Development and characterization of eucalyptol microemulsions for topic delivery of curcumin

Chi Hsien Liu*, Fu Yen Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

83 Scopus citations


Microemulsions have received great attention for applications in transdermal drug delivery. The use of curcumin for treating various skin diseases like scleroderma, psoriasis, and skin cancer was extensively reported. The solubility of curcumin in various oils, surfactants, and cosurfactants was studied herein in order to find the optimal components for a transdermal delivery vehicle. Microemulsion systems composed of eucalyptol, polysorbate 80, ethanol, and water were developed as transdermal delivery vehicles for curcumin. Effects of the microemulsion composition on transdermal curcumin delivery were studied using Franz diffusion cells. The transdermal curcumin flux, permeability coefficient, and enhancement ratio were analyzed to evaluate the effects of eucalyptol/water ratios in the microemulsions. Pseudo-ternary phase diagrams of the eucalyptol microemulsions with various surfactant/cosurfactant ratios (1 :1-1: 3) were constructed to investigate their phase behaviors. Conductivity, interfacial tension, size, and viscosity data of the microemulsions were used to characterize the physicochemical properties of transdermal vehicles. The influence of the microemulsions on skin histology and on the delivery route was analyzed using hematoxylin/eosin staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy. In conclusion, microemulsions were successfully developed for transdermal curcumin delivery after screening various components and adjusting the oil/water ratios. The curcumin permeation rate of the microemulsion developed was 15.7-fold higher than that of the control (eucalyptol only). These results indicate that an eucalyptol microemulsion system is a promising tool for the percutaneous delivery of curcumin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
JournalChemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 02 2011


  • Curcumin
  • Eucalyptol microemulsion
  • Transdermal delivery


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