This study set out to investigate the anti-inflammatory activity of Vangueria infausta, an edible wild fruit from Zimbabwe. The importance lies in the fact that this plant species could be developed as a low cost and effective therapeutic agent, with little or no side effects from natural sources. The fruit pulp of V. infausta was subjected to cold ethanol extraction to get crude extract. Flavonoids were isolated by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and unsaponifiable matter by liquid-liquid extraction using petroleum ether. The three were assayed by egg albumin denaturation and Nitric Oxide radical scavenging assays. Unsaponifiable fraction, crude ethanol extract and flavonoid fraction exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activity with a high of 93.12±0.03% (at 400 mg/L), 79.91±0.042% (at 800 mg/L) and 54.40±0.061% (at 800 mg/L), respectively in the egg albumin denaturation assay, whereas, in the nitric oxide (NO) radical scavenging assay it was respectively 68.99±0.058% (800 mg/L), 82.85±0.047% (at 800 mg/L) and 33.46±0.036% (at 800 mg/L). V. infausta crude extract and unsaponifiable fraction were superior to indomethacin and quercetin standards at lower concentrations in the egg albumin inhibition assay. This study shows that V. infausta possess potent anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that could be developed into anti-inflammatory drugs.
Key words: Vangueria infausta, unsaponifiable fraction, crude ethanol extract, flavonoids, anti-inflammatory activity, egg albumin assay, NO radical scavenging assay.