Bauhinia variegata L. (Rakta kanchan) has been traditionally used in India for treatment of a variety of inflammatory
conditions, skin diseases, stomatitis, leprosy and for wound healing. Using mostly in vitro models, a number
of published reports confirmed the anti-inflammatory potential of the leaves, bark and roots of this tree. The isolation of a
bioactive triterpene saponin from the leaves and a flavonol glycoside from the roots has also been reported. In the present
study, we have evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of the leaf extract of B. variegata, using three in vivo animal
models: the carrageenan induced rat paw edema, cotton pellets induced granuloma formation, and adjuvant induced arthritis
in rat. Both the ethanol extract and the petroleum ether fraction obtained from this extract demonstrated activity in all
the three bioassays. The activity was found to be more pronounced in the petroleum ether fraction. These bioactivities
compared favorably with diclofenac sodium, which was used as positive control, and confirms the traditional usefulness
of this plant for the treatment of both acute and chronic inflammatory conditions.
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