediated through inhibition of protein tyrosine
kinase, protein kinase C, c-myc mRNA expression and bcl-2
mRNA expression91. Curcumin induces apoptotic cell death
by DNA-damage in human cancer cell lines, TK-10, MCF-7
and UACC-62 by acting as topoisomerase II poison92.
Recently, curcumin has been shown to cause apoptosis in
mouse neuro 2a cells by impairing the ubiquitinprotea-
some system through the mitochondrial pathway93. Cur-
cumin causes rapid decrease in mitochondrial membrane
potential and release of cytochrome c to activate caspase
9 and caspase 3 for apoptotic cell death93. Recently, an
interesting observation was made regarding curcumin-in-
duced apoptosis in human colon cancer cell and role of
heat shock proteins (hsp) thereon94. In this study, SW480
cells were transfected with hsp 70 cDNA in either the sense
or antisense orientation and stable clones were selected
and tested for their sensitivity to curcumin. Curcumin was
found to be ineffective to cause apoptosis in cells having
hsp 70, while cells harbouring antisense hsp 70 were highly
sensitive to apoptosis by curcumin as measured by nuclear
condensation, mitochondrial transmembrane potential, re-
lease of cytochrome c, activation of caspase 3 and caspase
9 and other parameters for apoptosis94. Expression of glu-
tathione S-transferase P1-1 (GSTP1-1) is correlated to car-
cinogenesis and curcumin has been shown to induce apop-
tosis in K562 leukaemia cells by inhibiting the expression
of GSTP1-1 at transcription level95. The mechanism of cur-
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, 10 JULY 2004 48
cumin-induced apoptosis has also been studied in Caki
cells, where curcumin causes apoptosis through down-
regulation of Bcl-XL and IAP, release of cytochrome c
and inhibition of Akt, which are markedly blocked by N-
acetylcysteine, indicating a role of ROS in curcumin-
induced cell death96. In LNCaP prostrate cancer cells, cur-
cumin induces apoptosis by enhancing tumour necrosis
factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)97. The
combined treatment of the cell with curcumin and TRAIL
induces DNA fragmentation, cleavage of procaspase 3, 8
and 9, truncation of Bid and release of cytochrome c from
mitochondria, indicating involvement of both external re-
ceptor-mediated and internal chemical-induced apoptosis
in these cells97. In colorectal carcinoma cell line, curcu-
min delays apoptosis along with the arrest of cell cycle at
G1 phase98. Curcumin also reduces P53 gene expression,
which is accompanied with the induction of HSP-70 gene
through initial depletion98 of intracellular Ca2+. Curcumin
also produces nonselective inhibition of proliferation in
several leukaemia, nontransformed haematopoietic pro-
genitor cells and fibroblast cell lines99. That curcumin indu-
ces apoptosis and large-scale DNA fragmentation has also
been observed in Vγ9Vδ2+ T cells through inhibition of
isopentenyl pyrophosphate-induced NFκB activation, proli-
feration and chemokine production100. Curcumin induces
apoptosis in human leukaemia HL-60 cells, which is bloc-
ked by some antioxidants35. Colon carcinoma is also pre-
vented by curcumin through arrest of cell-cycle progression
independent of inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis101.
Curcumin suppresses human breast carcinoma through
multiple pathways. Its antiproliferative effect is estrogen-
dependent in ER (estrogen receptor)-positive MCF-7 cells
and estrogen-independent in ER-negative MDA-MB-231
cells37. Curcumin also downregulates matrix metallopro-
teinase (MMP)-2 and upregulates tissue inhibitor of met-
alloproteinase (TIMP)-1, two common effector molecules
involved in cell invasion37. It also induces apoptosis through
P53-dependent Bax induction in human breast cancer cells38.
However, curcumin affects different cell lines differently.
Whereas leukaemia, breast, colon, hepatocellular and ova-
rian carcinoma cells undergo apoptosis in the presence of
curcumin, lung, prostate, kidney, cervix and CNS malig-
nancies and melanoma cells show resistance to cytotoxic
effect of curcumin102.
