Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Some Indigenous Sudanese Plants


Sara M.O. Ismaiel1, Elhadi N. Mahmoud2*, Abdelkhalig M. Mahmoud1

1College of Pharmacy, University of Khartoum, Sudan

2College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Ajman University of Science and Technology Network (UAE)

*Corresponding Author E-mail:,



Three medicinal plant extracts from Sudan, used in traditional medicine, were investigated for their anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan-induced inflammation.


The present study is an endeavor to evaluate the anti-inflammatory activity of methanolic extract of Solenostemma argel leaves, Hordeum vulgare grains and Ziziphus spina-christi fruits.  The anti-inflammatory activity of the extracts was evaluated using the carrageenan-induced Wister rats edema model. Among the extracts, the S. argel extract at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight exhibited an inhibition of inflammation after 3hr (22%) of carrageenan administration. The most significant inhibition was revealed by the Z. spina-christi after 1 hr. (55%), at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight, whilst the extract of   H.  vulgare grains had no effect on the edema at the same concentration.


KEYWORDS: plant extracts activity; Sudanese  medicinal plants; anti-inflammatory activity.



A number of medicinal plants growing in Sudan have been used in folk medicine for treatment of inflammation. Hordeum vulgare (L.),  Solenostemma argel  (Del. Hayne),  and  Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Willd are three of such Sudanese species. These plants also possess different medicinal properties.


Hordeum vulgare grass is a very nutrient dense food, providing a high concentration of minerals, vitamins and amino acids per serving.  On the basis of scientific research barley is used orally for bronchitis, diarrhea, gastritis, inflammatory bowel conditions, and cancer prevention. It is also used for lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and for promoting weight loss. It is also used for increasing strength and stamina. Topically, barley is used for treating boil1.


Ziziphus spina-christi stem bark was reported for its antidiarrheal effects 2. Different extracts of the leaves, fruits and seeds showed antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial activities 3.The aqueous extract of the plant is reported to possess antinociceptive activity.4


Solenostemma argel leaves are used in indigenous medicine for the treatment of some diseases such as the disease of liver and kidney. It is an effective remedy for bronchitis, neuralgia, and measles and as remedy for healing wounds. The leaves are infused to treat gastro-intestinal cramps and stomach colic5. 


The traditional uses of the above taxa as well as literature reviewing initiated our study on the anti-inflammatory activity of them.



Plant Materials

The grains of Hordeum vulgare, the leaves of Solenostemma  argel and the fruits of Ziziphus  spina-christi were purchased from Khartoum State market, in 2011.They were identified and authenticated in the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research Institute (MAPRI), Sudan.


Preparation of the Extracts

The air-dried powdered plant materials (200 g each) were Soxhlet-extracted  separately and successively using chloroform, followed by methanol. The extracts were then dried using  a rotary evaporator. Each  residue was weighed and  the yield percentage was determined. For each, the  methanol residue (2 g) was dissolved in methanol 20 ml (conc. 100 mg/ml), and kept in refrigerator until used.



Albino rats (150-180 g) were used in this study. The rats were gifted by Zayed Complex for Herbal Research and housed in the Animal House of the college of Pharmacy /Ajman University. Animals were maintained under standard environmental conditions (temperature and had free access to feed and water ad libitum.


For screening of plant extracts (100 mg/kg/5ml), 9 rats per experiment (control, plant extract and standard drug) were used.


Assessment of anti-inflammatory activity: the carrageenan-induced rat paw edema model

Anti-inflammatory activity of the extracts was evaluated by the carrageenan-induced edema model in Wister rats 6. The albino rats were divided into three groups (N = 3). Acute inflammation was induced by an intradermal injection of 0.05 ml of 1 % of carrageenan suspension (w/v) in the right hind paw of rats.


Group 1, was served as a control, and received 0.9% normal saline intraperitoneally (IP).

Group 2, was the positive control, and was injected (IP) with diclofenac sodium (100 mg/kg of body weight) 30 min before the injection of carrageenan solution.

Group 3 was injected (IP) with the plant extract (100 mg/kg of body weight) 30 min before the injection of carrageenan solution.



The initial volume of the right hind paw was measured 3X   by a vernier caliber (V0) The edema volume was measured 3 h after the injection of carrageenan solution using the vernier calliper. The difference in volume between the injected and uninjected paw was calculated and taken as the edema volume for all groups. The edema volume of the groups treated with the extracts of plants or diclofenac was compared with the control group. The percentage of inhibitory activity at was calculated according to the following formula


Percent Inhibition = 1 – Vt / VC x 100

 Where, ‘Vt’ represents edema volume in test materials and ‘Vc’ represent edema volume in control.


Statistical analysis

The data was analyzed statistically using the unpaired Student’s t-test to discover the difference.

P-values < 0.05, < 0.01 were considered to be statistically significant, indicating that plant extract reduces the edema as compared to the control animals and thereby possesses anti-inflammatory activity.



The results of the anti-inflammatory activity of the three methanolic extracts are shown in Tables 1, 2, and 3.





Table 1  Anti-inflammatory effects of methanolic extracts of H. vulgare, S.argel and Z.spina-christi on carrageenan-induced rat paw  edema. (The Mean paw volume ±SEM (mm))

Treatment (100mg/kg)

Mean paw volume ±SEM (mm)

0 time

After1 hr




Control   normal saline






Standard diclofenac






Solenostemma argel






Hordeum vulgare






Ziziphus spina-christi






Significant relative to control reading: *p<0.05, **p<0.01, (n=3). SEM = Standard error to mean.



