ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE : Inflammation is a complex mechanism employed by the body to promote healing and restoration to normal function in the event of injury. Eleven plant species were selected in this study based on their use in traditional medicine against inflammation in South Africa.
METHODS : Hexane, acetone, ethanol, methanol and water extracts of the powdered plants were prepared and a total of fifty-five extracts were tested for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. The anti-inflammatory activity of extracts was evaluated via the 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) inhibitory and the nitric oxide (NO) inhibition assays using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 murine macrophages. Total flavonoid and total phenolic contents were determined. The antioxidant activity of the extracts was performed using radical scavenging DPPH (2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and electron reducing ABTS (2, 2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) assays.
RESULTS : The hexane extract of Typha capensis (TC) had good lipoxygenase inhibitory activity with IC50 of 4.65 µg/mL, significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that of the positive control quercetin (IC50 = 24.60). The same extract also had good nitric oxide inhibitory activity with 86% NO inhibition and cell viability of 97% at 50 µg/mL. The TC acetone extract had the best antioxidant activity with IC50 of 7.11 and 1.91 µg/mL respectively in the DPPH and ABTS assays. Following fractionation of the TC plant material, the ethyl acetate fraction had interesting antioxidant activity and the methanol/water (35%) and hexane fractions had good 15-LOX inhibitory activity. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities therefore resided in both polar and more non-polar fractions.
CONCLUSION : The acetone extract of Typha capensis and its fractions had good anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, supporting the medicinal use of this species against inflammation. Other species including Ficus elastica, Carpobrotus edulis, Cotyledon orbiculata and Senna italica also had good activity worthy of further investigation.