Curcumin, also known as diferuloylmethane, is a phytochemical derived from Curcuma longa[1][2]. It has many anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties following oral or topical administration[2-4]. It works by inhibiting several cell signaling pathways at multiple levels, affecting cellular enzymes like cyclooxygenase and glutathione S-transferases, immuno-modulation, and effects on angiogenesis and cell-cell adhesion[2]. It also restrains the activation of the NF-κβ factor, which plays a critical role in establishing the relation between inflammation and cancer. The anticarcinogenic properties of curcumin have been bespeaks by its inhibition in tumor initiation and proliferation[5]. The chemo preventive nature of curcumin is because of the induction of programmed cell death, i.e. apoptosis by several pathways. Curcumin decimates the cell by the following means:- caspase activation, DNA damage, the release of apoptosis-inducing factors(AIFs), inhibit growth factors and their receptors, and many more[4].

Over the past decade, several mono-targeted “smart” drugs have made an appearance in the market but with tremendous adverse effects, cost, and target only a single pathway in multi signaling disease like cancer, therefore less effective [6][7]. Unlike mono targeted ‘smart’ drugs, curcumin is multitargeted, inexpensive, non-injurious, and widely available nutraceutical for preventing and treating diseases[7]. As curcumin is highly pleiotropic, it binds by multiple forces with numerous signaling molecules to cure devilish diseases like cancer[8]. In turmeric, curcumin content is only 3%, because of which it is poorly absorbed in the bloodstream[8]. Consuming it as a tea or spice will not reap all the health benefits of curcumin[8]. However, if we take it with pepper or fats, absorption in the intestine will increase[9]. Alternatively, if curcumin was given intravenously, 100% absorption in the blood and body will occur[8]. Stage four cancer patients resistant to all kinds of other cancer therapies show disease regression after taking curcumin intravenously[10]. Curcumin IV drip therapy should be administered twice a week for 60-90 mins[10].

Studies show that when curcumin is administered along with radiotherapy, it alleviates the side effects like nausea, vomiting, throat ulcers, fatigue, weakness, etc[11]. Because curcumin is antimutagenic and anti-angiogenic, it prevents the mutations leading to cancer and ceases the formation of new blood vessels to supply tumor cells, respectively[12]. Curcumin IV therapy is beneficial for numerous cancers like breast cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer but primarily for colorectal cancer[9 [13]. The most promising evidence now is working in tandem with chemotherapy drugs, including imatinib, FOLFOX, leucovorin, 5 fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin[9]. Usually, liposome-encapsulated curcumin is administered as it improves the efficacy of the treatment[14].


  • (A) Increment in the body weight of colorectal cancer patients after diagnosis and before surgery[7][15].
  • (B) Mitigate several adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy like nausea, throat ulcers, fatigue, vomiting, etc [9].
  • (C) It alleviates the pain and inflammation in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant hormone therapies in combination with hydroxytyrosol and omega-3-fatty acids[9]16].
  • (D) Improves the quality of life[9].
  • (E) Minimizes the risk of developing cancer[9].

Despite having numerous benefits, one should be cautious while administering curcumin IV therapy because curcumin suppresses the synthesis of hepcidin which is a regulator of iron metabolism and bonds with ferric ion to form ferric-curcumin complex, therefore, inhibit the iron absorption and cause iron deficiency in a dose-dependent manner(permissible limit of curcumin is 12g/day for several months) [9][17]. Also, it can minimize the effectiveness of tamoxifen in breast cancer patients[9]. Other side effects include:-

  • (A) Gastrointestinal disturbances like loose stools, bloating, abdominal discomfort[9].
  • (B) Should not be consumed before surgery as it suppresses platelet aggregation and will cause bleeding[9].
  • (C) Short term rise in liver enzymes[9]. Pregnant or lactating women should ask a doctor before going for such therapy.

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