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Halloysite nanotubes were explored as drug carrier for cardanol, which is considered as a promising natural anticancer active species. To this aim, besides the pristine nanoclay, a chemical modification of the nanocarrier was performed by attaching triazolium salts with different hydrophobicity at the outer surface of the hollow nanotubes. The interaction between cardanol and nanotubes was highlighted in solution by HPLC. This method proved the loading of the drug into the nanotubes. The solid dried complexes formed by pristine and modified halloysite with the cardanol were characterized by IR spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis as well as water contact angle to evidence the structure, thermal properties and wettability of the obtained materials. The kinetics of cardanol release as well as cell viability experiments provided promising results that put forward a new strategy for potential applications of cardanol as active antiproliferative molecule and clay nanotubes as drug carrier.