Novel biodegradable hydrogel sponge containing curcumin and honey for wound healing

J Wound Care. 2016 Jun;25(6):364-72. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2016.25.6.364.


Objective: To develop and evaluate a biodegradable superporous hydrogel based wound healing composite of chitosan and alginate incorporated with curcumin and honey.

Method: A 3(2) factorial design was adopted to optimise the honey-curcumin hydrogel composite sponge (CHS). Sodium alginate and chitosan were dissolved in deionised water and 1% aqueous acetic acid solution at room temperature, respectively. Ethanolic solution of curcumin was poured into the chitosan solution followed by an addition of sodium alginate solution. In situ polymerisation was carried out by adding acrylamide base components to the polymeric solution of curcumin. Finally, honey was added with slow stirring and a sponge was cast on a glass surface by solvent evaporation at 45ºC. The produced sponge was assessed for swelling capacity, moisture loss, tensile strength, biocompatibility, bioadhesion, biodegradation, drug diffusion and wound healing properties. The morphology of CHS was studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Results: The optimised CHS demonstrated a high swelling capacity (111.05 ± 05%), tensile strength (4323gm/mm(2)), in vitro drug diffusion (75.03 ± 3.59%/20days), bioadhesion (20 ± 0.2mg force) and ability of water vapour transmission. A rapid induction of tissue granulation and re-epithelialisation was observed. Time to complete healing (94.14 ± 1.04% wound contraction) was 7 ± 2 days.

Conclusion: This study has shown that honey-curcumin hydrogel composite sponge can be formulated by a simple mixing and in situ polymerisation method. The hydrogel base provided a dry wound bed due to excellent fluid absorption capacity. Chitosan and honey contributed to effective faster wound healing. We recommend further clinical studies of the soft sponge wound healing composite for diabetic foot or pressure ulcers.

Keywords: chitosan; curcumin; honey; hydrogel; wound healing.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology*
  • Chitosan / pharmacology*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Glucuronic Acid / pharmacology
  • Hexuronic Acids / pharmacology
  • Honey*
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate*
  • Materials Testing
  • Rats
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Tensile Strength
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*


  • Alginates
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • Chitosan
  • Curcumin