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Phytother Res. 1999 Feb;13(1):78-80.

Topical antiinflammatory activity of phytosterols isolated from Eryngium foetidum on chronic and acute inflammation models.

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Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Sevilla, España.


Eryngium foetidum L. (Apiaceae) is a Caribbean endemic plant, used in folk medicine for the treatment of several antiinflammatory disorders. A preliminary phytochemical study showed that the hexane extract is rich in terpenic compounds. Chromatographic fractionation of this extract yielded: alpha-cholesterol, brassicasterol, campesterol, stigmasterol (as the main component, 95%) clerosterol, beta-sitosterol, delta 5-avenasterol, delta (5)24-stigmastadienol and delta 7-avenasterol. The topical antiinflammatory activity of the hexane extract and of stigmasterol was evaluated by auricular oedema, induced by 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA), in the mouse, using single and multiple applications of the phlogistic agent. Both reduced the oedema in a similar proportion in the two model assays (acute and chronic). Meloperoxidase activity was strongly reduced by both the extract and the compound, in the acute but not the chronic model. These results indicate that the leaves of Eryngium foetidum L may be effective against topical inflammation processes. Stigmasterol also exerts a significant topical antiinflammatory activity although it cannot be considered to be a major antiinflammatory agent, therefore other bioactive components are probably involved in the activity of the hexane extract.

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