Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 39–46 | Cite as

Cyclooxygenase inhibitory activity of South African plants used against inflammation

  • Anna K JägerEmail author
  • Johannes van Staden


During the years 1994–2001 we screened around 200 plant species for cyclooxygenase inhibiting activity. The plants were mostly selected based on usage in traditional medicine for inflammation and pains. Species from 32 genera exhibited high activity against COX-1. From Eucomis autumnalis two compounds, eucomin with COX-1 selectivity and eucosterol with COX-2 selectivity were isolated, a possible reason why this plant is so popular is traditional medicine. Attempts at isolating the compounds responsible for COX inhibition in Ocotea bullata and Siphonochilus aethiopicus revealed that there wasn’t a single active compound present, instead many compounds contributed to the activity. Plants with multiple active components are probably better suited as phytomedicines rather than as sources for pure compound drugs.


anti-inflammatory COX-1 COX-2 traditional medicine Zulu medicinal plants 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Centre for Plant Growth and DevelopmentUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal PietermaritzburgScottsvilleSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Medicinal ChemistryThe Danish University of Pharmaceutical SciencesCopenhagenDenmark

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