Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tyrosinase and phenolic contents of four Podocarpus species used in traditional medicine in South Africa.J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jul 14; 136(3):496-503.JE
Species of Podocarpus are used traditionally in their native areas for the treatment of fevers, asthma, coughs, cholera, chest complaints, arthritis, rheumatism, venereal diseases and distemper in dogs.
AIMS OF THE STUDY
To investigate the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tyrosinase activities of four Podocarpus species, Podocarpus elongatus, Podocarpus falcatus, Podocarpus henkelii and Podocarpus latifolius, used in traditional medicine in South Africa. Phytochemical analysis to determine the phenolic contents was also carried out.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
DPPH, FRAP and β-carotene-linoleic acid assays were used to determine the antioxidant/radical scavenging activities of these species. Anti-inflammatory activity of these species was assayed against two cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2). Tyrosinase inhibition activity was analysed using the modified dopachrome method with l-DOPA as the substrate. Phenolics were quantitatively determined using spectrophotometric methods.
Stems of Podocarpus latifolius exhibited the lowest EC(50) (0.84 μg/ml) inhibition against DPPH. The percentage antioxidant activity based on the bleaching rate of β-carotene ranged from 96% to 99%. High ferric reducing power was observed in all the extracts. For COX-1, the lowest EC(50) value was exhibited by stem extracts of Podocarpus elongatus (5.02 μg/ml) and leaf extract of Podocarpus latifolius showed the lowest EC(50) against COX-2 (5.13 μg/ml). All extracts inhibited tyrosinase activity in a dose-dependent manner with stem extract of Podocarpus elongatus being the most potent with an EC(50) value of 0.14 mg/ml. The total phenolic content ranged from 2.38 to 6.94 mg of GAE/g dry sample.
The significant pharmacological activities observed support the use of these species in traditional medicine and may also be candidates in the search for modern pharmaceuticals in medicine, food and cosmetic industries.