Spilanthes acmella Murr. (Compositae) has been used as a traditional medicine for toothache, rheumatism and fever. Its extracts had been shown to exhibit vasorelaxant and antioxidant activities. Herein, its antimicrobial, antioxidant and cytotoxic activities were evaluated. Agar dilution method assays against 27 strains of microorganisms were performed. Results showed that fractions from the chloroform and methanol extracts inhibited the growth of many tested organisms, e.g. Corynebacterium diphtheriae NCTC 10356 with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 64-256 mg/mL and Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633 with MIC of 128-256 mg/mL. The tested fractions all exhibited antioxidant properties in both DPPH and SOD assays. Potent radical scavenging activity was observed in the DPPH assay. No cytotoxic effects of the extracts against KB and HuCCA-1 cell lines were evident. Bioassay-guided isolation resulted in a diverse group of bioactive compounds such as phenolics [vanillic acid (2), trans-ferulic acid (5) and trans-isoferulic acid (6)], coumarin (scopoletin, 4) and triterpenoids like 3-acetylaleuritolic acid (1), b-sitostenone (3), stigmasterol and stigmasteryl-3-O-b-D-glucopyranosides, in addition to a mixture of stigmasteryl-and b-sitosteryl-3-O-b-D-glucopyranosides. The compounds 1-6 represent bioactive metabolites of S. acmella Murr. that were never previously reported. Our findings demonstrate for the first time the potential benefits of this medicinal plant as a rich source of high therapeutic value compounds for medicines, cosmetics, supplements and as a health food.
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