Anti-inflammatory effect of Urtica dioica folia extract in comparison to caffeic malic acid


Obertreis B, Giller K, Teucher T






Urtica dioica extract is a traditionary used adjuvant therapeutic in rheumatoid arthritis. The antiphlogistic effects of the urtica dioica folia extract IDS 23 (Extractum Urticae dioicae foliorum) and the main phenolic ingredient caffeic malic acid were tested concerning the inhibitory potential on biosynthesis of arachidonic acid metabolites in vitro. The caffeic malic acid was isolated from Urtica folia extract using gel exclusion- and high performance liquid chromatography and identified by mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance. Concerning the 5-lipoxygenase products IDS 23 showed a partial inhibitory effect. The isolated phenolic acid inhibited the synthesis of the leukotriene B4 in a concentration dependent manner. The concentration for halfmaximal inhibition (IC50) was 83 microns/ml in the used assay. IDS 23 showed a strong concentration dependent inhibition of the synthesis of cyclooxygenase derived reactions. The IC50 were 92 micrograms/ml for IDS 23 and 38 micrograms/ml for the caffeic malic acid. Calculating the content in IDS 23 the caffeic malic acid is a possible but not the only active ingredient of the plant extract in the tested assay systems. It is demonstrated that the phenolic component showed a different enzymatic target compared with IDS 23. The antiphlogistic effects observed in vitro may give an explanation for the pharmacological and clinical effects of IDS 23 in therapie of rheumatoid diseases.