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Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00007

Phytochemical composition, antioxidant, antimicrobial and in vivo anti-inflammatory activity of traditionally used Romanian Ajuga laxmannii (Murray) Benth. (“nobleman’s beard” – barba împăratului)

 Anca Toiu1,  Andrei Mocan1, Laurian Vlase1*,  Alina E. Parvu1,  Dan C. Vodnar2, Ana M. Gheldiu1, Cadmiel Moldovan1 and  Ilioara Oniga1
  • 1Iuliu Hațieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania
  • 2University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca, Romania

In the Romanian folk medicine, aerial parts of Ajuga laxmanii (“nobleman’s beard”, Romanian – “barba boierului” or “avrămească” or „creștinească”) is traditionally used as a galactogogue and anti-inflammatory agent. The present study was aimed to evaluate the chemical composition (polyphenols, iridoids, phytosterols), antioxidant, antimicrobial and in vivo anti-inflammatory activity of different extracts of A. laxmanii aerial parts. The major identified bioactive compounds were rutin, 8-O-acetylharpagide and β-sitosterol. The antioxidant activity of A. laxmannii extracts was evaluated using several methods, and the results showed good antiradical effects. Furthermore, the antimicrobial evaluation showed a potent antifungal activity against C. albicans and P. funiculosum. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effect was determined by monitoring some parameters involved in the inflammatory process. The results obtained showed differences between the analysed extracts; and therefore the importance of choosing the best solvent in order to extract the appropriate amount of bioactive compounds. A. laxmannii ethanol extract showed an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing total leukocytes, PMN, phagocytosis, and oxidative stress. Compared to diclofenac, only A. laxmannii extract 0.5 had better anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress effects, and this could justify the importance of a correlation between the activity and the used dose. These findings strongly suggest that A. laxmannii could be considered as a valuable source of bioactive compounds, which could be further valued as an anti-inflammatory agent in the composition of several herbal drugs.

Keywords: Ajuga laxmannii, Polyphenols, Iridoids, Sterols, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial

Received: 15 Dec 2017; Accepted: 04 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Atanas G. Atanasov, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding (PAS), Poland

Reviewed by:

Zhaojun Wei, Hefei University of Technology, China
Claudio Ferrante, Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Toiu, Mocan, Vlase, Parvu, Vodnar, Gheldiu, Moldovan and Oniga. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Laurian Vlase, Iuliu Hațieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania,