PHARMACOLOGICAL, PHYTOCHEMICAL AND MORPHOLOGICAL STUDY OF THREE MAYAN ACCESSIONS OF BIXA ORELLANA L. LEAVES
Achiote (Bixa orellana L.) is a plant native to tropical America. The seeds of this plant are often used in the food industry, but the leaves are underutilized. In the southeastern region of Mexico, the annatto leaves are used in the traditional Mayan medicine. While the dosage and the quality remain unclear, and we studied the chemical profile and biological activity of annatto leaves from three accessions. The qualitative analysis showed low presence of saponins and abundant anthraquinones. The annatto leaf extracts of accessions 2 and 3 had a higher content of total phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity compared to accession 1. Accession 3 showed anti-inflammatory effects similar to indomethacin. In conclusion, the annatto leaves of accession 3 could be used to prepare phytomedicines due to its anti-inflammatory capacity. These results add medicinal and economic value to this crop, and indicate the importance of performing detailed pharmacological studies.