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Background: Three decoctions, namely Emelia M (EMB), Mshikazi and Delosma H are used by traditional health practitioners in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to treat and manage leukaemia and related conditions
Objectives: This study evaluated the in vitro antioxidant activity and phytochemical profile of the aqueous extracts of Emelia M (EMB), Mshikazi and Delosma H decoctions.
Methods: Antioxidant activity of the extracts was evaluated using1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), glutathione (GSH), phosphomolybdate and thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) assays. Phytochemical screening was used to determine
the presence of compounds.
Results: The DPPH radical scavenging activity was similar to ascorbic acid for EMB and Delosma H, but not for Mshikazi. At 24 h, EMB increased GSH in both THP-1 and Jurkat cells similar to Delosma H while Mshikazi demonstrated the lowest activity. At 48 h, EMB and Delosma H revealed increased GSH in THP-1 cells with no significant decrease in GSH levels in Jurkat cells. However, EMB showed the lowest lipid peroxidation activity compared to Delosma H and Mshikazi after 24 h treatment of both cells. Phenols, flavonoids, terpenoids, saponins were present in all extracts.
Conclusion: Extracts of the three decoctions possess both antioxidant and prooxidant properties through high scavenging activity and increased in lipid peroxidation.
Keywords: Antioxidants; herbal medicines; Emelia M; Mshikazi; Delosma H.