Anti-inflammatory effects of novel gel-formulations with traditional used plants in Benin
In African and Asian countries with low incomes up to 80% of the populations depend on traditional medicine for primary health care (WHO, 2008 World Health Report). In West-African countries and especially in the northern region of the Republic of Benin patients with pain-associated diseases used traditionally some plants like Entada africana Guill. & Perr., Ficus thonningii Blume, Combretum collinum Fresen., Fadogia agrestis Schweinf. ex Hiern, Piliostigma thonningii (Schumach.) Milne-Redh. and Chasmanthera sp. Primary goal of this project was to test a potential analgesic effect of novel gel formulations containing a defined combination of ethanolic or aqueous extracts of these plants on pain associated with irritation provoked by arthrosis or musculoskeletal trauma. Second objective was to compare effectiveness of the novel gel-formulations with diclofenac gel. The analgesic effect was assessed using criteria of evaluation within 10 days. 81.8% of the patients (n=11) responded with reduced pain score after topical application twice daily of the gel formulation containing the ethanolic extracts, whereas the water-based formulation was less effective (57.1%; n=7). Diclofenac gel (25mg) reduced the pain by 58.3% (n=12) of the patients within two weeks. The results demonstrated that the ethanolic extract was more effective than the aqueous extract and the well established diclofenac gel. Our study involving pain-associated patients explained the importance of an adequate formulation for extracts used in the traditional medicine and pointed out that a combination of plant extracts could an effective alternative to topically applied synthetic analgesics. Further studies are necessary to examine the mechanisms contributing to the analgesic effect of the plant extracts.