© 2015 Elsevier B.V.Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a popular Indian spice that has been used for centuries in herbal medicines for the treatment of a variety of ailments such as rheumatism, diabetic ulcers, anorexia, cough and sinusitis. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is the main curcuminoid present in turmeric and responsible for its yellow color. Curcumin has been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anticoagulant and anti-infective effects. This review summarizes and discusses recently published papers on the key biomedical applications of curcumin based materials. The highlighted studies in the review provide evidence of the ability of curcumin to show the significant vitro antioxidant, diabetic complication, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, anti-cancer activities and detection of hypochlorous acid, wound healing, treatment of major depression, healing of paracentesis, and treatment of carcinoma and optical detection of pyrrole properties. Hydrophobic nature of this polyphenolic compound along with its rapid metabolism, physicochemical and biological instability contribute to its poor bioavailability. To redress these problems several approaches have been proposed like encapsulation of curcumin in liposomes and polymeric micelles, inclusion complex formation with cyclodextrin, formation of polymer-curcumin conjugates, etc.
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