The Biological Properties of the Genus Eriocephalus L. (Asteraceae)


  • E. W. Njenga Department of Biological Sciences, Chepkoilel University College, P.O.Box 1125-30100, Eldoret, Kenya.
  • A. M. Viljoen Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • S. V. Vuuren Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Park town, 2193, South Africa.


minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), inhibition concentration (IC50) antimicrobial, anti- inflammatory, antioxidant


The genus Eriocephalus belonging to the family Asteraceae is economically important with some of its members used as traditional herbal remedies, perfumes and in cosmetics. Most of the uses of members of the genus as traditional herbal remedies have not been validated and therefore this study seeks to determine their biological properties. The biological activities of some of the species were studied to determine the scientific rationale for the use of members of the genus in traditional herbal remedies. Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant activities and qualitative screening for inhibition of acetyl cholinesterase of oils and leaf extracts were investigated. Aerial parts were hydro distilled to obtain essential oils and leaves were soaked in acetone, filtered and dried for further use. The essential oils were active against the gram +ve bacteria Bacillus cereus with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 0.2-16mg/ml and the yeast Cryptococcus neoformans 0.5-16mg/ml. The oils showed anti-inflammatory properties with IC50 of 30.2-98.9μg/ml but did not show antioxidant properties. The essential oils showed inhibitory properties against acetlylcholinesterase. The leaf extracts had antioxidant activity with IC50 of 21.8-58.8 μg/ml. The biological activity of the oils indicates that most of the traditional uses are influenced by their presence. The in vitro results provide a scientific basis for use of the members of the genus in traditional herbal remedies.


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How to Cite

Njenga, E. W., Viljoen, A. M., & Vuuren, S. V. (2012). The Biological Properties of the Genus Eriocephalus L. (Asteraceae). East African Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 2(1), Pg 141–152. Retrieved from