Enhancement of biological and pharmacological properties of an encapsulated polyphenol: Curcumin

Bwalya Angel Witika, Pedzisai Anotida Makoni, Scott Kaba Matafwali, Larry Lawrence Mweetwa, Ginnethon Chaamba Shandele, Roderick Bryan Walker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


There is a dearth of natural remedies available for the treatment of an increasing number of diseases facing mankind. Natural products may provide an opportunity to produce formulations and therapeutic solutions to address this shortage. Curcumin (CUR), diferuloylmethane; I,7-bis-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione is the major pigment in turmeric powder which has been reported to exhibit a number of health benefits including, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. In this review, the authors attempt to highlight the biological and pharmacological properties of CUR in addition to emphasizing aspects relating to the biosynthesis, encapsulation and therapeutic effects of the compound. The information contained in this review was generated by considering published information in which evidence of enhanced biological and pharmacological properties of nano-encapsulated CUR was reported. CUR has contributed to a significant improvement in melanoma, breast, lung, gastro-intestinal, and genitourinary cancer therapy. We highlight the impact of nano-encapsulated CUR for efficient inhibition of cell proliferation, even at low concentrations compared to the free CUR when considering anti-proliferation. Furthermore nano-encapsulated CUR exhibited bioactive properties, exerted cytotoxic and anti-oxidant effects by acting on endogenous and cholinergic anti-oxidant systems. CUR was reported to block Hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry into hepatic cells, inhibit MRSA proliferation, enhance wound healing and reduce bacterial load. Nano-encapsulated CUR has also shown bioactive properties when acting on antioxidant systems (endogenous and cholinergic). Future research is necessary and must focus on investigation of encapsulated CUR nano-particles in different models of human pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4244
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti-viral
  • Cancer therapy
  • Curcumin
  • Encapsulation
  • Enhanced bioavailability
  • Polyphenols
  • Sustained release
  • Targeted delivery


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