Vasoactive and antioxidant activities of plants used in Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases

Pharm Biol. 2010 Jul;48(7):732-9. doi: 10.3109/13880200903271280.


This study demonstrated that the aqueous extracts of plants employed in Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases are able to modify the tone of arterial smooth muscle. Agastache mexicana (Kunth) Lint & Epling (Labiatae), Chenopodium murale L. (Chenopodiaceae), Chirantodendron pentadactylon Larreat (Sterculiaceae), Dracocephalum moldavica L. (Labiatae), Psittacanthus calyculatus G. Don (Loranthaceae), Prunus serotina ssp. capuli (Cav. ex Spreng) McVaugh (Rosaceae), and Sechium edule Sw. (Cucurbitaceae) contain secondary metabolites that promote vascular relaxation and display antioxidant activities. As expected, their antioxidant effects showed a significant correlation with the polyphenolics content. However, a lower correlation was found between the antioxidant activity and the maximum vasodilatory effect, suggesting that the vasodilatation elicited by the plant extracts could be only partly attributed to their antioxidant properties. The extract of P. calyculatus, which displayed a maximum vasorelaxant effect that was higher than that of acetylcholine, induced endothelium-dependent vasodilatation. Futhermore, the vasorelaxant response to the P. calyculatus extract was reduced after adding an inhibitor of soluble guanylate cyclase activity, providing evidence that the NO/cGMP pathway is involved. On the other hand, the extracts of Bocconia frutescens L. (Papaveraceae), Magnolia grandiflora L. (Magnoliaceae), and Solanum rostratum Dunal (Solanaceae) induced concentration-dependent contraction of rat aortic rings, suggesting that these plants have potential health benefits for the treatment of ailments such as venous insufficiency. The pharmacological activities of the extracts studied provide scientific support for their ethnomedical use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Aorta / metabolism
  • Biphenyl Compounds / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mexico
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Picrates / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / pharmacology*
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Picrates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl