Clinical Evidence

Short-term Curcuminoid Supplementation for Chronic Pulmonary Complications due to Sulfur Mustard Intoxication: Positive Results of a Randomized Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trial
Drug Res. 2014. DOI:
Exposure to Sulphur Mustard (SM) during Iraq-Iran war (1980-88) not only affected the skin but also caused chronic complications in the respiratory system of civilian and army personnel. Depending upon dose and duration of exposure, chronic respiratory problems due to SM could be manifested as: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiolitis obliterans, bronchiectasis and pulmonary fibrosis.

It has been observed that severity and exacerbation of COPD symptoms is influenced by enhanced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and acute phase reactants. Hence, counterbalancing the disturbed inflammatory response and cytokine homeostasis is the potential approach in managing SM-induced pulmonary complications.

Several evidences (experimental and clinical) suggest the broad-spectrum pharmacological actions of Curcuminoids ranging from anti-inflammatory to cardioprotective to anticancer activities. It has been suggested that alleviation of inflammation is the most underlying mechanism involved in most of curcumin’s biological actions.


To investigate effects of Curcuminoids supplementation on markers of pulmonary function and systemic inflammation in SM-intoxicated subjects..

Study Design:

In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial 79 subjects suffering from documented pulmonary problems due to SM exposure were recruited and randomized to receive either Curcumin capsules 1.5 g/day or matching placebo. The Curcumin capsules contained Curcumin C3 Complex® (500 mg) and BioPerine® (5 mg) combination to be taken three times daily for 4 weeks. Biochemical analysis performed both at baseline and at the end of the trial included IL-6, IL-8, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), TNF-α, monocyte chemotactic proteins-1 (MCP-1), TGF-β and hs-CRP levels. The chest HRCT was performed as well as all participants underwent the spirometry to assess pulmonary function. This included measurement of forced expiratory volume in first second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC).

  • The results showed that there was a significant decrease in the FEV1 and FCV in subjects taking curcuminoids, showing improvement in the pulmonary function 
  • A significant decrease in serum IL-6, IL-8 TNF-α, TGF-β, MCP-1, hs-CRP and CGRP levels were seen in the curcuminoids group

Finally, it was concluded that patients suffering from chronic SM-induced pulmonary complications were benefited from short-term Curcuminoids supplementation with improvement in the pulmonary function and reduced inflammation in the pulmonary system. The study also showed that Curcumin was well tolerated in patients

These positive findings from the clinical study opened the doors for use of Curcumin in the management of respiratory diseases as an adjunct to the standard respiratory therapy in SM toxicity. This is one of the few studies which were done on the respiratory benefits of Curcumin.