Curcumin also suppresses tumour growth through vari-
ous pathways. Nitric oxide (NO) and its derivatives play
a major role in tumour promotion. Curcumin inhibits iNOS
and COX-2 production69 by suppression of NFκB activa-
tion34. Curcumin also increases NO production in NK cells
after prolonged treatment, culminating in a stronger tumou-
ricidal effect33. Curcumin also induces apoptosis in AK-5
tumour cells through upregulation103 of caspase-3. Reports
also exist indicating that curcumin blocks dexamethasone-
induced apoptosis of rat thymocytes104,105. Recently, in
Jurkat cells, curcumin has been shown to prevent gluta-
thione depletion, thus protecting cells from caspase-3
activation and oligonucleosomal DNA fragmentation106.
Curcumin also inhibits proliferation of rat thymocytes104.
These strongly imply that cell growth and cell death share a
common pathway at some point and that curcumin affects
a common step, presumably involving modulation of AP-1
transcription factor104,106.
Pro/antimutagenic activity
Curcumin exerts both pro- and antimutagenic effects. At
100 and 200 mg/kg body wt doses, curcumin has been
shown to reduce the number of aberrant cells in cyclo-
phosphamide-induced chromosomal aberration in Wistar
rats107. Turmeric also prevents mutation in urethane (a
powerful mutagen) models108. Contradictory reports also
exist. Curcumin and turmeric enhance γ-radiation-induced
chromosome aberration in Chinese hamster ovary109. Cur-
cumin has also been shown to be non-protective against
hexavalent chromium-induced DNA strand break. In fact,
the total effect of chromium and curcumin is additive in
causing DNA breaks in human lymphocytes and gastric
mucosal cells110.
Anticoagulant activity
Curcumin shows anticoagulant activity by inhibiting col-
lagen and adrenaline-induced platelet aggregation in vitro
as well as in vivo in rat thoracic aorta23.
Antifertility activity
Petroleum ether and aqueous extracts of turmeric rhizo-
mes show 100% antifertility effect in rats when fed orally43.
Implantation is completely inhibited by these extracts111.
Curcumin inhibits 5α-reductase, which converts testoste-
rone to 5α-dihydrotestosterone, thereby inhibiting the growth
of flank organs in hamster112. Curcumin also inhibits human
sperm motility and has the potential for the development
of a novel intravaginal contraceptive113.
Antidiabetic effect
Curcumin prevents galactose-induced cataract formation
at very low doses114. Both turmeric and curcumin decrease
blood sugar level in alloxan-induced diabetes in rat115. Cur-
cumin also decreases advanced glycation end products-
induced complications in diabetes mellitus116.
Antibacterial activity
Both curcumin and the oil fraction suppress growth of
several bacteria like Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Lac-
tobacillus, etc.15. The aqueous extract of turmeric rhizomes
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, 10 JULY 2004 49
has antibacterial effects117. Curcumin also prevents growth
of Helicobacter pylori CagA+ strains in vitro118.
Antifungal effect
Ether and chloroform extracts and oil of C. longa have
antifungal effects41,46,119. Crude ethanol extract also pos-
sesses antifungal activity120. Turmeric oil is also active
against Aspergillus flavus, A. parasiticus, Fusarium moni-
liforme and Penicillium digitatum121.
