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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 908059, 7 pages
Original Article

Analysis of the Potential Topical Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Averrhoa carambola L. in Mice

1Laboratory of Inflammation, Department of Pharmacology, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
2Department of Chemistry, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitário, Trindade, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil
3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Ponta Grossa, Campus Uvaranas, Av. General Carlos Cavalcanti 4748, Bloco M, Sala 94, 84030-900, PR, Brazil

Received 15 October 2009; Accepted 8 March 2010

Copyright © 2011 Daniela Almeida Cabrini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammatory skin disorders, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, are very common in the population; however, the treatments currently available are not well tolerated and are often ineffective. Averrhoa carambola L. (Oxalidaceae) is an Asian tree that has been used in traditional folk medicine in the treatment of several skin disorders. The present study evaluates the topical anti-inflammatory effects of the crude ethanolic extract of A. carambola leaves, its hexane, ethyl acetate, and butanol fractions and two isolated flavonoids on skin inflammation. Anti-inflammatory activity was measured using a croton oil-induced ear edema model of inflammation in mice. Topically applied ethanolic extract reduced edema in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in a maximum inhibition of 73 ± 3% and an ID50 value of 0.05 (range: 0.02–0.13) mg/ear. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity was also inhibited by the extract, resulting in a maximum inhibition of 60 ± 6% (0.6 mg/ear). All of the fractions tested caused inhibition of edema formation and of MPO activity. Treatment with the ethyl acetate fraction was the most effective, resulting in inhibition levels of 75 ± 5 and 54 ± 8% for edema formation and MPO activity, respectively. However, treatment of mice with isolated compounds [apigenin-6-C-β-l-fucopyranoside and apigenin-6-C-(2-O-α-l-rhamnopyranosyl)-β-l-fucopyranoside] did not yield successful results. Apigenin-6-C-(2-O-α-l-rhamnopyranosyl)-β-l-fucopyranoside caused only a mild reduction in edema formation (28 ± 11%). Taken together, these preliminary results support the popular use of A. carambola as an anti-inflammatory agent and open up new possibilities for its use in skin disorders.