Objectives: Ephedra nebrodensis (Ephedraceae) presents a wide range of biological activities. It is used to treat respiratory problems and hepatic pathologies in traditional medicine. The aim of this study is to evaluate the antioxidant, in vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of two hydro-alcoholic extracts of E. nebrodensis in mice.
Materials and methods: The antioxidant capacity of hydro-methanolic (HM) and hydro-ethanolic (HE) extracts of E. nebrodensis was evaluated via assays of their superoxide radical scavenging capacity and ferrous ion chelating activity. The in vitro anti-inflammatory activity of the extracts (5, 10, and 20 mg/kg) was also determined using the bovine serum albumin denaturation test. Croton oil-induced ear edema was then employed to evaluate the in vivo anti-inflammatory effect of the extracts (200 and 400 mg/kg). Finally, the analgesic activity of the extracts (200 and 400 mg/kg) was determined by the acetic acid-induced torsion test.
Results: The hydro-alcoholic extracts of E. nebrodensis present significant antioxidant activity. The HE and HM could inhibit protein denaturation by 82.99%±20.21% and 56.25%±2.12%, respectively. The extracts (HM and HE) also show strong anti-inflammatory effects in vivo and could reduce ear edema by 70.37%±2.00% and 72.22%±1.94%, respectively. The HM extract (72.51%±2.43%) demonstrates greater pain inhibitory effects than HE (70.76%±2.58%).
Conclusion: The hydro-alcoholic extracts of E. nebrodensis produce antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects. These results confirm the traditional use of the herb in the treatment of various diseases.
Keywords: Ephedra nebrodensis; analgesic test; anti-inflammatory activity; antioxidant capacity; hydro-alcoholic extracts.