Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia]]> vol. 26 num. 2 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Microscopic and UV/Vis spectrophotometric characterization of <em>Cissampelos pareira</em> of Brazil and Africa]]> ABSTRACT Cissampelos pareira L., belonging to Menispermaceae family, has worldwide distribution, occurring in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia. It is the most popular species of Cissampelos, known for its medicinal uses of leaves and roots. The study aims to find distinctive leaf anatomical characters, and also demonstrate the importance of spectral data to identify C. pareira samples, in order to contribute to its taxonomy and quality control of its drugs. Anatomical leaf analyses were performed by optical and scanning electron microscopy. The spectral profile was obtained from methanolic extracts of C. pareira samples from Brazil and Africa, with application of UV–vis spectrophotometry data, which were analyzed by principal component analysis (PCA). Some anatomical characters such as leaf epidermal cells walls, stomata, trichomes, mesophyll, features of midrib and petiole, and the spectral profile within the wavelength ranging between 770 and 240 nm (eight bands) differs between Brazilian and African samples. The results represent an additional support to the taxonomy of C. pareira, and the quality control of their leaf drugs, mainly in relation to misidentified samples. <![CDATA[Structure and histochemistry of medicinal species of <em>Solanum</em>]]> ABSTRACT Studies on native medicinal plants strengthen initiatives to preserve the environments where those species naturally occur, many of them already strongly menaced even before their potential to humankind is known. Root and stem barks, leaves, and pericarps samples of Solanum agrarium Sendtn., S. lycocarpum A. St.-Hil., S. palinacanthum Dunal, S. paniculatum L., and S. stipulaceum Roem. &amp; Schult., species that occur in the Cerrado (Brazililan savanna) were processed according to common light microscopy techniques for structural analysis, and histochemical tests were performed to locate and identify classes of chemical compounds. The distinctive features identified were low concentration of crystal sand in the root and stem, presence of terpene resin in the root, and absence of hypodermis in the leaf, in S. agrarium; bright spots (group of sclereids) in the root, isobilateral mesophyll, thickened cell walls with hemicelluloses and strong aroma in the fruit, in S. lycocarpum; high concentration of crystal sand in the root and stem, oval-shaped limb, presence of isolated crystals in the exocarp, in S. palinacanthum; strong sclerification and rays with great height in the root and stem, in S. paniculatum; and accumulation of soluble protein in the root and stem, presence of conspicuous membranaceous stipules, absence of spiniform trichomes, in S. stipulaceum. This work identifies distinctive structural features, its ecological importance, and determines the distribution of secondary compounds associated with the medicinal properties reported for these species and contributes to the conservation of the natural environments where they occur. <![CDATA[Comparative HPTLC analysis of bioactive marker barbaloin from <em>in vitro</em> and naturally grown <em>Aloe vera</em>]]> ABSTRACT Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f., Xanthorrhoeaceae, a succulent, produces barbaloin, a bioactive compounds used in various pharmaceutical products. Extracts prepared from the leaves have been widely used as bittering agents, taste modifiers and also as cathartic agent against severe constipation. Barbaloin is reported for its anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral and anticancer activities and these properties are mostly mediated by its antioxidative capacity. Presently, a study has been conducted on the comparative High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography analysis of barbaloin from the dried leaf skin powder of in vivo and in vitro grown A. vera. Shoot tips of A. vera were cultured in Murashige and Skoog media supplemented with different combination of 6-benzylaminopurine and 1-naphthaleneacetic acid. [Best multiplication response was noted in benzylaminopurine (2.0 mg/l) + 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (0.1 mg/l) supplemented Murashige and Skoog media]. The quantitative determination of barbaloin was performed on silica gel 