Stable, water extractable isothiocyanates from Moringa oleifera leaves attenuate inflammation in vitro

Phytochemistry. 2014 Jul;103:114-122. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.03.028. Epub 2014 Apr 11.


Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) is an edible plant used as both a food and medicine throughout the tropics. A moringa concentrate (MC), made by extracting fresh leaves with water, utilized naturally occurring myrosinase to convert four moringa glucosinolates into moringa isothiocyanates. Optimum conditions maximizing MC yield, 4-[(α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate, and 4-[(4'-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate content were established (1:5 fresh leaf weight to water ratio at room temperature). The optimized MC contained 1.66% isothiocyanates and 3.82% total polyphenols. 4-[(4'-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate exhibited 80% stability at 37°C for 30 days. MC, and both of the isothiocyanates described above significantly decreased gene expression and production of inflammatory markers in RAW macrophages. Specifically, both attenuated expression of iNOS and IL-1β and production of nitric oxide and TNFα at 1 and 5 μM. These results suggest a potential for stable and concentrated moringa isothiocyanates, delivered in MC as a food-grade product, to alleviate low-grade inflammation associated with chronic diseases.

Keywords: 4-[(4′-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate; 4-[(α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl]isothiocyanate; Chronic inflammation; Isothiocyanates; Moringa oleifera; Moringaceae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Isothiocyanates / chemistry*
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Moringa oleifera
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Water
  • isothiocyanic acid
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II