Variation on Composition and Bioactivity of Essential Oils of Four Common Curcuma Herbs

Lanyue Zhang, Zhiwen Yang, Dingkang Chen, Zebin Huang, Yongliang Li, Xinzi Lan, Ping Su, Wanyi Pan, Wei Zhou, Xi Zheng, Zhiyun Du

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Chemical compositions, antioxidative, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic activities of essential oils extracted from four common Curcuma species (Curcuma longa, Curcuma phaeocaulis, Curcuma wenyujin, and Curcuma kwangsiensis) rhizomes in P. R. China are comparatively studied. In total, 47, 49, 35, and 30 compounds are identified in C. longa, C. phaeocaulis, C. wenyujin, and C. kwangsiensis essential oils by GC/MS, and their richest compounds are ar-turmerone (21.67%), elemenone (19.41%), curdione (40.23%) and (36.47%), respectively. Moreover, C. kwangsiensis essential oils display the strongest DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) radical-scavenging activity (IC50, 3.47 μg/ml), much higher than ascorbic acid (6.50 μg/ml). C. phaeocaulis oils show the best antibacterial activities against Escherichia coli (MIC, 235.54 μg/ml), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (391.31 μg/ml) and Staphylococcus aureus (378.36 μg/ml), while C. wenyujin and C. kwangsiensis oils show optimum activities against Candida albicans (208.61 μg/ml) and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (193.27 μg/ml), respectively. C. phaeocaulis (IC50, 4.63 μg/ml) and C. longa essential oils (73.05 μg/ml) have the best cytotoxicity against LNCaP and HepG2, respectively. C. kwangsiensis oils also exhibit the strongest anti-inflammatory activities by remarkably down-regulating expression of COX-2 and TNF-α. Therefore, due to their different chemical compositions and bioactivities, traditional Chinese Curcuma herbs should be differentially served as natural additives for food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1700280
JournalChemistry and Biodiversity
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


  • Curcuma essential oil
  • anti-inflammatory activities
  • antimicrobial activities
  • antioxidant activities
  • antitumor activities

Cite this

Zhang, L., Yang, Z., Chen, D., Huang, Z., Li, Y., Lan, X., Su, P., Pan, W., Zhou, W., Zheng, X., & Du, Z. (2017). Variation on Composition and Bioactivity of Essential Oils of Four Common Curcuma Herbs. Chemistry and Biodiversity, 14(11), [e1700280].