Medicinal herbs’ use and effectiveness in treating various diseases have received attention in recent years. Extensive research has been conducted on the extraction and examination of herbal compounds’ properties in treating diseases, including cancer. It will provide detailed mechanisms of drug performance of these compounds. Curcumin, an effective ingredient of the turmeric plant with the scientific name “longa Curcuma,” is one of the many medicinal herbs.
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is a natural medicinal compound that has been shown in pre-clinical and clinical studies to have anti-cancer properties. Curcumin’s anti-cancer attributes include the inhibition of carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, and tumour growth. Curcumin may help treat several ailments in Asian medicine. Curcumin has attracted the interest of researchers throughout the world due to its medicinal properties.
Effects of curcumin on cancer treatments
Several investigations on the biological effects of curcumin has gone in recent years. Curcumin has demonstrated varied effects on cancer treatments in over 3000 studies published recently. It possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and pro-apoptotic properties. Hence, Curcumin has a lot of promise for treating neurological illnesses, arthritis, intestinal inflammation, renal poisoning, Alzheimer’s, depression, cardiovascular disease, and, cancer. Curcumin’s many varied effects in defining the cellular targets and molecular mechanisms involved in curcumin pathways have piqued researchers’ interest.
Therapeutic applications of curcumin
Curcumin is a complex chemical with a wide range of therapeutic applications. Due to its ability to interact with various molecules and control multiple biochemical pathway, it is effective. Curcumin is a multidimensional molecule with multiple therapeutic properties. It it has the ability to interact with various molecules and regulate numerous molecular pathways and their objectives. One of the appealing properties of curcumin that makes it suitable for therapeutic use is its low toxicity, which means that even a dose of 10 g per day does not cause any side effects. Curcumin consumption at high doses prevents cancer cells from multiplying while causing no harm to healthy cells.
Anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory
Curcumin has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have found that curcumin compounds can either prevent the formation and spread of tumors or reduce their size. Several mechanisms mediate curcumin’s anti-cancer properties. So, curcumin inhibits and suppresses cancer cell proliferation by reducing the modulation of anti-apoptotic gene products, activating caspase, and upregulating cancer-suppressive genes.
Effective chemical in cancer treatment
Natural plant-derived compounds are widely used in cancer treatment due to their low toxicity and numerous therapeutic effects. Natural compounds target various cellular and molecular aspects of cancer cells. Researchers have shown curcumin to regulate signaling pathways in cancer cells, reduce the expression of proteins associated with drug resistance, and improve the performance of anti-tumour drugs at multiple levels. Hence, curcumin reverses drug resistance mechanisms, making chemotherapy-resistant cells more sensitive. In several clinical studies, curcumin was an effective chemical in cancer treatment.
Reduces the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy
Curcumin was studied in 2014 for its ability to reduce the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in patients with ovarian, lung, colon, liver, kidney, and stomach cancers. Eighty patients took 500 mg of curcumin along with radiotherapy. This investigation lasted 60 days. Patients who received both radiotherapy and curcumin experienced fewer side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, and weight loss. Skin lesions, mouth and throat ulcers, swallowing problems, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, and common medications required to treat side effects were statistically lower in patients receiving radiotherapy and curcumin simultaneously than in the control group. (Study Source)
According to laboratory studies on colorectal cancer cellular categories, curcumin inhibits cell growth and stimulates apoptosis by interacting with several molecular targets. Curcumin has also been used in dietary formulations to prevent colon cancer. These compounds have been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro and in vivo for colon cancer and inflammation. Thus, curcumin appears to be effective in preventing colorectal cancer in animals, according to the findings of this study.
In humans, this property offers promising prospects. Because of the small number of human clinical studies, the results are somewhat contradictory. Curcumin can also induce autophagy, apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest, reducing lung cancer cell survival and proliferation. By targeting various signaling pathways, curcumin can improve radiotherapy’s efficacy in treating lung cancer.
Inhibits and controls cancers with other treatments
According to studies, curcumin with other treatments may inhibit and control cancers, improve clinical symptoms, and prevent tumour spread and metastasis. Thus, this compound inhibits vasodilation, cell proliferation, and metastasis by affecting multiple molecular pathways.
Curcumin has increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It has resulted in increased patient survival time and increased expression of anti-metastatic proteins. Curcumin also reduces the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which improves patients’ quality of life. Several studies have found that curcumin also decreases tumour marker concentrations.