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Phytother Res. 2001 Mar;15(2):103-8.

The antioxidant activity of the essential oils of Artemisia afra, Artemisia abyssinica and Juniperus procera.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmacognosy, Karl-Franzens-University of Graz, Universit√§tsplatz 4/I, A-8010 Graz, Austria.


The essential oils of Artemisia afra Jacq., Artemisia abyssinica Schultz-Bip. and Juniperus procera Hoechst ex Endl. were examined for their potential radical scavenging activities. First a rapid evaluation of antioxidants was made using a TLC screening method. The abilities of the volatile oils to act as nonspecific donors for hydrogen atoms or electrons were checked in the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl assay. Oils from all three species showed positive results and were examined further. The oils of A. afra and J. procera were also effective hydroxyl radical scavenging agents when assessed in the deoxyribose degradation assay, whilst oils from A. abyssinica exhibited a paradoxical effect. In the in vitro assay for non-enzymatic lipid peroxidation in liposomes, the oils of A. afra and J. procera also displayed antioxidant potential. It was not possible to measure the effect of A. abyssinica oil in this system because certain components, e.g. alk-2-enals, interfered with the assay. The compounds that contribute to the radical scavenging activities of A. afra and J. procera were identified and then assessed for their effects in the various test systems. Finally, the qualitative and quantitative compositions of the essential oils were studied by GC-MS.

Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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