Curcumin is a polyphenol compound extracted from the rhizome of Curcuma longa Linn (family Zingiberaceae) commonly used as a spice to color and flavor food. Several preclinical studies have suggested beneficial roles for curcumin as an adjuvant therapy in free radical-based diseases, mainly neurodegenerative disorders. Indeed, curcumin belongs to the family of hormetins and the enhancement of the cell stress response, mainly the heme oxygenase-1 system, is actually considered the common denominator for this dual response. However, evidence-based medicine has clearly demonstrated the lack of any therapeutic effect of curcumin to contrast the onset or progression of neurodegeneration and related diseases. Finally, the curcumin safety profile imposes a careful analysis of the risk/benefit balance prior to proposing chronic supplementation with curcumin.
- Heme oxygenase