IUPAC Name : (1E,6E)-1,7-Bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)hepta-1,6-diene-3,5-dione
Chemistry : Curcumin (C21H20O6), a diarylheptanoid, is a bright yellow natural curcuminoid insoluble in water and ether but soluble in alcohol and acetic acid. The molecular weight of this phenolic compound is 368.38 g/mol whereas melting point is recorded to 183 °C. It is biosynthesized in the plants by phenylalanine and malonyl-CoA.
Occurrence : It is mainly found in the members of Zingiberaceae family. It is a major constituent of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) and also found in other plants including ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe).
Biological importance : Various researches confirmed its role as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent. It was found to block the formation of ROS, inhibit cyclooxygenases, and disrupt cell signal transduction via inhibiting protein kinase C. It inhibits tumor cell proliferation and suppression of chemically induced carcinogenesis and tumor growth. Nowadays, it is available in the market as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavoring, and food coloring agent.