Curcumin: From Extraction to Therapeutic Agent

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Molecules 2014, 19, 20091-20112; doi:10.3390/molecules191220091 molecules Review The Chemistry of Curcumin: From Extraction to Therapeutic Agent Kavirayani Indira Priyadarsini Radiation & Photochemistry Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai 400085, India; E-Mail: kindira@barc.gov.in; Tel.: +91-22-25595399 External Editor: Sahdeo Prasad Received: 13 October 2014; in revised form: 25 October 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014 Abstract: Curcumin, a pigment from turmeric, is one of the very few promising natural products that has been extensively investigated by researchers from both the biological and chemical point of view. While there are several reviews on the biological and pharmacological effects of curcumin, chemistry reviews are comparatively scarcer. In this article, an overview of different aspects of the unique chemistry research on curcumin will be discussed. These include methods for the extraction from turmeric, laboratory synthesis methods, chemical and photochemical degradation and the chemistry behind its metabolism. Additionally other chemical reactions that have biological relevance like nucleophilic addition reactions, and metal chelation will be discussed. Recent advances in the preparation of new curcumin nanoconjugates with metal and metal oxide nanoparticles will also be mentioned. Directions for future investigations to be undertaken in the chemistry of curcumin have also been suggested. Keywords: curcumin; extraction; synthesis; degradation; metal chelation; nanoformulation 1. Introduction Scientific research spanning over more than four decades has confirmed the diverse pharmacological effects of curcumin and established its ability to act as a chemopreventive agent as well as a potential therapeutic agent against several chronic diseases [1–6]. Curcumin, having nearly a two centuries old scientific history, is still attracting researchers from all over the world. Starting from 1815, when curcumin was first isolated from turmeric, there were only a few reports till the 1970s on its chemical ISSN 1420-3049 www.mdpi.com/journal/molecules OPEN ACCESS

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