60 F254 HPTLC plates as stationary phase. The linear ascending development was carried out in a twin trough glass chamber saturated with a mobile phase consisting of ethyl acetate: methanol: water (100:16.5:13.5) at room temperature (22 ± 2 ºC). CAMAG Thin Layer Chromatography scanner-3 equipped with CATS software (version: was used for spectrodensitometric scanning and analysis in the ultraviolet region at λ = 366 nm. The method was validated for linearity, precision and accuracy. Correlation coefficient, limit of detection, limit of quantification as well as recovery values were found to be satisfactory. Out of the five populations studied, the leaf skin of A. vera collected from Jodhpur (Rajasthan, India) and raised in vitro was found to contain higher amount of barbaloin (2.78%) when compared to its naturally growing counterparts (2.46%) and other plant populations. <![CDATA[Simultaneous determination of epicatechin and procyanidin A2 markers in <em>Litchi chinensis</em> leaves by high-performance liquid chromatography]]> ABSTRACT The fruits of Litchi chinensis Sonn., Sapindaceae, are renowned for their biological activities. However, their leaves are poorly explored, although they represent an important source of vegetable raw material with biological properties as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive. An HPLC method was developed and validated for the simultaneous quantification of epicatechin and procyanidin A2 in the leaf hydroethanolic extract of L. chinensis. The markers and other unidentified components were separated on a Luna Phenomenex C18 column (250 mm × 4.6 mm, 5 µm) with mobile phase composed of acetonitrile: water pH 3.0 (with sulfuric acid), in a gradient run; at 1.0 ml min-1, 30 ºC and 278 nm for detection. The method was linear over an epicatechin and procyanidin A2 concentration range of 10–100 µg ml-1. The Limit of Quantification for epicatechin and procyanidin A2 were 1.7 and 2 µg ml-1, respectively. The Relative Standard Deviation (%) values for markers (intra- and inter-day precision studies) were &lt;4.0% and the accuracy was 100 ± 5%. The method was applied to ten samples collected in the state of Santa Catarina (Brazil), which showed 14.8–44.5 and 44.8–69.6 mg g-1 of epicatechin and procyanidin A2, respectively. The proposed method could be a valuable tool for quality assessment of L. chinenis leaves as well as their herbal derivatives. <![CDATA[UPLC–QTOF–MS and NMR analyses of graviola (<em>Annona muricata</em>) leaves]]> ABSTRACT Graviola leaves (Annona muricata L., Annonaceae) are used by some people to try to treat or even cure cancer, even though over-consumption of the fruit, which contains the neurotoxins annonacin and squamocin has caused an atypical form of Parkinson's disease. In previous analyses, the fruits were extracted with methanol under ambient conditions before analyses. In the present study, UPLC–QTOF–MS and NMR were used to analyze freeze-dried graviola leaves that were extracted using dry methanol and ethanol at 100 ºC and 10 MPa (100 atm) pressure in a sealed container. Methanol solubilized 33% of the metabolites in the lyophilized leaves. Ethanol solubilized 41% of metabolites in the lyophilized leaves. The concentrations of total phenolic compounds were 100.3 ± 2.8 and 93.2 ± 2.0 mg gallic acid equivalents per g of sample, for the methanolic and ethanolic extracts, respectively. Moreover, the toxicophore (unsaturated γ-lactone) that is present in neurotoxic acetogenins was found in the lipophilic portion of this extract. The concentrations of the neurotoxins annonacin and squamocin were found by UPLC–QTOF–MS to be 305.6 ± 28.3 and 17.4 ± 0.89 µg/g-dw, respectively, in the dried leaves. Pressurized methanol solubilized more annonacin and squamocin than ethanol. On the other hand, a hot, aqueous infusion solubilized only 0.213% of the annonacin and too little of the squamocin to be detected. So, graviola leaves contain significant amounts of the neurotoxins annonacin and squamocin, as well as some potentially healthy phenolic compounds. Finally, the potential neurotoxicity of whole leaves in dietary supplements could be much higher than that of a tea (hot aqueous infusion) that is made from them. <![CDATA[Antileishmanial metabolites from <em>Lantana balansae</em>]]> ABSTRACT Eleven compounds, 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (1), persicogenin (2), eriodictyol 3′,4′,7-trimethyl ether (3), phytol (4), spathulenol (5), 4-hydroxycinnamic acid (6), onopordin (7), 5,8,4′-trihydroxy-7,3′-dimethoxyflavone (8), quercetin (9), jaceosidin (10), and 8-hydroxyluteolin (11), were isolated from an ethanol extract of Lantana balansae Briq., Verbenaceae, that was found to possess antileishmanial activity. The structures of the compounds were determined by NMR spectroscopy and HR mass spectrometry, and 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 were investigated for antiprotozoal activity toward promastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis and Leishmania braziliensis. Compound 1 was shown to be the most potent, with the IC50 values 2.0 µM toward L. amazonensis and 0.68 µM toward L. braziliensis, although less potent than the positive control Amphotericin B. All compounds have been reported previously, but this is the first report of the isolation of a cyclopentenone fatty acid (1) and flavanones (2 and 3) from a Lantana species. <![CDATA[Ethanol extract of <em>Prunus mume</em> fruit attenuates hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis involving Nrf2/HO-1 activation in C2C12 myoblasts]]> ABSTRACT The fruit of the Prunus mume (Siebold) Siebold &amp; Zucc., Rosaceae (Korean name: Maesil) has long been used as a health food or valuable medicinal material in traditional herb medicine in Southeast Asian countries. In this study, we determined the potential therapeutic efficacy of the ethanol extract of P. mume fruits (EEPM) against H2O2-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis in the murine skeletal muscle myoblast cell line C2C12, and sought to understand the associated molecular mechanisms. The results indicated that exposure of C2C12 cells to H2O2 caused a reduction in cell viability by increasing the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species and by disrupting mitochondrial membrane permeability, leading to DNA damage and apoptosis. However, pretreatment of the cells with EEPM before H2O2 exposure effectively attenuated these changes, suggesting that EEPM prevented H2O2-induced mitochondria-dependent apoptosis. Furthermore, the increased ex-pression and phosphorylation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and up-regulation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a phase II antioxidant enzyme, were detected in EEPM-treated C2C12 cells. We also found that zinc protoporphyrin IX, an HO-1 inhibitor, attenuated the protective effects of EEPM against H2O2-induced reactive oxygen species accumulation and cytotoxicity. Therefore, these results indicate that the activation of the Nrf2/HO-1 pathway might be involved in the protection of EEPM against H2O2-induced cellular oxidative damage. In conclusion, these results show that EEPM contributes to the prevention of oxidative damage and could be used as a nutritional agent for oxidative stress-related diseases. <![CDATA[Metanolic extract of <em>Malpighia emarginata</em> bagasse: phenolic compounds and inhibitory potential on digestive enzymes]]> ABSTRACT Adding value to fruit residues is of great interest, since they can be presented as a viable solution in search of new drugs for the treatment of obesity and related diseases, due to bioactive substances, especially phenolic compounds. Thus, the objective of this study was to prepare the methanol extract of acerola bagasse flour, in order to evaluate its potential as a source of inhibitors of the enzymes α-amylase, α-glucosidase, lipase and trypsin, and determine the content of phenolic compounds by high performance liquid chromatography. Enzymatic inhibition assays were conducted in the presence or absence of simulated gastric fluid. In the methanol extract of acerola bagasse flour, the following phenolic compounds were identified: gallic acid, syringic and p-coumaric acid, catechin, epigallocatechin gallate, epicatechin and quercetin; epicatechin was the major compound. In the absence of gastric fluid, simulated enzymes had a variable inhibition of the acerola bagasse flour extract, except for lipase, which was not inhibited. In the presence of simulated gastric fluid, there was an inhibition of 170.08 IEU (Inhibited Enzyme Unit in µmol min−1 g−1) for α-amylase and 69.29 IEU for α-glucosidase, indicating that this extract shows potential as an adjuvant in the treatment of obesity and other dyslipidemia. <![CDATA[Antiviral activity of <em>Myracrodruon urundeuva</em> against rotavirus]]> ABSTRACT Myracrodruon urundeuva Allemão, Anacardiaceae, is