Background: Schinus molle L. is a medicinal and aromatic plant widely used in folk
medicine and commonly found in Algeria and the Mediterranean region. In the present work, we investigated
the in vitro antioxidant, anti-cholinesterase, α-glucosidase inhibitory and photoprotective
potentials of the Schinus molle L. plant’s extract/fractions. The metabolite profile of Schinus
molle L. was analyzed using RP-HPLC and GC-MS.
Methods: The antioxidant activity was assessed using different tests. The anticholinesterase activity
was investigated by quantifying the acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory activities.
The antidiabetic activity was investigated by α-glucosidase inhibition test, whereas photoprotective
activity was evaluated by Sun Protection Factor (SPF) using spectrophotometry UV-Vis.
The extracts were then subjected to RP-HPLC–PDA and GC–MS analysis.
Results: Ethyl acetate and butanol fractions with high contents of total phenolics and flavonoids exhibited
the strongest antioxidant activity. Ethyl acetate extract exhibited considerable enzyme inhibition
potential on acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase and α-glucosidase with percentages
of inhibition of 99.08 ± 0.79%, 100% and 98.80 ± 0.18%, respectively. Furthermore, the ethyl acetate
fraction showed high photoprotective activity with the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) value =
38,26 ± 0.73. Three phenolic acids (gallic, tannic and vanillic acids) and five flavonoids
(myricetin, apigenin, naringenin, rutin and quercetin) were identified with RP-HPLC–PDA.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that Schinus molle L. may be useful in the development of an
alternative agent for oxidative stress, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and could be used as a natural
sunscreen in pharmaceutics or cosmetic formulations.