Nanocarriers: more than tour de force for thymoquinone

Charul Rathore, Michael J Rathbone, Dinesh K Chellappan, Murtaza M Tambuwala, Terezinha De Jesus A Pinto, Harish Dureja, Chetna Hemrajani, Gaurav Gupta, Kamal Dua, Poonam Negi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
354 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Thymoquinone (TQ), 2-isopropyl-5-methylbenzo-1, 4-quinone, the main active constituent of Nigella sativa (NS) plant, has been proven to be of great therapeutic aid in various in vitro and in vivo conditions. Despite the promising therapeutic activities of TQ, this molecule is not yet in the clinical trials, restricted by its poor biopharmaceutical properties including photo-instability. 

Area covered: This review compiles the different types of polymeric and lipidic nanocarriers (NCs), encapsulating TQ for their improved oral bioavailability, and augmented in vitro and in vivo efficacy, evidenced on various pathologies. Furthermore, we provide a comprehensive overview of TQ in relation to its encapsulation approaches advancing the delivery and improving the efficacy of TQ. 

Expert opinion: TQ was first identified in the essential oil of Nigella sativa L. black seed. TQ has not been used in formulations because it is a highly hydrophobic drug having poor aqueous solubility. To deal with the poor physicochemical problems associated with TQ, various NCs encapsulating TQ have been tried in the past. Nevertheless, these NCs could be impending in bringing forth this potential molecule to clinical reality. This will also be beneficial for a large research community including pharmaceutical & biological sciences and translational researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-494
Number of pages16
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number4
Early online date20 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Apr 2020


  • Nigella sativa
  • Thymoquinone
  • Nano formulations
  • Bioavailability
  • Polymeric nanoparticles
  • Lipid-based formulations


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