Plants have been one of the important sources of medicines even since the dawn of human civilization. In spite of tremendous development in the field of allopathy during the 20th century, plants still remain one of the major sources of drug in the modern as well as traditional system of medicine throughout the world. Over 60% of all pharmaceuticals are plant-based. Curcuma longa Linn. commonly known as Haldi, family Zingiberaceae is an important cultivated medicinal crop of India. It is well known throughout the country. Turmeric is a holistic gift of nature. Its use in medication, culinary and cosmetics is well known since centuries. Its constituents, especially curcumin has been found to possess tremendous therapeutic potency to the extent of incorporating the curcumin nucleus in many other compounds. It is official in various pharmacopoeias. The present study is a review on a description of its various pharmacological actions studied earlier and in the recent times. It has been found to posses a myriad therapeutic activities ranging from anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-hepatotoxic, anti-microbial, anti-depressant etc. to the more recent chemo-preventive, anti-fertility, neuroprotective, HIV-1 and HIV-2 protease inhibitor, and many more. More stress needs to be given for the application of various techniques to enhance the yield of such phytoconstituents. Tissue culture techniques lead to the improvement in therapeutically active constituents of Curcuma longa. Although these studies can exploit therapeutic potential of drug but further studies are required to get its maximum utility.
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