Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and apoptotic activities of four plant species used in folk medicine in the Mediterranean basin

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2012 Jan;25(1):65-72.


The aim of this research was to study the potential anti-inflammatory activity of myrtle (Myrtus communis), sarsaparilla (Smilax aspera), Arabian or French lavender (Lavandula stoechas), and calamint (Calamintha nepeta) along with their apoptotic effects on the pro-inflammatory cells, and the correlation of these effects with the plants' potential anti-oxidant activity. Myrtle extract exhibited the highest inhibitory activity in the paw oedema induced by carrageenan (60% at 3 h), whereas calamint, lavender, and sarsaparilla produced inhibitions of 49%, 38%, and 47%, respectively. None of them had an effect on the TPA-induced ear oedema. Moreover, all the extracts except sarsaparilla showed different degrees of anti-oxidant activity. Lavender and myrtle at 200 μg/mL decreased cell viability by 63% and 59%, respectively, after 3 h of incubation. Neutrophil elimination through apoptosis could be implicated in the resolution of acute inflammation in the case of lavender, whereas the reduction of reactive oxygen species produced by neutrophils, such as the superoxide anion and the hydroxyl radical, could be implicated in the overall reduction of inflammation. These results may support the traditional use of these plants.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Lamiaceae / chemistry
  • Lavandula / chemistry
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Mice
  • Myrtus / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Smilax / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts