Cathelicidins, are host defense peptides synthesized and stored in circulating leukocytes and numerous types of epithelial tissues in particular the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and skin. They have been known for their antimicrobial activities against a variety of microbes. Recently it was discovered that they have other significant biological functions and produce appealing pharmacological actions against inflammation and cancer in the GI tract through defined mechanisms. Experimental evidence shows that these actions could be tissue and disease specific and concentration dependent. This article reviews some of the physiological functions of cathelicidins and also their therapeutic potential in the treatment of inflammation and cancer and also the delivery system for this peptide as targeted therapy for various disorders in the GI tract both in animals and humans. © 2013 Baishideng. All rights reserved.