Phytochemical and biological profile of Nasturtium officinale R. Br.: a strong inhibitor of pancreatic lipase


*Corresponding author 
1. Società Eccellenze Sibarite s.r.l., Corigliano-Rossano, Cosenza, Italy
2. Dipartimento di Farmacia e Scienze della Salute e della Nutrizione, Università della Calabria, Rende, Cosenza, Italy


Pancreatic lipase, a key enzyme for lipid absorption, is one of the most important targets for the treatment of obesity. Here, in an attempt to find new natural effective agents, the methanolic extract and fractions from Nasturtium officinale R. Br. were investigated for their anti-obesity potential. The ability to inhibit pancreatic lipase was verified through the in vitro evaluation of the prevention of p-nitrophenyl caprylate hydrolysis. Compositional profiling revealed that flavonoids were the main specialized metabolites present in the extract with kaempferol, quercetin and rutin being the most abundant compounds. Crude extract showed a significant anti-lipidemic activity with an IC50 value of 2.33 ± 0.04 mg/ml while, among fractions, Ethyl acetate (AcOEt) was the most active one, with an IC50 value of 1.01 ± 0.02 mg/ml, respectively. Obtained results support the hypothesis that N. officinalis can be a source of bioactive (principles) phytochemicals for the pharmacological inhibition of dietary lipids absorption.


Nasturtium officinale R. Br., known as water cress, belongs to the family Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) and it is a hardy perennial plant native to Europe. Normally, it is sold in fresh form and consumed as a vegetable in salads, soups and other recipes. The leaves of this plant are also widely used as a home remedy as depurative, diuretic, expectorant, hypoglycemic and antiodontalgic (1). Recently many studies have been conducted and they have demonstrated its antioxidant, anticancer, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective properties.


These therapeutic effects are caused by glucosinolates present in the plant,

isothiocyanates, polyphenols (flavonoids, phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins), terpenes (including carotenoids), vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, E, C) and bioelements (2). These valuable chemical components are the reason for the important position of N. officinale in the food and cosmetics industries. N. officinale is also accepted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as a safe comestible plant, and is included in the mon ...