Robert W. Hu, Elizabeth J. Carey, Keith D. Lindor, James H. Tabibian
Curcumin, an aromatic phytoextract from the turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizome, has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, not the least of which is medicinal. A growing body of evidence suggests that curcumin has a broad range of potentially therapeutic pharmacological properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, and anti-neoplastic effects, among others. Clinical applications of curcumin have been hampered by quality control concerns and limited oral bioavailability, although novel formulations appear to have largely overcome these issues. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies have found that curcumin's cytoprotective and other biological activities may play a role in an array of benign and malignant hepatobiliary conditions, including but not limited to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cholestatic liver disease (e.g. primary sclerosing cholangitis), and cholangiocarcinoma. Here we provide an overview of fundamental principles, recent discoveries, and potential clinical hepatobiliary applications of this pleiotropic phytocompound.
Key words. Phytotherapy., Complementary medicine., Liver diseases., Antioxidants.