Open Access

The effects of Curcuma longa and curcumin on reproductive systems


Objective. Curcuma longa (C. longa) was used in some countries such as China and India for various medicinal purposes. Curcumin, the active component of C. longa, is commonly used as a coloring agent in foods, drugs, and cosmetics. C. longa and curcumin have been known to act as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagen, and anti-carcinogenic agents. Th e attempt of the present review was to give an effort on a detailed literature survey concentrated on the protective effects of C. longa and curcumin on the reproductive organs activity. Methods. The databases such as, PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Iran- Medex, were considered. The search terms were “testis” or “ovary” and “Curcuma longa”, “curcumin”, “antioxidant effect”, “anti-inflammatory effect” and “anti-cancer effect”. Results. C. longa and curcumin inhibited the production of the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and increased the caspases (3, 8 and 9) activities in HL-60 prostate cancer. Furthermore, C. longa and curcumin suppressed the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), phosphorylated signal transducers and activators of the transcription 3 (STAT) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in ovarian cancer cell line. Conclusion. C. longa and curcumin might decrease the risk of cancer and other malignant diseases in the reproductive system. C. longa and curcumin have a protective effect on the reproductive organs activity such as, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and antioxidant effects in normal cells but showed pro-apoptotic effects in the malignant cells. Therefore, different effects of C. longa and curcumin are dependent on the doses and the type of cells used in various models studied.