Objective: Determination of the active fraction and compounds of the dichloromethanol extract of Schinus molle seeds and evaluation of their biological effects.
Materials and methods: Dried seeds of Schinus molle were sequentially extracted in hexane, acetyl acetate and dichloromethane. The dichloromethane extract was separated into two fractions (1 and 2) by column chromatography. Fraction 2 was further separated into its two constituent compounds which were characterized as belonging to the lanosteroid group of compounds. Both factions were tested for their analgesic, anti-inflammatory and sedative effects.
Results: The two fractions significantly increased (p<0.05) the tail flick latency though fraction 2 provided better and more long lasting protection against thermal pain. On the other hand, the anti-inflammatory effect of ibuprofen, though inferior to the anti-inflammatory effect of fraction 2 was better than the effects of fraction 1. Fraction 2 significantly (p<0.01) reduced rat paw oedema compared to the saline treatment group throughout the experiments while fraction 2 compared to fraction 1 showed significantly (p<0.01) greater inflammatory effects. On the other hand both fractions lacked significant sedative effects.
Conclusions: Given that fraction 2 had only two constituent compounds (isomasticadienonic and Masticatrienonate), one or both of these compounds should be contributing to the observed analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.