Antiprotozoan activity
The ethanol extract of the rhizomes has anti-Entamoeba
histolytica activity. Curcumin has anti-Leishmania activ-
ity in vitro122. Several synthetic derivatives of curcumin
have anti-L. amazonensis effect123. Anti-Plasmodium falci-
parum and anti-L. major effects of curcumin have also been
Antiviral effect
Curcumin has been shown to have antiviral activity4. It acts
as an efficient inhibitor of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) key
activator Bam H fragment z left frame 1 (BZLF1) protein
transcription in Raji DR-LUC cells125. EBV inducers such
as 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, sodium butyrate
and transforming growth factor-beta increase the level of
BZLF1 m-RNA at 12–48 h after treatment in these cells,
which is effectively blocked by curcumin125. Most impor-
tantly, curcumin also shows anti-HIV (human immunodefi-
ciency virus) activity by inhibiting the HIV-1 integrase
needed for viral replication27,126. It also inhibits UV light-
induced HIV gene expression127. Thus curcumin and its ana-
logues may have the potential for novel drug development
against HIV.
Antifibrotic effect
Curcumin suppresses bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibro-
sis in rats128. Oral administration of curcumin at 300 mg/kg
dose inhibits bleomycin-induced increase in total cell counts
and biomarkers of inflammatory responses. It also sup-
presses bleomycin-induced alveolar macrophage-produc-
tion of TNF-α, superoxide and nitric oxide. Thus curcumin
acts as a potent antiinflammatory and antifibrotic agent.
Antivenom effect
Ar-turmerone, isolated from C. longa, neutralizes both hae-
morrhagic activity of Bothrops venom and 70% lethal ef-
fect of Crotalus venom in mice4. It acts as an enzymatic
inhibitor of venom enzymes with proteolytic activities47.
Pharmacokinetic studies on curcumin
Curcumin, when given orally or intraperitoneally to rats,
is mostly egested in the faeces and only a little in the
urine129,130. Only traces of curcumin are found in the blood
from the heart, liver and kidney. Curcumin, when added
to isolated hepatocytes, is quickly metabolized and the
major biliary metabolites are glucuronides of tetrahydro-
curcumin and hexahydrocurcumin131,132. Curcumin, after
metabolism in the liver, is mainly excreted through bile.
Clinical studies and medicinal applications of
turmeric and curcumin
Although various studies have been carried out with tur-
meric extracts and some of its ingredients in several animal
models1,4,133, only a few clinical studies are reported so far.
Powdered rhizome is used to treat wounds, bruises, infla-
med joints and sprains134 in Nepal. In current traditional
Indian medicine, it is used for the treatment of biliary dis-
orders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders,
rheumatism and sinusitis48. Data are also available show-
ing that the powder, when applied as capsules to patients
with respiratory disease, gives relief from symptoms like
dyspnoea, cough and sputum135. A short clinical trial in
18 patients with definite rheumatoid arthritis showed signi-
ficant improvement in morning stiffness and joint swelling
after two weeks of therapy with oral doses of 120 mg/
day53. Application of the powder in combination with
other plant products is also reported for purification of
blood and for menstrual and abdominal problems136.
In patients undergoing surgery, oral application of curcu-
min reduces post-operative inflammation137. Recently, cur-
cumin has been formulated as slow-release biodegradable
microspheres for the treatment of inflammation in arth-
ritic rats138. It is evident from the study that curcumin-
biodegradable microspheres could be successfully emplo-
yed for therapeutic management of inflammation138.
Safety evaluation with turmeric and curcumin
Detailed studies have been reported on the safety evalua-
tion of the rhizomes of C. longa and its alcohol extract,
curcumin132,139. The major findings are presented below.
The average intake of turmeric by Asians varies from 0.5
to 1.5 g/day/person, which produces no toxic symptoms2.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, 10 JULY 2004 50
Male and female Wistar rats, guinea pigs and monkeys were
fed with turmeric at much higher doses (2.5 g/kg body wt)
than normally consumed by humans. No changes were
observed in the appearance and weight of kidney, liver and
heart132. Also, no pathological or behavioural abnormali-
ties were noticed and no mortality was observed.
Curcumin was given to Wistar rats, guinea pigs and mon-
keys of both sexes at a dose of 300 mg/kg body wt. No
pathological, behavioural abnormalities or lethality was
observed133. No adverse effects were observed on both
growth and the level of erythrocytes, leucocytes, blood
constituents such as haemoglobin, total serum protein, alka-
line phosphatase, etc.139. Human clinical trials also indicate
that curcumin has no toxicity when administered at doses
of 1–8 g/day140 and 10 g/day141.
