Background: Myristica fragrans Houtt. is one of the spices that has long been used for treatment of various disorders. M. fragrans is known as Chan-thet and its three parts i.e. wood, seed (nutmeg) and aril (mace), are ingredients in various Thai traditional remedies such as anti-pyretic, anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory remedies
Objective: To investigate the biological activities of ethanolic extracts obtained from wood, nutmeg and mace of M. fragrans according to the uses in Thai traditional medicine follow as: anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antioxidant activities.
Material and method: Three parts of M. fragrans (wood, nutmeg and mace) were macerated with 95% ethanol. The extracts were examined for anti-inflammatory activity by determination of inhibitory effect on LPS induced nitric oxide production release in RAW 264.7 cell lines, anti-oxidant activity by inhibitory effect on PMA-induce superoxide radical in DMSO differentiated from HL-60 cells, and anti-allergic activity by determining inhibitory activity of β-hexosaminidase release on RBL-2H3 cells.
Results: The ethanolic extract of wood presented potent anti-inflammatory activity more than nutmeg and mace (IC50 values = 40.26+0.58, 65.42+4.95 and 75.40+4.14 μg/ml, respectively). Nutmeg and mace showed high anti-oxidant activity while wood showed moderate activity (IC50 values = 21.164+1.03, 28.897+0.39 and 71.830+1.33 μg/ml, respectively). The extracts obtained from the three parts (wood, nutmeg and mace) showed strong anti-allergic activity (IC50 values = 13.29+0.28, 20.90+1.03 and 12.95+0.89 μg/ml respectively).
Conclusion: The extracts obtained from wood of M. fragrans showed high anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic activities but moderate anti-oxidant. The extracts of nutmeg and mace presented high anti-oxidant and anti-allergic activities but less antiinflammatory activity. Therefore, extract of wood should be selected for treatment of diseases that related with inflammation while the extracts of nutmeg and/or mace should be used as an antioxidant. Finally, extracts of all 3 parts of M. fragrans could be used for allergy-related diseases because all parts showed potent activity in anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant roles. However, the further study should be performed in animal models for investigation of each activity of active compounds following bioassay guided isolation.