Abstract Solvents play important and critical role in natural product chemistry and could generate artefacts during the extraction and purification of metabolites from a biological matrix. This study aimed to correlate the chromatographic profile with biological activity of Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br., Convolvulaceae, extracts obtained with hydroethanolic extraction. Thus, aerial parts of I. pes-caprae were extracted with different concentration of ethanol (50, 70 and 90°GL) and the obtained extracts were analysed by HPLC–UV. HPLC data were studied employing chemometrics to discriminate the samples. Moreover these samples were further characterized by using UPLC–QTOF/MS data. The extracts were also biomonitored through the paw-oedema and spontaneous nociception induced by trypsin in mice. Different chromatographic profiles were obtained and the exploratory analysis clearly revealed higher level of ethyl caffeate in extracts of lower strength of ethanol (50°GL). This compound was suggested to be an artefact formed by transesterification of caffeoylquinic acid derivatives present in the plant, once it was not observed when other solvents were employed. During the biological assay, only the extract obtained with ethanol 50°GL presented significant inhibition of inflammation (45 ± 9%) and nociception (24 ± 3%). Ethyl caffeate seems to be linked to the anti-inflammatory effect since it reduced 86 ± 5% of paw-oedema induced by trypsin. Artefacts could contribute to the biological activity of herbal preparations and consequently lead to misinterpretation of the results.