Antiviral properties of Curcumin


Traditionally in Ayurvedic literature turmeric has been recommended to get relief from cold and flu like conditions. It is known for its an anti-inflammatory effects, Curcumin has been shown in the last two decades to be a potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells. Curcumin can also downregulate the expression of various proinflammatory cytokines including TNF, IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, and chemokines, most likely through inactivation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB.1


Effect of Curcumin against spread of virus

In vitro lab studies have demonstrated effectiveness of Curcumin in controlling growth and spread of enveloped virus such as influenza virus.

This study demonstrates a novel mechanism by which curcumin inhibits the infectivity of enveloped viruses. In all analyzed enveloped viruses, including the influenza virus, curcumin inhibited plaque formation.

The data provide insights on the molecular antiviral mechanisms of curcumin and its potential use as an antiviral agent for enveloped viruses.2


Effect of Curcumin on influenza virus

In-vitro studies with Curcumin have shown strong activity against HA receptor binding activity which is crucial for infection and spread of influenza virus. Further Curcumin also suppress the Nf-Kb activation resulting in down regulation of proinflammatory cytokines. Additionally virus could not develop resistance.

In this study, the anti-influenza activity of Curcumin was evaluated and results demonstrated that treatment with 30µM curcumin reduced the yield of virus by over 90% in cell culture. The EC50 determined using plaque reduction assays was approximately 0.47 µM (with a selective index of92.5). Time of drug addition experiments demonstrated curcumin had a direct effect on viral particle Infectivity that was reflected by the inhibition of haemagglutination; this effect was observed in H1N1 as well as in H6N1 subtype.3





  • J Clin Immunol. 2007 Jan;27(1):19-35.
  • PLoS One. 2013;8(5):e62482.
  • Food Chemistry 119 (2010) 1346–1351



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