Alon Lang, Nir Salomon,  Justin C. Y. Wu, Uri Kopylov, Adi Lahat, Ofir Har-Noy, Jessica Y. L. Ching, Pui Kuan Cheong, Benjamin Avidan, Dorit Gamus, Ioannis Kaimakliotis, Rami Eliakim, Siew C. Ng, and Shomron Ben-Horin

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Aug;13(8):1444-9.e1.

PMID: 25724700



The phytochemical compound curcumin was reported to be effective in maintaining remission in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). We investigated curcumin's efficacy in inducing remission in patients with active mild-to-moderate UC.


We performed a multicenter randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 50 mesalamine-treated patients with active mild-to-moderate UC (defined by the Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index [SCCAI]) who did not respond to an additional 2 weeks of the maximum dose of mesalamine oral and topical therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to groups who were given curcumin capsules (3 g/day, n = 26) or an identical placebo (n = 24) for 1 month, with continued mesalamine. The primary outcome was the rate of clinical remission (SCCAI ≤2) at week 4. Clinical and endoscopic responses were also recorded.


In the intention-to-treat analysis, 14 patients (53.8%) receiving curcumin achieved clinical remission at week 4, compared with none of the patients receiving placebo (P = .01; odds ratio [OR], 42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-760). Clinical response (reduction of ≥3 points in SCCAI) was achieved by 17 patients (65.3%) in the curcumin group vs. 3 patients (12.5%) in the placebo group (P < .001; OR, 13.2; 95% CI, 3.1-56.6). Endoscopic remission (partial Mayo score ≤1) was observed in 8 of the 22 patients evaluated in the curcumin group (38%), compared with none of 16 patients evaluated in the placebo group (P = .043; OR, 20.7; 95% CI, 1.1-393). Adverse events were rare and comparable between the 2 groups.


Addition of curcumin to mesalamine therapy was superior to the combination of placebo and mesalamine in inducing clinical and endoscopic remission in patients with mild-to-moderate active UC, producing no apparent adverse effects. Curcumin may be a safe and promising agent for treatment of UC.