The aim of the present study was to develop self-microemulsifying drug delivery systems (SMEDDS) of the extract of Moringa oleifera, a herbal medicinal plant. Kaempferol and quercetin, the flavonoids present in the leaf extract of M. oleifera, were chosen as markers for quantification. The optimized formulation of SMEDDS consisted of propylene glycol dicaprylocaprate, polysorbate 80, and polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400) in a percentage ratio of 20:60:20 (m/m). SMEDDS emulsified immediately (within 20 s) after dilution in water, resulting in transparent microemulsions with a droplet size of 49 nm. SMEDDS could increase the solubility of kaempferol and quercetin to nearly 100 % within 15 min, whereas only a 30 % improvement in solubility was achieved in the case of crude extract. These results demonstrated SMEDDS to be a promising strategy to improve the solubility of M. oleifera extract-derived drugs, which, in turn, could prove beneficial to the herbal medicine field.
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