Giant-leaved fig shows excellent hepatoprotective properties

An Egyptian study examined the antioxidant and hepatoprotective potential of the giant-leaved fig (Ficus lutea). Extracts and fractions derived from the leaves of the plant were tested for their ability to scavenge free radicals, as well as their effects on rats with carbon tetrachloride-induced liver disorders.

The researchers received support from the National Research Centre, and they published their findings in the Journal of Herbs, Spices, & Medicinal Plants.

  • Samples of the leaves of the giant-leaved fig were obtained for drying, powdering, and extraction. The crude cold ethanol extract was further fractionated into other liquids.
  • Chemical analysis of the extracts and compounds identified a number of triterpenoid saponins and steroidal compounds. Important saponins included alpha-amyrin acetate, 20,22-Epoxyeupha-24-ene-3-one, lupenone (lupane skeleton), and methyl isomasticadienonate. The most notable plant steroid was stigmasterol.
  • The in vitro antioxidant activity of the fig extract and fractions were examined through the DPPH free radical scavenging test. Among the tested solutions, the n-hexane fraction performed the best.
  • Rats were injected with carbon tetrachloride to induce liver problems. They were divided into several groups, each of which received a different fig extract or fraction. At the end of the treatment period, they were sacrificed and sampled for analysis of oxidative stress markers, enzymes associated with liver functions, and histopathology.
  • Carbon tetrachloride-injured rats that received the fig extract and fractions displayed lower oxidative stress markers, scored better in the liver function indexes, and showed healthier liver architecture.

The researchers concluded that the antioxidant compounds in the leaves of the giant-leaved fig could offer a natural means of protecting the liver from harmful chemicals that cause oxidative stress.

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Journal Reference:

Awad NE, Kassem HA, Hamed MA, Elbatanony MM. ANTIOXIDANT AND HEPATOPROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF THE LIPOIDAL MATTERS OF FICUS LUTEA LEAVES. Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants. 2 October 2018;24(4):368–385. DOI: 10.1080/10496475.2018.1520774.

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