keywords: Hippocrarea welwitschii root, phytochemical screening, two triterpenoids
The powdered dried root of Hippocreata welwitschii, a plant known traditionally for its strong anti-epileptic activity was extracted with 95% ethanol to obtain the crude extract. The crude root extract was investigated for its chemical constitution. Phytochemical analysis of the crude extract showed that it contained glycosides, saponins, triterpenes, phenols and alkaloids. It was then fractionated into hexane, ethyl acetate, aqueous methanol and an insoluble yellow substance. The ethyl acetate fraction was subjected to chromatographic separation to give a sub-fraction coded ROSW0 which on IR spectral and GC-MS analyses led to the identification of two triterpenoids, lup-20(29)-en-3-ol, acetate and lup-20(29)-en-3-one. The phytochemicals, including the isolated triterpenoids may be responsible for the anti-epileptic activity of the plant in traditional medicinal practice.
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