a medicinal plant widely found in Brazil, especially in the northern region. In our previous study, the ethanolic extract from leaves of M. urundeuva showed antiviral activity against simian rotavirus SA-11. Here, the crude extract was subjected to fractionations in order to subsequently work with more concentrated and pure bioactive compounds, which were analyzed by TLC and HPLC methods to support a better understanding of their virucidal effect. The antiviral activity was evaluated using a rotavirus infection model in MA-104 cells treated with the maximum non-cytotoxic concentration of the crude extract and its fractions. Data were expressed as the percentage inhibition of viral replication calculated by the inhibition of cytopathic effect in the treated cells compared to untreated controls after 48 h of incubation. First, we conducted a fractionation, generating five fractions (F1–F5) which were submitted to antiviral assay. Then, the fraction that showed the highest virucidal effect (F3, PI = 75%) was subjected to a larger partition, yielding eighteen subfractions, which were submitted to new antiviral assays. Terpenes, flavonoids and tannins were the major secondary metabolites detected by TLC analysis in F3. SF1, a flavonoid-enriched fraction, showed the strongest in vitro activity against rotavirus (PI = 92%), preventing cytopathic effect. Chromatographic profiles were obtained by HPLC for the crude extract and SF1, the most potent subfraction. Overall, our data point to the potential anti-rotavirus activity of flavonoid-enriched fraction (SF1) of M. urundeuva leaves, corroborating the traditional use of this species to treat diarrhea and broadening our perspectives on in vivo assays in mice with SF1 isolated or associated with other fractions. <![CDATA[Evaluation of the orofacial antinociceptive profile of the ethyl acetate fraction and its major constituent, rosmarinic acid, from the leaves of <em>Hyptis pectinata</em> on rodents]]> ABSTRACT Hyptis pectinata (L.) Poit., Lamiaceae, popularly known as "sambacaitá," is an aromatic shrub largely grown in the Brazilian northeastern. We investigated the antinociceptive effects of the ethyl acetate fraction obtained from the leaves of H. pectinata and of its main constituent rosmarinic acid, on formalin (2%)-, glutamate (25 µM)- and capsaicin (2.5 µg)-induced orofacial nociception in rodents. Male mice were pretreated with ethyl acetate fraction (100, 200 or 400 mg/kg, p.o.), rosmarinic acid (10 or 20 mg/kg, p.o.), morphine (5 mg/kg, i.p.), or vehicle (distilled water + 0.2% Tween 80). Ethyl acetate fraction reduced the nociceptive face-rubbing behavior during the two phase of the formalin test, whereas pretreatment with rosmarinic acid decreased the pain behavior in the second phase. Ethyl acetate fraction produced significant antinociceptive effects in the capsaicin and glutamate tests. This study showed that oral administration of ethyl acetate fraction produced potent antinociceptive effects compared to treatment with rosmarinic acid. <![CDATA[Neuropharmacological effects of the ethanolic extract of <em>Sida acuta</em>]]> ABSTRACT Sida acuta Burm. f., Malvaceae, is regarded as astringent, tonic and useful in treating urinary diseases and blood disorders, bile, liver and as treatment for nervous diseases. Different methods were developed: sodium pentobarbital-induced sleeping time, anxiolytic activity, test for muscle-effects, pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced seizures, effect on normal body temperature. All experiments were performed in an isolated room with 12/12 h light/dark cycles at 22 ± 1 ºC. The effects described in this work for Sida acuta are according to what is known in traditional medicine, where is used as sedative agent. At the higher doses used in this work (500 and 1000 mg/kg), the Sida acuta extract reduced the latency time (T1) and increased the sleeping time (T2) induced by pentobarbital, indicating a sedative and hypnotic effect of the plant's extract. The extract of Sida acuta shows an increase in open arm exploration (anxiolytic activity). Results obtained in the rota-rod test showed that only the elevated dose (750 mg/kg) of Sida acuta extract, acutely administered, promotes significant changes, at 60 and 120 min post-administration, in the time of permanence in the rod. The ethanolic extract from the leaves and stems of Sida acuta, causes effects on the central nervous system in