Background: Cnidoscolus tehuacanensis (Euphorbiaceae) is a endemic plant known as "bad woman"; and is localized inside the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve. It is used to counteract the effects of scorpion sting and to treat rheumatism, arthritis and hemorrhoids, but the ethnobotanical information of this plant is very scant. As well as, the chemical and biological research of this medicinal plant is very scarce. Objective: In view of the scarce chemical-pharmacological surveys available on Cnidoscolus tehuacanensis, the present study attempted to support popular knowledge about the medicinal benefits that this endemic plant offers.
Material and methods: The aerial parts of C. tehuacanensis was extracted with CHCl3:MeOH and fractionated by CC-NP on silica gel. The study was centered on the chemical composition and the in vivo anti-inflammatory activity, it was determined in two model (topic and systemic), as well as the in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, and acute toxicological properties of the crude extract and fractions was determined.
Results: Pentacyclic terpenes lupeol acetate and β-amyrin acetate were the main compounds identified in the leaves; lupeol, lupenone, β-amyrin, β-amyrenone, and betulin are minor compounds that were detected, and some polyphenols such as isoorientin and amentoflavone were detected by HPLC in the organic extract. Primary fractions containing lupeol acetate and β-amyrin acetate as main components showed significant anti-inflammatory activity. C. tehuacanensis samples did not reveal an important effect against the bacterial strains tested; in addition, the crude extract and the polar fractions demonstrated a negligible antioxidant effect.
Conclusions: Lupeol acetate and β-amyrin acetate, together with the polyphenols, are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect C. tehuacanensis leaves, an assumption that supports the popular use of this plant. The current study explored the chemical-pharmacological knowledge of a Mexican plant that to our knowledge had been, to date, scarcely reviewed.
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