Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi in collaboration with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, have developed a new route by which curcumin – the medicinal chemical present in turmeric; can be incorporated into drugs through its nano-formulations, making medicinal use of turmeric more efficacious.

These findings have been published by principal investigator Dr. Prem Felix Siril, Associate Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi in association with research scholars Kajal Sharma and Dr. Bidisha Das of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, recently in international journal -Crystal Growth and Design- a journal of The American Chemical Society.

Turmeric has been an integral condiment of food in India since long for its medicinal value as curcumin – a low-molecular-weight compound present in turmeric has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative (tending to inhibit cell growth) and anti-angiogenic properties. The curcumin is used in the drugs for treating diseases like cancer, cardiovascular problems and neurodegenerative disorders.

But, it is non- soluble in water and does not reach tissues and cells easily, not using its optimum potential in human body, moreover, free curcumin is unstable and susceptible to fragmentation with passage of time.

Dr. Siril and his team have identified the reason for the water insolubility of curcumin and suggested it can be incorporated in stable drug formulations for better therapeutic uses. 

He said, “Solid-state phase transformation of such molecules to relatively less stable and more aqueous soluble amorphous form is a well-adapted formulation technique in pharmaceutical research and we have used indomethacin, a well-known nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to precipitate along with curcumin in order to stabilize it in amorphous form to improve therapeutic benefits of both curcumin and indomethacin.”

Additionally, “ we have coated each tiny particle (nanoparticle) of co-amorphous curcumin and indomethacin with a natural polymer called chitosan, which is extracted from shells of shrimps, a process which prevent it from sticking to each other and forming crystals” , he added .

Member of the research team Ms Kajal said, “This is expected to increase the chances of direct nanoparticle absorption through the intestine after oral intake and safe delivery of curcumin to the desirable part with minimal aqueous exposure as the particles have not re-crystallized in the lab for more than a year.” nt-family:Arial;color:black’>Additionally, “ we have coated each tiny particle (nanoparticle) of co-amorphous curcumin and indomethacin with a natural polymer called chitosan, which is extracted from shells of

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