The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of 25 plant species used traditionally to treat pain in southern African.BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 May 27; 15:159.BC
Inflammation is a common risk factor in the pathogenesis of conditions such as infections, arthritis, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity and cancer. An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used traditionally to treat inflammation and related disorders such as pain, arthritis and stomach aches in southern Africa led to the selection of 25 plant species used in this study.
The antioxidant activities of acetone extracts were determined by measuring the free radical scavenging activity and ferric reducing ability, respectively. The anti-inflammatory activities of the extracts were determined by measuring the inhibitory effect of the extracts on the activities of the pro-inflammatory enzyme, lipoxygenase and inducible nitric oxide synthase.
Extracts of Peltophorum africanum had good antioxidant activity with IC50 values of 4.67 ± 0.31 μg/mL and 7.71 ± 0.36 μg/mL compared to that of the positive control ascorbic acid (2.92 ± 0.14 μg/mL and 13.57 ± 0.44 μg/mL), using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging and 2,2'-azinobis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS) methods, respectively. The metabolism of linoleic acid to leukotriene derivatives by 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) was also inhibited by the crude acetone extracts of Peltophorum africanum (IC50 = 12.42 μg/mL), Zanthoxylum capense (IC50 = 14.92 μg/mL) compared to the positive control quercetin (IC50 = 8.75 μg/mL). There was a poor correlation between the flavonoid content and 15-LOX inhibition by the extracts (R(2) = 0.05), indicating that flavonoids are not involved in LOX inhibition. Extracts of Clausena anisata, at a concentration of 6.25 μg/mL inhibited nitric oxide production by RAW 264.7 macrophage cell lines in vitro by 96 %. The extracts of Zanthoxylum capense were the least cytotoxic (IC50 > 1000 μg/mL) when the extract toxicity was determined against Vero (African green Monkey) kidney cell lines.
Some plant species used traditionally to treat pain have reasonable anti-inflammatory activity and flavonoids are probably not involved in this process.