Isolation and identification of compounds from the leaves of Secamone africana (oliv.) bullock used locally to treat malaria
Traditional medicine is an affordable and accessible source of primary health care for treatment of tropical diseases such as malaria. Malaria in developing tropical countries has been treated using preparations of traditional herbal plants. In Uganda, Secamone africana extract has been used as traditional medicine for treating various diseases like malaria. However, it is difficult to prove the efficiency of Secamone africana herbal drugs because there is no information on the compounds from this plant species. The purpose of this study was to investigate the compounds in the plant extract of Secamone africana that is used locally to treat malaria. Secamone africana leaves were collected and extraction of metabolites was done using ethyl acetate. Phytochemical screening of phytochemicals from the leaves of ethyl acetate extract was carried out to determine the different classes of metabolites. Isolation and purification of the compounds was carried out on silica gel normal column chromatography using gradient solvent system of varying polarity. A pure compound 1 (9.0 mg) was isolated. Identification of the isolated compound 1 was done using spectroscopic analysis and MS experiment. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of; basic alkaloids, flavone aglycones, coumarins, saponins, sterols and triterpenes. Structural elucidation of compound 1 revealed that the compound was β-Sitosterol [17-(4-Ethyl-1,5-dimethyl-hexyl)-10,13-dimethyl-2,3,4,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17-tetradecahydro-1 H-cyclopenta [α] phenanthren-3-ol]. This was the first time to identify the β-Sitosterol from the genus Secamone family Asteraceae. The presence of the identified phytochemicals and the compound β-Sitosterol supports the use of this plant in traditional medicine and thus supports its use by the local community in treating various diseases.