Ethnopharmacological relevance Seven studied medicinal plants; Aconitum laciniatum, Ajania nubigena, Codonopsis bhutanica, Corydalis crispa, Corydalis dubia, Meconopsis simplicifolia and Pleurospermum amabile, are currently used in the Bhutanese Traditional Medicine (BTM) for the management of different types of disorders including the diseases that bore relevance to various inflammatory conditions.
Aims of the study This study aimed to evaluate the inhibition of TNF-α production in LPS-activated THP-1 monocytic cells by the crude extracts of seven selected Bhutanese medicinal plants. It is expected to; (a) generate a scientific basis for their use in the BTM and (b) form a basis for prioritization of the seven plants for further phytochemical and anti-inflammatory studies.
Materials and methods Seven plants were selected using an ethno-directed bio-rational approach and their crude extracts were prepared using four different solvents (methanol, hexane, dichloromethane and chloroform). The TNF-α inhibitory activity of these extracts was determined by cytokine-specific sandwich quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The results were quantified statistically and the statistical significance were evaluated by GraphPad Prism version 5.01 using Student's t-test with one-tailed distribution. A p-value ≤0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results Of the seven plants studied, the crude extracts of six of them inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine, TNF-α in LPS-activated THP-1 monocytic cells. Amongst the six plants, Corydalis crispa gave the best inhibitory activity followed by Pleurospermum amabile, Ajania nubigena, Corydalis dubia, Meconopsis simplicifolia and Codonopsis bhutanica. Of the 13 extracts that exhibited statistically significant TNF-α inhibitory activity (p<0.05; p<0.01), five of them showed very strong inhibition when compared to the DMSO control and RPMI media.
Conclusions Six medicinal plants studied here showed promising TNF-α inhibitory activity. These findings rationalize the traditional use of these selected medicinal plants in the BTM as an individual plant or in combination with other ingredients for the treatment of disorders bearing relevance to the inflammatory conditions. The results forms a good preliminary basis for the prioritization of candidate plant species for an in-depth phytochemical study and anti-inflammatory activity screening of the pure compounds contained within those seven plants.