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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 3841803, 9 pages
Research Article

Alteration of Neutrophil Reactive Oxygen Species Production by Extracts of Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum)

1Department of Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Balsgård, Fjälkestadsvägen 459, 291 94 Kristianstad, Sweden
2Biological Sciences, University of Botswana, Private Bag UB 00704, Gaborone, Botswana
3School of Dentistry and MRC Centre for Immune Regulation, University of Birmingham, Saint Chads Queensway, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
4School of Health and Society, University of Kristianstad, 291 88 Kristianstad, Sweden

Received 11 February 2016; Accepted 29 May 2016

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Cirillo

Copyright © 2016 Mbaki Muzila 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.


Harpagophytum, Devil’s Claw, is a genus of tuberiferous xerophytic plants native to southern Africa. Some of the taxa are appreciated for their medicinal effects and have been traditionally used to relieve symptoms of inflammation. The objectives of this pilot study were to investigate the antioxidant capacity and the content of total phenols, verbascoside, isoverbascoside, and selected iridoids, as well as to investigate the capacity of various Harpagophytum taxa in suppressing respiratory burst in terms of reactive oxygen species produced by human neutrophils challenged with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), opsonised Staphylococcus aureus, and Fusobacterium nucleatum. Harpagophytum plants were classified into different taxa according to morphology, and DNA analysis was used to confirm the classification. A putative new variety of H. procumbens showed the highest degree of antioxidative capacity. Using PMA, three Harpagophytum taxa showed anti-inflammatory effects with regard to the PBS control. A putative hybrid between H. procumbens and H. zeyheri in contrast showed proinflammatory effect on the response of neutrophils to F. nucleatum in comparison with treatment with vehicle control. Harpagophytum taxa were biochemically very variable and the response in suppressing respiratory burst differed. Further studies with larger number of subjects are needed to corroborate anti-inflammatory effects of different taxa of Harpagophytum.