Flourensia fiebrigii is a plant used in traditional medicine in the Argentine Calchaquí Valley as purgative, expectorant, anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory.
The aim of this study was to analyze the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of F. fiebrigii leaf and stem, the phytochemical composition of leaves ethanolic extracts and to validate its traditional use as anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory.
The macroscopic and microscopic description of F. fiebrigii leaf and stem was carried out. Two extracts (immersions and tinctures) from leaves were obtained. The phytochemical analysis and UHPLC-OT-MS metabolome fingerprinting of both extracts were performed. The anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory activities of both extracts were determined using enzymatic inhibition assays of xanthine-oxidase (XOD), secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) and lipoxygenase (LOX).
The macroscopic and micrographic characters of F. fiebrigii were described to allow the botanical characterization of the plant species. The leaves extracts showed a high level of phenolic compounds with similar chromatographic patterns. Forty-five compounds were identified based on UHPLC-OT-MS including several sesquiterpenes, chalcones, flavonoids, isoflavonoids, a lignan and phenylpropanoids phenolic acids that have been identified for the first time in this plant species. F. fiebrigii extracts were able to inhibit the XOD activity and, consequently, the formation of uric acid and reactive oxygen species, primary cause of diseases, such as gouty arthritis (IC values of 1.10-2.12 μg/mL). Pro-inflammatory enzymes like sPLA2 and LOX were also inhibited by F. fiebrigii extracts (IC values of 22.00-2.20 μg/mL) decreasing the production of inflammation mediators.
The present work validates the traditional medicinal use of F. fiebrigii as anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory through the use of enzymatic assays. The presence of several chemical compounds with demonstrated anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties also supports the bioactivity of the F. fiebrigii.
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