Future prospects
Turmeric has been used in ayurvedic medicine since anci-
ent times, with various biological applications. Although
some work has been done on the possible medicinal appli-
cations, no studies for drug-development have been car-
ried out as yet. Although the crude extract has numerous
medicinal applications, clinical applications can be made
only after extensive research on its bioactivity, mechanism
of action, pharmacotherapeutics and toxicity studies. How-
ever, as curcumin is now available in pure form, which
shows a wide spectrum of biological activities, it would
be easier to develop new drugs from this compound after
extensive studies on its mechanism of action and phar-
macological effects. Recent years have seen an increased
enthusiasm in treating various diseases with natural pro-
ducts. Curcumin is a non-toxic, highly promising natural
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Received 8 January 2004; revised accepted 31 March 2004
... China (Chattopadhyay et. al., 2004). It had been commonly used as food additives in culinary (Tinello and Lante, 2019). Also known as "Indian saffron", turmeric can replace the original saffron that was much pricier and hard to get (Hanif et. al., 1997). ...
... Turmeric was muchly used in healing anorexia, biliary and hepatic disorders, cough and diabetic wounds (Nisar et. al., 2015). Turmeric was ginger-like plant grows through underground rhizomes (Chattopadhyay et. al., 2004). As for domestic remedies, turmeric able to heal wounds inflammation, digestives ailments and jaundice (Nisar et. al., 2015). ...
... Natural product as antifungals such as neem and turmeric were essential for they were easily available and had been widely known to give various benefits. Human had been using plants for remedies since years ago especially from the tropical region (Chattopadhyay et. al., 2004). Hence, providing safe natural antifungal ingredients. ...
Sea Turtle Egg Fusariosis (STEF) is an emerging disease caused by Fusarium species. This soil-borne pathogenic fungus had been infecting turtle eggs worldwide, consequently, reducing their hatching success. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to obtain the natural antifungal products that could inhibit Fusarium species and effectively be applied to the nests. All Fusarium species were obtained from Laboratory for Pest, Disease and Microbial Biotechnology (LAPDiM) culture collection originally isolated from eggs and soils of different hatcheries in Pahang and Terengganu. The cultures were subcultured on Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) as working plates. Three species of Fusarium were selected; F. falciforme, F. oxysporum and F. proliferatum. Antifungal assay by applying turmeric and neem ethanol-based was following the poison plate technique. The concentration of natural antifungal products used were 10%, 20% and 30%, with four replicates each. Observation of growth and inhibition percentage were collected every two days for eight consecutive days. Inhibition percentage was calculated using a formula; control plate diameter growth - tested antifungal plate diameter growth/control plate diameter growth x 100%. Since F. oxysporum was found to be the most abundant, it was tested for sand inoculation technique. Spore suspension with 2.4 – 4.5 x106 inoculum concentration was prepared and pipetted into the universal bottles of damp sterilised sand. Then turmeric and neem were added after a week of fungi incubation, and colony-forming unit (CFU) counting was performed. Results from the poison plate showed that 10% of turmeric was greater than other treatments to inhibit Fusarium. However, sand inoculation showed that neem was the greatest result in inhibiting Fusarium. In conclusion, both neem and turmeric could inhibit Fusarium species and had the potential to reduce STEF issues at the turtle nesting sites. Nevertheless, there is more research work to understand this antifungal to aid sea turtle conservation management.
... The pharmacological effects of curcumin include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, anticoagulant, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antifibrotic, antivenom, antiulcer, anti-tumor, anti-amyloid, hypotensive, hepatoprotective, and hypocholesteremic activities [7], [20], [28], [29]. These properties of curcumin help to control and prevent neurological, lung, cardiovascular, auto immune, metabolic and other inflammatory diseases [9], [30]. The anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically exploited to control rheumatism, carcinogenesis and oxidative stress-related pathogenesis [14]. ...
... The anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant roles may be clinically exploited to control rheumatism, carcinogenesis and oxidative stress-related pathogenesis [14]. Clinically, curcumin has already been used to reduce post-operative inflammation [9]. Curcumin can also be used for treating several neurodegenerative diseases [19]. ...
Curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is a polyphenol that helps to prevent and control many diseases and even certain cancers. However, curcumin has drawbacks such as low water-solubility, poor absorption, fast metabolism, quick systemic elimination, and low bioavailability. These drawbacks can be overcome by synthesizing nanocurcumin. In this research, nanocurcumin was synthesized using the curcumin extracted from locally cultivated raw turmeric rhizomes. Soxhlet extraction with ethanol was used to extract curcumin. Nanocurcumin was synthesized by using stock solutions of different curcumin concentrations prepared in dicholomethane, added to boiling water at different rates and sonicated for different time intervals. An average particle size of 82 ± 04 nm was obtained with 5.00 mg/mL stock solution concentration, at 0.10 mL/min flow rate and 30 min sonication time. The particle size tends to increase with the flow rate and stock solution concentration but decreases with the sonication time. Fourier-transform infrared spectra confirm the presence of all the functional groups of curcumin in nanocurcumin. According to the in vitro antibacterial assay, nanocurcumin showed better antibacterial activity against gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative Escherichia coli bacteria than curcumin, with over 40% increase in the inhibition zones. The antibacterial creams formulated using curcumin and nanocurcumin show preserved antibacterial activity even after a storage period of one month.
... Sus rizomas tienen múltiples aplicaciones, entre las cuales se puede citar su uso en la industria de alimentos como especia saborizante, colorante y conservante; en medicina tradicional como anticancerígeno, antiinflamatorio, antioxidante, antiparasitario, antiviral, antiséptico, estomático, tónico y purificador de la sangre (Chattopadhyay et al. 2004, John et al. 1997, antibacterial, anticoagulante, antidiabético, antifibrótico, antifúngico, antimutagénico e hipocolesterolémico (Chattopadhyay et al. 2004, Scartezzini y Speroni 2000; también tiene usos industriales como aromatizante, en la elaboración de cosméticos, como ornamental, en la protección de cultivos, tintura natural, y más recientemente se ha evaluado, con mucho éxito, el potencial de sus extractos como controlador de plagas (resultados propios). Lo anterior, sin que se registren actividades tóxicas, mutagénicas o reacciones farmacológicas adversas a la fecha. ...
... Sus rizomas tienen múltiples aplicaciones, entre las cuales se puede citar su uso en la industria de alimentos como especia saborizante, colorante y conservante; en medicina tradicional como anticancerígeno, antiinflamatorio, antioxidante, antiparasitario, antiviral, antiséptico, estomático, tónico y purificador de la sangre (Chattopadhyay et al. 2004, John et al. 1997, antibacterial, anticoagulante, antidiabético, antifibrótico, antifúngico, antimutagénico e hipocolesterolémico (Chattopadhyay et al. 2004, Scartezzini y Speroni 2000; también tiene usos industriales como aromatizante, en la elaboración de cosméticos, como ornamental, en la protección de cultivos, tintura natural, y más recientemente se ha evaluado, con mucho éxito, el potencial de sus extractos como controlador de plagas (resultados propios). Lo anterior, sin que se registren actividades tóxicas, mutagénicas o reacciones farmacológicas adversas a la fecha. ...
