Curcumin: A Natural Herb Extract with Antiparasitic Properties

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Abstract

This short review addresses the knowledge on curcumin use against parasite infections from traditional to modern medicine. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (Curcuma longa). The extract of the rhizome of turmeric has been traditionally used against various diseases including parasitic infections. Recently, the crude extract of turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin have been explored with respect to the biological and molecular activity against many pathogens. The antioxidant, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin make it a promising natural drug to be used against bacterial, fungal, and viral agents. Antiparasitic effects of curcumin have attracted considerable attention over the last decades. Curcumin has been found to display activity against various parasites both in vitro and in vivo. However, the effects of curcumin become obvious in most cases at relatively high dose levels. The bio-molecular and cellular processes involved in curcumin effects on parasites are not sufficiently understood at present and more research in this area is inevitable to define the actual applicability of curcumin in parasite control measures and therapy. We here review the available information on the therapeutic potential of curcumin against parasites obtained from in vitro studies, animal models, and clinical trials.