Table 2  Anti-inflammatory effects of methanolic extracts of  H. vulgare, S.argel and Z. spina-christi   on carrageenan-induced rat paw

edema( %increase in paw volume  ±SEM (mm)

Treatment (100mg/kg)

% Increase in paw volume  ±SEM (mm)

0 time

After1 hr




Control   normal saline






Standard diclofenac






Solenostemma argel






Hordeum vulgare






Ziziphus spina-christi








Table 3  Anti-inflammatory effects of methanolic extracts of H. vulgare, S.argel and Z. spina-christi   on carrageenan-induced rat paw

edema. (%inhibition in edema ±SEM (mm))

Treatment (100mg/kg)

% Inhibition in edema  ±SEM (mm)

0 time

After1 hr




Control   normal saline






Standard diclofenac






Solenostemma argel






Hordeum vulgare






Ziziphus spina-christi








The  three extracts showed great variations in their anti-inflammatory activity, evident from the size of the edema. The study revealed that at a dose of 100mg/kg, the methanolic  extract of  S. argel  leaves exhibited a significant reduction of the edema (22%).which is in agreement  with a previous report  on  the topical anti-inflammatory activity of S. argel leaves7.


The methanolic extract of H.vulgare grains failed to show any significant reduction on the edema. However, Research has explored the capacity of methanol extract of barley grass to inhibit the carrageenan-induced inflammation 8. H.vulgare grass is known to contain is high in chlorophyll and contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, phenolic compounds and fatty acids and antioxidants. Many studies have identified the beneficial activity of phenolic compounds on anti-inflammation.9-11

Among the plant extracts, Z. spina-christi   extract exhibited the most significant % inhibition of inflammation after 1 hr. (55%).The extract possessed varying degree of anti-inflammatory activity at different time.


It is documented that carrageenan-induced edema falls in the category of acute inflammation, which involves the synthesis or release of inflammatory mediators at the injured site which further cause pain and fever. The early phase (1– 2 h) of the carrageenan model is mainly mediated by histamine, serotonin and increased synthesis of prostaglandins in the damaged tissue surroundings. The late phase is sustained by prostaglandin release and mediated by bradykinin, leukotrienes, polymorphonuclear cells and prostaglandins12 ,13.



In conclusion, it is clear that anti-inflammatory activity of Z. spina-christi fruits and S. argel  leaves support their use given in traditional medicine to reduce inflammation. However, further work should be continued to establish the exact mechanism of action.



The authors are thankful to management of Zayed Complex for Herbal Research for gifting the animals. The Authors are grateful to extend special thanks to Mr. Muhagir and Mr. Basil, for providing all kind of facilities for this work.



1.       Sarfaraz KM, Mohyuddin H, Khalid UK, Muhammad AK, Muhammad S and Fazal-ur-Rehman. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) A Prophetic Food Mentioned in Ahadith and its Ethnobotanical Importance, American-Eurasian J. Agric. and Environ. Sci., 12 (7); 2012: 835-841.

2.       Adzu B, Amos S, Amizan MB, Gamaniel K. Evaluation of the antidiarrhoeal effects of Zizyphus spina-christi stem bark in rats. Acta Trop.87(2); 2003: 245-50.

3.       Shahat AA, Pieters L, Apers S, Nazeif  NM, Abdel-Azim NS, Berghe DV, and Vlietinck AJ. Chemical and biological investigations on Zizyphus spina-christi Phytother Res. 15(7);2001: 593-7.

4.       Adzu B, Amos S, Wambebe C, and Gamaniel K. Antinociceptive activity of Zizyphus spina-christi root bark extract  Fitoterapia. 72(4);2001 :344-50

5.       Abdel Moneim ES, Wigdan ME. and Awad M A. Antimicrobial activity of the extract of Solenostemma argel (Harjal) plant, J.Sc. Tech  vol. 10(3) ; 2009: pp:120-134 

6.       Winter CA, Risley EA, and  Nuss GW  Carrageenin induced edema in hind paws of the rat as an assay for anti-inflammatory drugs. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med.; 111;1962: 544-47.

7.       Innocenti G, Dall’acqua S, Sosa S, Altinier G., and Della Loggia R .Topical anti-inflammatory activity of Solenostemma argel leaves J Ethnopharmacol. 14;102(2); 2005:307-10.,

8.       Choi KC, Hwang JM, Bang SJ, Son YO, Kim BT, Kim DH, Lee SA, Chae M, Kim da H, and Lee JC Methanol extract of the aerial parts of barley (Hordeum vulgare) suppresses lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory responses in vitro and in vivo., Pharm Biol.;51(8);2013:1066-76.

9.       Rios JL, Recio MC, Escandell JM, and Andujar I. Inhibition of transcription factors by plant-derived compounds and their implications in inflammation and cancer. Curr Pharm Des.; 15(11); 2009:1212-37.

10.     Wilson JX. Mechanism of action of vitamin C in sepsis: ascorbate modulates redox signaling in endothelium. Biofactors 35;2009:5-13

11.     Subramoniam A, Asha VV, Nair SA, Sasidharan SP, Sureshkumar PK, Rajendran KN, Karunagaran D, and Ramalingam K Chlorophyll revisited: anti-inflammatory activities of chlorophyll a and inhibition of expression of TNF-α gene by the same Inflammation; 35(3);2012:959-66.

12.     Burch RM, and DeHaas C. A bradykinin antagonist inhibits carrageenan edema in rats. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 342(2);1990:189–193

13.     Brooks RR, Carpenter JF, Jones SM, Ziegler TC, and Pong SF Canine carrageenin-induced acute paw inflammation model and its response to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. J Pharmacol Methods. 25(4);1991:275-83





Received on 29.11.2013   Modified on 02.02.2014

Accepted on 10.02.2014 ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Pharmacognosy & Phytochem. 6(1): Jan.-Mar. 2014; Page 30-32