Typha capensis (Rohrb.)N.E.Br. (bulrush) extract scavenges free radicals, inhibits collagenase activity and affects human sperm motility and mitochondrial membrane potential in vitro: A pilot study
The biodiversity in South Africa provides more than 30000 higher plants, of which more than 3000 are used by traditional healers to treat diseases. Typha capensis (bulrush) is one of the medicinal plants used in South Africa to treat male fertility problems. Considering that South African traditional healers have been recognised by Law and the health benefits of T. capensis have not been scientifically investigated yet, this study aimed at investigating the in vitro effects of aqueous extracts from this plant on male reproductive functions. Both leaves and rhizomes of T. capensis were dried, infused with distilled water and freeze-dried. Motile sperm from 50 men were isolated by swim-up and incubated with 1μgml -1 aqueous extract of Typha rhizome for 1h at 37°C. Vitality, motility, sperm production of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial membrane potential were analysed in the test sample, a control and in the pellet from the swim-up. Results showed that the rhizome extract had significant (P<0.0001) negative effects on all parameters. The extracts from the leaves and rhizomes revealed dose-dependent inhibitory activity for collagenase and free radical formation. No inhibitory activity for elastase was found. The inhibitory activity for collagenase might indicate possible anti-cancer effects. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.