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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 636053, 16 pages
Review Article

Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review

1Diabetes Research Center, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
2Fraser Lab for Diabetes Research, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada H3A 1A1

Received 4 June 2013; Revised 30 August 2013; Accepted 12 September 2013

Academic Editor: Marco Leonti

Copyright © 2013 Dong-wei Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, has been used for the treatment of diabetes in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. The active component of turmeric, curcumin, has caught attention as a potential treatment for diabetes and its complications primarily because it is a relatively safe and inexpensive drug that reduces glycemia and hyperlipidemia in rodent models of diabetes. Here, we review the recent literature on the applications of curcumin for glycemia and diabetes-related liver disorders, adipocyte dysfunction, neuropathy, nephropathy, vascular diseases, pancreatic disorders, and other complications, and we also discuss its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The applications of additional curcuminoid compounds for diabetes prevention and treatment are also included in this paper. Finally, we mention the approaches that are currently being sought to generate a “super curcumin” through improvement of the bioavailability to bring this promising natural product to the forefront of diabetes therapeutics.