Open Access Research article

Antioxidant and antidiabetic profiles of two African medicinal plants: Picralima nitida (Apocynaceae) and Sonchus oleraceus (Asteraceae)

Clautilde Mofor Teugwa1*, Pascaline Chouadeu Mejiato1, Denis Zofou3, Bruno Tugnoua Tchinda1 and Fabrice Fekam Boyom2

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Phytobiochemistry and Medicinal Plants Studies, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Yaoundé I, P.O. Box: 812, Yaoundé, Cameroon

2 Laboratoire de Phytoprotection et de valorisation des resources végétales, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Yaoundé I, Biotechnology Centre, Yaoundé, Cameroon

3 Biotechnology Unit, University of Buea, Buea, South West Region, Cameroon

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:175  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-175

Published: 15 July 2013



Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by chronic hyperglycaemia generally associated with oxidative stress. The present study aims at evaluating the antioxidant and antidiabetic potential of methanol and hydroethanol extracts of the stem bark and leaves of Pricralima nitida and the Sonchus oleraceus whole plant respectively.


The in vitro antioxidant activity was assessed using 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picrilhydrazyl (DPPH) for free radical-scavenging properties of the extracts, and the Folin-Ciocalteu method in determining their phenol contents. The antidiabetic activity was tested in mice following streptozotocin diabetes induction, and selected oxidative stress markers (Malondialdehyde, Hydrogen peroxides and Catalase) were measured in order to evaluate the level of oxidative stress in treated animals.


The in vitro antioxidant activity using DPPH showed IC50 ranging from 0.19 ± 0.08 to 1.00 ± 0.06 mg/mL. The highest activity was obtained with the hydroethanol extracts of S. oleraceus (0.19 mg/mL and P. nitida (0.24 mg/mL). Polyphenol contents ranged from 182.25 ± 16.76 to 684.62 ± 46.66 μg Eq Cat/g. The methanol extract of P. nitida showed the highest activity, followed by the hydroethanol extract of S. oleraceus (616.89 ± 19.20 μEq Cat/g). The hydroethanol extract of whole plants (150 mg/Kg) and methanol leave extract of P. nitida (300 mg/Kg) exhibited significant antidiabetic activities with 39.40% and 38.48% glycaemia reduction, respectively. The measurement of stress markers in plasma, liver and kidney after administration of both extracts showed significant reduction in MDA and hydrogen peroxide levels, coupled with a substantial increase in catalase activity.


These findings suggest that S. oleraceus whole plant and P. nitida leaves possess both antidiabetic and antioxidant properties, and therefore could be used as starting point for the development of herbal medicines and/or source of new drug molecules against diabetes.

Antioxidant; Diabetes; Oxidative stress; Hypoglycaemic activity; Sonchus oleraceus; Pricralima nitida