Curcumin Supplementation and Human Disease: A Scoping Review of Clinical Trials

Timothy M. Panknin, Carol L. Howe, Meg Hauer, Bhanu Bucchireddigari, Anthony M. Rossi, Janet L. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Medicinal properties of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.), a plant used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, are attributed to its polyphenolic curcuminoids, where curcumin predominates. Although “curcumin” supplements are a top-selling botanical with promising pre-clinical effects, questions remain regarding biological activity in humans. To address this, a scoping review was conducted to assess human clinical trials reporting oral curcumin effects on disease outcomes. Eight databases were searched using established guidelines, yielding 389 citations (from 9528 initial) that met inclusion criteria. Half focused on obesity-associated metabolic disorders (29%) or musculoskeletal disorders (17%), where inflammation is a key driver, and beneficial effects on clinical outcomes and/or biomarkers were reported for most citations (75%) in studies that were primarily double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled trials (77%, D-RCT). Citations for the next most studied disease categories (neurocognitive [11%] or gastrointestinal disorders [10%], or cancer [9%]), were far fewer in number and yielded mixed results depending on study quality and condition studied. Although additional research is needed, including systematic evaluation of diverse curcumin formulations and doses in larger D-RCT studies, the preponderance of current evidence for several highly studied diseases (e.g., metabolic syndrome, osteoarthritis), which are also clinically common, are suggestive of clinical benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4476
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Curcuma longaL
  • curcumin
  • curcuminoids
  • dietary supplement
  • human clinical trials
  • turmeric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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