Editor's Note: This study includes pharmacognostic evaluation, antioxidant activity and HPTLC analysis of Urtica dioica L., a common Himalayan species used internally as a blood purifier and diuretic and an infusion of the plant is used for nasal and menstrual haemorrhage, diabetes, rheumatism, eczema, anaemia, hair loss, as an expectorant and antidiarrhoeal. The report concludes that antioxidant activity may be due to ferulic acid content and that the pharmacognostical parameters developed can be considered as quality standards for the herbal industry.

Science Research
September 2012


Abstract

Background:  Urtica dioica L. is a common Himalayan species which produces allergenic substances causing oedema and inflammation in humans. It has become a source of folk medicine for the treatment of many diseases. The leaves and roots both are used internally as a blood purifier and diuretic and an infusion of the plant is used for nasal and menstrual haemorrhage, diabetes, rheumatism, eczema, anaemia, hair loss, as an expectorant and antidiarrhoeal. Present study includes pharmacognostic evaluation, antioxidant activity and HPTLC analysis of Urtica dioica L.

Methods: Pharmacognostic evaluation of aerial part of U. dioica has been performed as per Indian pharmacopoeia. In-vitro antioxidant evaluation of U. dioica has been performed using DPPH free radical scavenging activity. Ferulic acid, a potential phenolic antioxidant present in this species, has been studied through HPTLC.

Results: 
U. dioica hydro-alcoholic extract shows positive results for antioxidant activity with IC 50 value of 88.33 ± 2.88 μg/ml. Standard ascorbic acid showed IC 50 value of 2.8 ± 0.62 μg/ml. Ferulic acid was identified at R f 0.61 ± 0.01 and quantified to 0.73% in this species through CAMAG HPTLC analysis.

Conclusion: The pharmacognostical parameters reported can be considered as quality standards of U. dioica in herbal industry. Hydro-alcoholic extract of U. dioica showed positive in vitro antioxidant activity. Presence of phenolic compound suggests that antioxidant activity may be due to ferulic acid content.


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