Harpagophytum procumbens prevents oxidative stress and loss of cell viability in vitro.
Neurochem Res. 2013 Nov ;38(11):2256-67. Epub 2013 Aug 28. PMID: 23982320
Larissa Finger Schaffer
Harpagophytum procumbens, popularly known as devil's claw, is a plant commonly used in the treatment of diseases of inflammatory origin. The anti-inflammatory effects of H. procumbens have been studied; however, the mechanism of action is not elucidated. It is known that excess of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species may contribute to increasing tissue damage due to inflammation. In the present study, we examined the effects of H. procumbens infusion, crude extract and fractions on lipid peroxidation (brain homogenates) induced by different pro-oxidants (Fe(2+) or sodium nitroprusside) and the effects of ethyl acetate fraction (rich in phenolic compounds) on antioxidant defenses (catalase activity and thiol levels) and cell damage (brain cortical slices) induced by different pro-oxidants. All tested extracts of H. procumbens inhibited lipid peroxidation in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, the ethyl acetate fraction had the highest antioxidant effects either by decreasing lipid peroxidation and cellular damage or restoring thiols levels and catalase activity. Taken together, our results showed that H. procumbens acts either by preventing oxidative stress or loss of cell viability. Thus, the previously reported anti-inflammatory effect of H. procumbens could also be attributed to its antioxidant activity.