experimental animals. <![CDATA[<em>Casinga-cheirosa</em> organic extract impairment over Balb-c male mice behavioral phenotype]]> ABSTRACT Laetia suaveolens (Poepp.) Benth., Salicaceae, popularly known as "casinga-cheirosa", "caferana", or "laranjinha", is native to Brazil but not endemic to this country. A crude organic extract was obtained from the leaves and stem and intraperitoneally administered in male Balb-c mice. Its behavioral effects were evaluated in the open field and elevated plus maze in a two-stage experiment that assessed ten different parameters related to behavior as locomotion, emotionality, and anxiety. In the first stage of the experiment, intraperitoneal the crude organic extract administration dose-dependently impaired locomotion and emotionality 30–120 min after administration. A significant decrease in defecation was observed, which was related to emotionality. No alterations in the elevated plus maze were found; thus, this apparatus was not used in the next stage of the experiment. In the second stage, the previously determined non-lethal dose of 0.1563 g/kg was intraperitoneally administered, which impaired locomotion and rearing frequency and increased immobility time. Necropsy revealed smooth intestine hemorrhage. Rutin, leucoside, nicotiflorin, guaijaverin, and astragalin were isolated from the crude organic extract. This is the first time that these compounds have been identified in L. suaveolens. In conclusion, the crude organic extract impaired locomotion and emotionality and caused hemorrhage in male Balb-c mice, indicating that its consumption can be harmful to humans and animals. The present results provide a basis for further studies on the pharmacology, toxicology, and natural product chemistry of the crude organic extract. <![CDATA[Anti-inflammatory activity and acute toxicity studies of hydroalcoholic extract of <em>Herissantia tiubae</em>]]> ABSTRACT Hydroalcoholic extract of aerial parts of Herissantia tiubae (K. Schum.) Brizicky, Malvaceae, was evaluated in experimental models of inflammation and toxicity. For toxicity assays, male and female Swiss mice were orally treated with hydroalcoholic extract of H. tiubae (2000 mg/kg) and analyzed by consumption of water and food, body weight, mortality and rates of major organ weights, as well as biochemical and hematological indexes. For anti-inflammatory effect, phlogistic agents such as carrageenan or acetic acid were used to evaluate paw edema, cell migration and cytokine production. It was also investigated the hydroalcoholic extract of H. tiubae in RAW 264.7 macrophage lineage by nitric oxide and cytokine productions. Swiss mice treated with hydroalcoholic extract of H. tiubae showed low toxicity and (50 or 100 mg/kg) was able to reduce significantly (p &lt; 0.01, p &lt; 0.001) polymorphonuclear cell migration, TNF-α and IL-1β production in the carrageenan-induced peritonitis. However the hydroalcoholic extract of H. tiubae (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg) did not reduce carrageenan-induced paw edema. Additionally, hydroalcoholic extract of H. tiubae did not present cytotoxicity at concentrations of 6.25, 12.5, 25 or 50 µg/ml but induced significantly decrease of NO, TNF-α and IL-6 production in macrophage lineage. This study suggests that hydroalcoholic extract of H. tiubae has anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting cell migration mainly by decreasing the inflammatory cytokine levels at the inflamed site independently of the anti-edematogenic effect. <![CDATA[Hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic effects of <em>Cynara scolymus</em> in cholesterol-fed rats]]> ABSTRACT Cynara scolymus L., Asteraceae, are traditionally used to treat dyspepsia. This study evaluated the hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic effects of an aqueous extract prepared from the leaves of C. scolymus in rat's model. Hypercholesterolemic rats (1% cholesterol and 0.5% cholic acid for 15 days) were treated (0.5 ml/200 g) with extract of C. scolymus (150, 300, or 600 mg/kg p.o.; n = 6) or simvastatin (4 mg/kg p.o.; n = 6) once per day for 30 days along with hypercaloric diet. A control group (C) was given water (0.5 ml/200 g; n = 6). A high-cholesterol diet was maintained throughout the treatment period. Rats treated with extract of C. scolymus (150, 300, or 600 mg/kg) and simvastatin showed significant decreases in serum levels of total cholesterol (−46.9%, −51.9%, −44%, and −41.9%, respectively) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C; −52.1%, −54.8%, −51.9%, and −46.7%, respectively), compared with group C (p &lt; 0.005). Biochemical analyses revealed significant decrease in the concentration of IL-1, IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ, C-reactive protein, oxidized-LDL, and antioxidized-LDL in rats treated with extract of C. scolymus (150, 300, or 600 mg/kg). There were no differences in serum ALT enzyme activity between the groups. Our results suggest that hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic effects could be related with the presence of polar substances present in aqueous extract of C. scolymus. <![CDATA[<em>Schinus terebinthifolius</em> administration prevented behavioral and biochemical alterations in a rotenone model of Parkinson's disease]]> ABSTRACT Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor impairment, cognitive decline and psychiatric symptoms. Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi, Anacardiaceae, had been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and in this study, the stem bark was evaluated for the neuroprotective effects on behavioral and biochemical alterations induced by administrations of rotenone in rats. Behavioral evaluations were performed using open-field and rotarod. The in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activities were determined by the DPPH radical scavenging activity and lipid peroxidation method respectively. The administration of rotenone (3 mg/kg, s.c.) produced hypolocomotion, increase of immobility and muscle incoordination, while the treatment with S. terebinthifolius stem bark extract (150, 300 and 600 mg/kg p.o.) for seven days prevented rotenone-induced dysfunctional behavior. Biochemical analysis of the substantia nigra, striatum and cortex revealed that rotenone administration significantly increased lipid peroxidation, which was inhibited by treatment with all doses of S. terebinthifolius. The results suggested neuroprotective effect of S. terebinthifolius possibly mediated through its antioxidant activity, indicating a potential therapeutic benefit of this species in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. <![CDATA[Determination of the regulatory properties of <em>Yucca schidigera</em> extracts on the biochemical parameters and plasma hormone levels associated with obesity]]> ABSTRACT Yucca schidigera Ortgies, Asparagaceae, is a herbaceous plant. Due to the high saponin content the powdered branches and leaves are used as natural food additive for human and animal. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Y. schidigera extracts on plasma leptin, ghrelin, adiponectin, insulin, thyroid hormones and some biochemical parameters in mice fed a high-fat diet. Male Swiss Albino mice were divided into seven equal groups. Group I (negative control group) was given standard diet; Group II was given high-fat diet; Group III was given high-fat diet with carboxymethylcellulose; Groups IV–VII were given hexane, petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, and methanol extracts of Y. schidigera and high-fat diet via gastric gavage for 60 days. High-fat diet significantly increased plasma leptin, insulin, free T3 hormone, glucose, cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, triacylglyceride, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels, and significantly decreased plasma ghrelin, adiponectin and free T4 hormone levels. On the other hand, hormone levels, lipid profile and biochemical parameters were improved by the administration of the PE extract. Y. schidigera extracts could be used as preventive medicine in nutritional disorders via regulating energy metabolism and hormonal functions. <![CDATA[<em>In vitro</em> and <em>in vivo</em> evaluation of efficacy and safety of photoprotective formulations containing antioxidant extracts]]> ABSTRACT Chronic exposure to solar radiation could contribute to premature skin aging and skin cancer. Skin presents its own antioxidant defense, however when defenses are out of balance, reactive oxygen species could damage biological structures. In the present work, an oil-in-water photoprotective emulsion was developed and Bauhinia microstachya var. massambabensis Vaz, Fabaceae, extracts at 1% (obtained by extraction with different solvents) were added to this emulsion. In vitro and in vivo efficacy and safety of the formulations were