Curcuma longa L. es una especie cuya composición química la hace atractiva al mercado, ya que además de los pigmentos, utilizados como colorante y medicinal, contiene cetonas y alcoholes que le dan sabor al rizoma, por tanto es utilizado como especia. La propagación de C. longa se realiza principalmente por vía asexual, con bajas tasas de propagación, además los rizomas son vulnerables a enfermedades, dificultando su almacenamiento. El cultivo de tejidos vegetales brinda entre otras alternativas, la producción de microrrizomas, facilitando el manejo en invernadero y campo, el transporte, intercambio y la conservación. El objetivo de este trabajo fue introducir y multiplicar in vitro plantas de C. longa, e inducir la formación de microrrizomas. Después de estandarizar el protocolo de desinfección, para los ápices establecidos se evaluó la altura y coeficiente de multiplicación como índice de respuesta a diferentes concentraciones de bencilaminopurina. Para la inducción de microrrizomas se usaron vitroplantas de 10 cm, evaluando la formación de estos, el número promedio y características morfológicas. Los resultados obtenidos sugieren que el medio MS con 2 mg/l de bencilaminopurina (BAP) es adecuado para producir buena cantidad y calidad de nuevas plantas. Condiciones de oscuridad y la concentración de sacarosa por encima de 60 g/l fueron factores determinantes en la inducción de los microrrizomas.
... Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is an important rhizomatous spice crop popularly called Indian saffron. Its widely consumed as a food ingredient besides its range of biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-angiogenic properties due to the presence of curcumin (Chattopadhyay et al. 2004;Li et al. 2009;Verma et al. 2019). Therefore, the use of turmeric and its value-added products is globally accepted. ...
2023): Bacterial derived biopolymer to alleviate nutrient stress and yield enhancement in turmeric (Curcumalonga L.) by mediating physiology and rhizosphere microbes on poor soils of semi-arid tropics, Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, ABSTRACT Biopolymers (BP) are the unexploited eco-friendly microbial derivatives which regulate soil moisture and nutrient mobility. Therefore, a field experiment was conducted for two years (2017-18 and 2018-19) to determine the beneficial effects of BP in reducing nutrient stress and yield enhancement in turmeric. The study was laid out in a split-plot design with each of four levels of nutrients (control, 50%, 75%, and 100% of Recommended Dose of Nutrients; RDN) and BP (0, 2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 kg ha-1). Results indicated that BP application (7.5 kg ha-1) significantly improved the soil moisture content (40.31%) and microbial colonization (total microbes, N fixers, and P solubilizers). As a result, combined application BP with either 75% or 100% of RDN enhanced the photosynthesis (22.95-24.50 μmol m −2 s −1) and lowered the canopy temperature (24.47-24.67°C) of turmeric. Thus, higher yield (7.05-7.82 t ha −1) and partial factor productivity were achieved. Supplementing BP with 100% RDN enhances the turmeric yield by up to 29-49% over 100% RDN alone. Therefore, biopolymer maintains the equivalent turmeric yield of 100% RDN even at 25-50% less nutrients in the nutrient-poor soils of semi-arid Tropics. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Therefore, discovering of new antibacterial compounds is required. Nowadays, increasing popularity of traditional medicine has led researchers to investigate the natural compounds in plants and algae [9] . Medical Importance important uses, such as algae alga Chlorella in the extraction of an antibiotic called chlorellin [10] . ...
Conference Paper
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Chlorella vulgaris is growing in either fresh water or sea water. It can provide various other nutrients including proteins, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. World production of consumable algae and algae products to be used as foods and medicines have reached thousands of tons per year. In this study, Chlorella vulgaris was collected and isolated from freshwater. The extracted of chlorella vulgaris assay was tested to investigate its efficiency against four bacterial strains (Achromobacter sp (S1), Staphylococcus sp (S2) Escherichia coli (S3), Shigella dysenteriae (S4)), and was determined by disk diffusion method. Different concentration extracts from the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris (25, 50, 75 and 100%) were used. Results showed that the 75% of the extract was highly significant against Escherichia coli and followed by concentration 25% against Achromobacter sp, however, the lowest significant against Staphylococcus sp at the concentration 100%. The antimicrobial activity of the Chlorella vulgaris extract was higher than the antibiotics used against the testes microorganisms.
