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BACKGROUND: Eulophia species are cultivated worldwide; it is one of the largest orchid’s genera in Africa. They are believed to cure many diseases. Eulophia guineensis Lindl (Orchidaceae) is a multipurpose plant, native to West Africa and currently grown in many parts of the world. Traditionally, its pseudobulbs are exploited in the treatment of diseases like hypertension, obesity, inflammations, cold, sexual ailments by various cultures without scientific evidence.The aim of the research was to carry out phytochemical test, antioxidant potentials and acute toxicity test on the pseudobulbs of E. guineensis.
METHODS: The pseudobulbs were extracted with methanol using cold maceration method via aliquot extraction. The extract obtained was further fractionated with n-hexane, ethyl acetate and n-butanolin order to obtain the non-polar, moderately polar and polar components respectively.Preliminary phytochemical screening and TLC profile of the different fractions; in vitro DPPH antioxidant studies of the extract and the different fractions were evaluated. Acute toxicity test of the extract on laboratory mice was also investigated using both the intraperitional and oral routes.
RESULTS: E. guineensis pseudobulbs showed significant antioxidant activity (p < 0.05) for methanol extract (IC50 = 44.61 µg/ml), ethyl acetate fraction (IC50 = 7.58 µg/ml) and n-butanol fraction (IC50 = 1.35 µg/ml) whereas n-hexane fraction (186.59 µg/ml) and aqueous fraction (IC50 = 1212.47 µg/ml) showed no significant activity on DPPH induced free radical. However, the standard drug ascorbic acid (IC50 = 1.04 µg/ml) performed best. Qualitative Phytochemical screening of the extract showed the presence of triterpenes, flavonoids, tannins, cardiac glycosides, deoxysugars and carbohydrates. These phyto-constituents were redistributed among the different fractions obtained from the extract. The Acute toxicity of the extract showed it to be slightly toxic intraperitionally and practically non-toxic orally with LD50 of 3807.09 mg/kg and >5000 mg/kg body weight respectively.
CONCLUSION: The Antioxidant studies on the pseudobulbs ofE. guineensis have scientifically shown its rich antioxidant potentials which in addition to other factors could be helpful in validating the traditional uses of the plant in the treatment of several ailments.
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