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Open Access Research article

Antioxidant and phytochemical properties of Carpobrotus edulis (L.) bolus leaf used for the management of common infections in HIV/AIDS patients in Eastern Cape Province

Beauty E Omoruyi1, Graeme Bradley1 and Anthony J Afolayan2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa

2 Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:215  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-215

Published: 9 November 2012



Carpobrotus edulis (Mesembryanthemaceae), also known as igcukuma in Xhosa language is a medicinal plant used by the traditional healers to treat common infections in HIV/AIDS patients. Based on this information, we researched on the plant phytoconstituents, as well as its inhibitory effect using aqueous and three different organic solvent extracts in order to justify its therapeutic usage.


Antioxidant activity of the extracts were investigated spectrophotometrically against 1,1- diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), 2,2’-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) diammonium salt, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), nitric oxide (NO), and ferric reducing power, Total phenols, flavonoids, flavonols, proanthocyanidins, tannins, alkaloids and saponins were also determined using the standard methods.


Quantitative phytochemical analysis of the four solvent extracts revealed a high percentage of phenolics (55.7 ± 0.404%) in the acetone extract, with appreciable amount of proanthocyanidins (86.9 ± 0.005%) and alkaloids (4.5 ± 0.057%) in the aqueous extract, while tannin (48.9 ± 0.28%) and saponin (4.5 ± 0.262%) were major constituents of the ethanol extract. Flavonoids (0.12 ± 0.05%) and flavonols (0.12 ± 0.05%) were found at higher level in the hexane extract in comparison with the other extracts. The leaf extracts demonstrated strong hydrogen peroxide scavenging activity, with the exception of water and ethanol extracts. IC50 values of the aqueous and ethanolic extract against DPPH, ABTS, and NO were 0.018 and 0.016; 0.020 and 0.022; 0.05 and 0.023 mg/ml, respectively. The reducing power of the extract was found to be concentration dependent.


The inhibitory effect of the extracts on free radicals may justify the traditional use of this plant in the management of common diseases in HIV/AIDs patients in Eastern Cape Province. Overall, both aqueous and ethanol were found to be the best solvents for antioxidant activity in C. edulis leaves.

Carpobrotus edulis; Solvent extraction; Antioxidant; Free radicals; Phytoconstituents