... Curcumin [1,7-bis (4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl) 1,6heptadiene-3,5-dione], the main natural bioactive polyphenol of turmeric (2 to 5% by weight), possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (12,13) and may be used to increase exercise performance (14). Curcumin can inhibit the formation of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase and can indirectly reduce free radical formation (15). ...
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Introduction High-intensity exercise causes oxidative stress, muscle soreness, and muscle fatigue, leading to reduced exercise performance. Curcumin possesses antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties and thus alleviates postexercise damage. Therefore, this study evaluated the effect of curcumin on athletes’ postexercise recovery. Methods A non-randomized prospective cohort investigation was done. We recruited middle and high school athletes engaged in wrestling, soccer, and soft tennis. During the 12-week daily exercise training, the participants were assigned to receive curcumin supplementation (curcumin group) or not (control group). Body composition, exercise performance, inflammatory factors, muscle fatigue, and muscle soreness were recorded at the baseline and end of the study. We used the Mann–Whitney U test to compare the participants’ demographics, such as age, height, weight, and training years. The Wilcoxon test was used to compare the differences between the groups before and after curcumin supplementation. Results Of 28 participants (21 men and 7 women, with a mean age of 17 years), 13 were in the curcumin group and 15 in the control group. A significant decrease in muscle fatigue and muscle soreness scores was observed in the curcumin group after 12 weeks. Moreover, a significant decrease in the 8-hydroxy-2 deoxyguanosine level and a significant increase in basic metabolic rate and fat-free mass were observed in the curcumin group. Conclusion Curcumin can reduce muscle fatigue and soreness after exercise, indicating its potential to alleviate postexercise damage. It could be considered to cooperate with nutritional supplements in regular training in adolescent athletes.
... The phenolic compounds including curcuminoid dyes are the most important compounds that responsible for the antioxidant activity 11 . Each part of C. longa (such as bulb, leaves, root, barks, peels, etc.) has its own medicinal attributions 12,13 . The leaves oil of C. longa exhibits therapeutic, antibacterial, antifungal and cytotoxic properties 14 while the extracts of C. longa roots exhibit an insect repellent and antimicrobial features 15 . ...
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Curcuma longa L. rhizome extracts have polyphenolic secondary metabolites called curcuminoid and various volatile oils. These compounds exhibit wide spectrum of antibacterial activity. Ethanol and petroleum ether C. longa rhizome extracts were studied for their antibacterial action against two bacteria, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. This activity had evaluated by employing Agar Well Diffusion method. Curcuminoid was interpreted by pattern of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The ethanol extract exhibited inhibitory effects against E. coli and S. aureus at concentration 150 mg/ml with diameter of inhibition zone (23.000 ± 0.57735 and 27.000 ± 0.57735mm) respectively. On the contrary, petroleum ether extract had inhibitory effects for E. coli and S. aureus at concentration 150 mg/ml in diameter of inhibition zone (39.000 ± 0.57735 and 41.000 ± 0.57735mm) respectively. Quantitative analysis for the curcuminoid compounds from C. longa rhizome extracts revealed highest curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin (9.12, 5.93 and 23.96 µg /ml) respectively in the extract of petroleum ether. We concluded that the C. longa extracts exhibited inhibitory effects against pathological bacterial growth. The essential oils obtained by petroleum ether extract of C. longa rhizome was more influential inhibition than ethanol extract against E. coli and S. aureus.
