Endopleura uchi (Huber) Cuatrec. is an Amazon species traditionally used for the treatment of inflammations and female disorders. Pure bergenin was isolated from the methanolic extract of bark of E. uchi, firstly by using liquid-liquid partition chromatography followed by column chromatography over Sephadex LH-20 and then silica gel 60 flash chromatography. The structure of bergenin was identified on the basis of its NMR spectra. The in vitro anti-inflammatory activity was determined by the measurement of the inhibitory concentration (IC) of bergenin against three key enzymes: COX-1, COX-2 (cyclooxygenases) and phospholipase A2 (PLA2). These enzymes were selected because they are important targets for the discovery of new anti-inflammatory drugs associated with the biosynthesis of prostaglandins. The IC50 of bergenin for phopholipase A2 was determined as 156.6 µmol L-1 and bergenin was not considered active as compared to the positive control, tioetheramide PC. Bergenin did not inhibit COX-1 as well (IC50 = 107.2 µmol L-1). However, bergenin selectively inhibited COX-2 (IC50 = 1.2 µmol L-1). Because of the use of E. uchi in traditional medicine, bergenin was quantified in teas prepared as prescribed in traditional medicine by RP-HPLC as being 3% in the bark of E. uchi. The inhibitory activity towards COX-2 is important, since selective inhibitors of COX-2 have been clinically validated as anti-inflammatory therapeutics due to their enhanced gastrointestinal safety.
COX-1; COX-2; PLA2; quantification; Humiriaceae; Endopleura uchi