Curcumin: A novel non-steroidal contraceptive with antimicrobial properties

Rajesh K. Naz, Morgan L. Lough, Erin K. Barthelmess

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Women face unique pathologies and challenges related to the female genital tract (FGT), including vaginal infections and gynecologic cancers. Vaginal infections faced by women include bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulvovaginal candidiasis (VC), and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Curcumin, a component of the dietary spice turmeric, has immense biological properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory/immunomodulatory, and anticancer effects. It has no side effects and is well-tolerated, making it an ideal treatment modality highly desired by women. Recently, our laboratory showed, for the first time ever, that curcumin exhibits a spermicidal and broad-spectrum microbicidal activity against several species of bacteria and yeast involved in vaginal infections. Thus, it could provide a novel, non-steroidal contraceptive having both spermicidal and microbicidal properties and can be panacea in women for treatment of several FGT pathologies, including gynecologic cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience - Elite
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Contraception
  • Curcumin
  • Female genital tract
  • Review
  • Vaginal infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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