Background: Dental caries occupies the top rank of dental and oral diseases that many Indonesians complain about. Dental caries is caused by Lactobacillus acidophilus. One of the latest treatments for caries disorders is by giving mouthwash. Mouthwash currently circulating, almost all contain chlorhexidine as the main ingredient. However, there are side effects from using chlorhexidine for a long period of time, namely discoloration of the teeth, which cannot be removed simply by brushing the teeth. Red okra fruit contains flavonoids which are useful as antibacterial. This study aimed to determine the potential of red okra fruit extract (Abelmoschus esculentus) as an antibacterial against Lactobacillus acidophilus in vitro. Methods: In vitro experimental studies. A total of 28 petri dishes contained bacterial cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus grouped into 7 groups consisting of 2 control groups and 5 treatment groups of red okra fruit extract concentration of 10% -50%. Inhibition zone diameter analysis was carried out with the help of SPSS software using univariate and bivariate methods. Results: The group that received chlorhexidine showed the highest ability to produce the largest diameter of the inhibition zone compared to all treatment groups. Along with increasing the dose of red okra fruit extract, the ability of okra fruit extract to increase in producing a larger diameter of the inhibition zone. Conclusion: Red okra fruit extract shows effectiveness as an antibacterial Lactobacillus acidophilus and increases the extract's concentration.
Background This study was conducted to assess the juvenile development, thermotolerance, and intestinal morphology of broiler chickens fed Curcuma longa in a hot-humid environment. Methods In a Completely Randomized Design, 240 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to four nutritional treatments of baseline diets supplemented with 0 (CN), 4 (FG), 8 (EG), and 12 g (TT) of turmeric powder/Kg of feed, with four replicates of fifteen birds each. Data on feed consumption and body weights were evaluated weekly during the juvenile growth phase. The physiological indicators of the birds were assessed on day 56 of their lives. The birds were subjected to thermal challenge and data were collected on their physiological traits. Eight birds were randomly selected, euthanized and dissected in each treatment, and 2 cm segments of duodenum, jejunum, and ileum were sampled for villi width, villi height, crypt depth, and the villi height: crypt depth ratio measurements. Results It was revealed that the weight gain of the birds in EG was significantly greater (p < 0.05) than that of CN birds. The birds in TT, FG, and CN had comparable but smaller duodenal villi than those in EG. The ileal crypt depth in EG chickens was smaller than in CN but comparable to the other treatment groups. In the duodenum, the villi to crypt depth ratio was in the order EG > TT > FG > CN. Conclusions To conclude, dietary supplementation of Curcuma longa powder, notably the 8 g/kg diet improved the antioxidant status, thermotolerance, and nutrient absorption by improving intestinal morphology in broiler chickens in a hot-humid environment.
The present study represents the importance of curcumin which is present in turmeric. Curcumin is belonging to the group of curcuminoids which are natural phenols responsible for turmeric yellow colour. The main constituent of this curcuminoid is it contains enormous number of therapeutic properties such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, radio protective, anti-cancer and neuro protective. Curcuminoid is used as dietary supplements, food additives, medical treatment and cosmetics. An average human should consume 2500 mg of curcumin per day to avoid the carcinogenic and cardiovascular defects. Various samples were analysed using improved HPLC method.
Information on 280 medicinal plants including botanical name, family, vernacular name, botanical descriptions, distribution, uses and method of propagation and photographs for easy identification id provided.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as O-2, H2O2 and •OH are highly toxic to cells. Cellular antioxidant enzymes, and the free-radical scavengers normally protect a cell from toxic effects of the ROS. However, when generation of the ROS overtakes the antioxidant defense of the cells, oxidative damage of the cellular macromolecules (lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids) occurs, leading finally to various pathological conditions. ROS-mediated lipid peroxidation, oxidation of proteins, and DNA damage are well-known outcomes of oxygen-derived free radicals, leading to cellular pathology and ultimately to cell death. The mechanism of ROS-mediated oxidative damage of lipids, proteins, and DNA has been extensively studied. The site-specific oxidative damage of some of the susceptible amino acids of proteins is now regarded as the major cause of metabolic dysfunction during pathogenesis. ROS have also been implicated in the regulation of at least two well-defined transcription factors which play an important role in the expression of various genes encoding proteins that are responsible for tissue injury. One of the significant benefits of the studies on ROS will perhaps be in designing of a suitable antioxidant therapy to control the ROS-mediated oxidative damage, and the disease processes.