Curcumin is one of the major active ingredients in plants of Curcuma L. and has many pharmacological effects, such as anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, free radical scavenging, and anti-microbial effect in the cardiovascular system and digestive system, and so on. It has better clinical application and developping potential of new drug. With the development of extraction and isolation technology, there are many ways to extract refined curcumin from plants. The recent studies of curcumin extraction methods, i.e. enzyme method and supercritical CO2, separation methods, i.e. polyamide adsorption, macroporous resin adsorption, pharmacological effects of proventing cardio-cerebro-vascular and anti-tumor are reviewed to provide the basis evidence for further utilization of curcumin.