Preliminary Antioxidant and Antitumorigenic activities of Euphorbia Heterophylla (whole plant) (Euphorbiaceae)

  • A Falodun
  • N Engel-Lutz
  • O Erharuyi
  • EC Ekokotu


Euphorbia heterophylla Linn (Euphorbiaceae) is a medicinal plant used in ethnomedicine for the treatment of constipation, bronchitis and asthma. The purpose of the present study was to determine the antioxidant, anti-proliferative and apoptotic activities of the methanol extract of the plant. The methanol extract and its fractions (petroleum ether and ethylacetate fractions) were subjected to in vitro antioxidant screening by DPPH free radical scavenging method. The anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of the methanol extract on human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) were also investigated by flow cytometry. The percentage radical scavenging activity was highest in the methanol extract followed by ethyl acetate fraction and least in the non-polar petroleum ether fraction. The IC-50 value for radical scavenging activity of the crude extract was 4.83 ± 1.66 μg/mL, and this was not statistically different from that of the standard ascorbic acid (IC-50 = 3.55 ± 2.91 μg/mL). The extract, at 50 μg/mL did not show anti-proliferative and apoptotic activities on MCF-7 cell line when compared with the control (0.1% DMSO). E. heterophylla (whole plant) extract therefore has radical scavenging activity that is comparable to that of ascorbic acid and further work is in progress to reveal the active constituent(s) which could be developed for use possibly as a natural antioxidant agent. There was no significant antitumorigenic activity of E. heterophylla extract at the tested dose.

Keywords: Euphorbia heterophylla, extract, antioxidant, antitumor

Journal of Pharmaceutical and Allied Sciences, Vol. 9 No. 3 (2012)

Author Biographies

A Falodun
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
N Engel-Lutz
Department of Cell Biology, Biomedical Research Centre, University of Rostock, Schillingallee 69, 18057
O Erharuyi
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
EC Ekokotu
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-8499