Curcumin (Turmeric): A Carcinogenic, Miscarriage and Cirrhosis Causing Agent

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Memoona Zahra
Faheem Hadi
Tahir Maqbool
Humaira Sultana
Farah Abid
Muhammad Adeel Aslam
Mukhtiar Ahmad
Shah Muhammad
Muhammad Qideer ul Hassan


Background: Curcumin, a compound derived from the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa), has been historically used in Asian cuisine and traditional medicine. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is believed to have therapeutic potential in various inflammatory and oxidative conditions. However, concerns have emerged regarding its safety at higher doses, particularly its potential carcinogenic, reproductive, and hepatotoxic effects.

Objective: The objective of this review was to evaluate the potential adverse effects of curcumin, focusing on its carcinogenic, reproductive, and hepatotoxic properties, as well as general side effects observed at different dosages.

Methods: A comprehensive search was conducted using electronic databases such as PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science to identify peer-reviewed articles published up to the date of this review. The search terms included "curcumin," "turmeric," "carcinogenic," "miscarriage," "hepatotoxicity," and related keywords. Studies were included if they investigated the biological effects of curcumin in vitro, in vivo, and in clinical settings, specifically addressing its adverse effects. Data were extracted on study design, sample size, dosage, duration of curcumin administration, observed adverse effects, and conclusions. Quality assessment of the studies was performed using standardized tools appropriate for different study designs. The data were synthesized qualitatively and presented in a narrative format, with tables summarizing key characteristics and results.

Results: The review included numerous studies that reported adverse effects of curcumin at higher doses. Curcumin was found to cause DNA damage and chromosomal aberrations at doses of 10 µg/mL in vitro (1), and impaired tumor suppressor p53 function in colon cancer cells (2). Reproductive toxicity was observed with significant decreases in sperm motility, capacitation, and fertilization rates at concentrations of 5-50 µM (3). Embryo mortality in zebrafish occurred at 7.5 µM and 12.5 µM (4). Hepatotoxicity was reported in clinical cases of severe hepatitis linked to curcumin intake (7), and animal studies showed liver toxicity at dietary levels exceeding 30% turmeric (8). General side effects included gastrointestinal disturbances at doses of 900 to 3600 mg/day (9).

Conclusion: While curcumin has beneficial anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, its use at higher doses poses significant risks, including DNA damage, reproductive toxicity, and hepatotoxicity. These findings underscore the necessity for cautious use of curcumin, particularly in high doses and over extended periods. Future research should focus on long-term studies to establish a comprehensive benefit-risk profile for curcumin.

Article Details

How to Cite
Zahra, M., Faheem Hadi, Tahir Maqbool, Humaira Sultana, Farah Abid, Muhammad Adeel Aslam, Mukhtiar Ahmad, Shah Muhammad, & Muhammad Qideer ul Hassan. (2024). Curcumin (Turmeric): A Carcinogenic, Miscarriage and Cirrhosis Causing Agent. Journal of Health and Rehabilitation Research, 4(2), 1738–1743.
Author Biographies

Memoona Zahra, Griffith University Australia.

School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Griffith University, Australia.

Faheem Hadi, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan.

Faculty of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

Tahir Maqbool, The University of Lahore Pakistan.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, The University of Lahore, Pakistan.

Humaira Sultana, Bahawalpur College of Pharmacy Bahawalpur Pakistan.

Bahawalpur College of Pharmacy, Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

Farah Abid, University of South Asia Lahore Pakistan.

Department of Pharmacy, University of South Asia, Lahore, Pakistan.

Muhammad Adeel Aslam, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan.

Faculty of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

Mukhtiar Ahmad, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan.

Faculty of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

Shah Muhammad, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan.

Faculty of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

Muhammad Qideer ul Hassan, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan.

Faculty of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.


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