Natural products from medicinal plants have always attracted a lot of attention due to their diverse and interesting therapeutic properties. We have employed the principles of green chemistry involving isomerization, coupling and condensation reaction to synthesize a class of compounds derived from eugenol, a naturally occurring bioactive phytophenol. The compounds were characterized structurally by 1 H-, 13 C-NMR, FT-IR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry analysis. The purity of compounds was detected by HPLC. The synthesized compounds exhibited anti-cancer activity. A 10–12-fold enhancement in efficiency of drug molecules (~ 1 µM) was observed when delivered with graphene oxide (GO) as a nanovehicle. Our data suggest cell death via apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner due to increase in calcium levels in specific cancer cell lines. Interestingly, the benzoxazine derivatives of eugenol with GO nanoparticle exhibited enhanced therapeutic potential in cancer cells. In addition to anti-cancer effect, we also observed significant role of these derivatives on parasite suggesting its multi-pharmacological capability. © 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.