Anticancer activity of the rhizomes of turmeric was evaluated in vitro using tissue culture methods and in vivo in mice using Dalton’s lymphoma cells grown as ascites form. Turmeric extract inhibited the cell growth in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells at a concentration of 0.4 mg/ml and was cytotoxic to lymphocytes and Dalton’s lymphoma cells at the same concentration. Cytotoxic effect was found within 30 min at room temperature (30°C). The active constituent was found to be ‘curcumin’ which showed cytotoxicity to lymphocytes and Dalton’s lymphoma cells at a concentration of 4 pg/ml. Initial experiments indicated that turmeric extract and curcumin reduced the development of animal tumours.