evaluated. Spectrophotometric methods and in vivo Colipa test were performed to evaluated efficacy of the formulations, through sun protection factor (SPF) determination and UVA protection factor assessment. To the in vitro safety assessment HET-CAM, CAM-TBS and Red Blood Cell tests were performed. Results showed that both extracts contributed to a higher in vivo photoprotection (SPF 18) when compared to the formulation without extract (SPF 13), this result could be attributed to the antioxidant activity of the plant extracts that act by capturing reactive oxygen species. Concerning safety, all formulations were considered non-irritant according to in vitro tests. Formulations containing extracts could be considered efficient and safe for cosmetic use since they presented higher sun protection factor and passed the toxicity tests. <![CDATA[Isoflavone-aglycone fraction from <em>Glycine max</em>: a promising raw material for isoflavone-based pharmaceutical or nutraceutical products]]> ABSTRACT The present work was designed to obtain a fraction containing high concentration of isoflavone-aglycones from Glycine max (L.) Merr., Fabaceae, named isoflavone enriched-fraction, from a dry extract containing isoflavones-glycosides. A simple and low cost method was proposed: extraction of isoflavone glycosides from the G. max dry extract with a proper solvent, hydrolysis of the glycosides, recovery of the aglycones, and purification of the fraction containing high isoflavone-aglycones concentration. All the extraction and purification parameters were optimized based on the isoflavones yields, which were analyzed by liquid chromatography and expressed as total isoflavone aglycones. The optimization of the process conditions was accomplished using the classical one-variable-at-a-time method. The identity and purity of the isoflavones contained in this enriched fraction were determined by LC/UV/ESI/MS analysis, Fourier transformed-infrared spectroscopy, and 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The physicochemical properties of the isoflavone enriched-fraction were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry. The moisture content, particle size, equilibrium solubility and thermal and photostability were also determined. The high isoflavone-aglycone content (daidzein, 489.35 mg/g; glycitein, 251.02 mg/g and genistein, 158.96 mg/g) as well as the high purity obtained (90% of total isoflavones) make this fraction a promising novel raw material for the production of isoflavone-aglycones based pharmaceuticals or functional foods. <![CDATA[Ethnobotanical study of medicinal flora utilised by traditional healers in the management of sexually transmitted infections in Sesheke District, Western Province, Zambia]]> ABSTRACT Since many rural-poor Lozi people of Sesheke District (Western Province, Zambia) that suffer from sexually transmitted infections do not usually access public health facilities; they turn to traditional healers who administer remedies extracted from medicinal plants. However, the medicinal plants used for sexually transmitted infections and data on the usage of plants in Sesheke District in particular and Western Province in general have not been documented. In this study, an ethnobotanical survey was conducted to document the indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants that alleviate symptoms of sexually transmitted infections in Sesheke District, Western Province, Zambia. Using semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, ethnobotanical data were collected from twenty traditional healers that manage patients presenting with sexually transmitted infections. The results showed that 52 plant species in 25 families and 43 genera were used to treat gonorrhoea, syphilis, chancroid, chlamydia, genital herpes, and ano-genital warts. Sexually transmitted infections were frequently managed using the following plants: Terminalia sericea, Strychnos cocculoides, Ximenia caffra, Cassia abbreviata, Cassia occidentalis, Combretum hereroense, Combretum imberbe, Dichrostachys cinerea, Boscia albitrunca, Momordica balsamina and Peltophorum africanum. Many of these plants have putative antimicrobial activities which may justify their roles as natural remedies for sexually transmitted infections. Further studies are needed to determine the dosages, minimum inhibitory concentrations, biological activities and toxicities, and characterise the plants' chemical compounds.