Harpagophytum procumbens (Hp), commonly known as Devil's Claw has been used as a traditional treatment for a variety of illnesses for centuries. Since the early twentieth century, it has become a popular antiinflammatory and analgesic preparation amongst European herbalists for supportive or adjuvant treatment of degenerative joint diseases. Extracts of Hp tubers have demonstrated antiinflammatory and analgesic effects in animal models of inflammation and in human trials. The mechanism(s) of action responsible for these attributes, however, remain to be elucidated. Reactive oxygen species generated in acute and chronic inflammatory diseases are known to be cytotoxic and can cause tissue damage. In this study, a root tuber extract (Hp extract) and commercially available tincture (Hp tincture) were investigated for antioxidant characteristics using in vitro test systems. Both preparations were found to effectively scavenge DPPH radical, inhibit nitrite levels in supernatants harvested from LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages, and cause dose-dependent suppressions in the detection of fMLP-and AA-induced neutrophil MPO. The antioxidant effects demonstrated for both preparations of Hp may contribute to the antiinflammatory and analgesic properties observed for the plant. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
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