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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Aug 14;50(17):4947-52.

Determination of antioxidant potential of volatile extracts isolated from various herbs and spices.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California-Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Antioxidant activities of volatile extracts isolated from thyme, basil, rosemary, chamomile, lavender, and cinnamon were evaluated by two independent assays: the aldehyde/carboxylic acid assay and the conjugated diene assay. The volatile extracts were prepared from dried herbs and spices using liquid-liquid continuous extraction following steam distillation under reduced pressure (55 degrees C and 95 mmHg). The antioxidant activities of the extracts decreased in the following order in both of the lipophilic assay systems: thyme > basil > rosemary > chamomile > lavender and cinnamon. Thyme and basil extracts inhibited the oxidation of hexanal for 40 days at the levels of 10 microg/mL and 50 microg/mL, respectively. The extracts of thyme and basil were effective in retarding methyl linoleate deterioration at 40 degrees C, with activity increasing with concentration in the range 10-200 microg/mL. At a concentration of 50 microg/mL, thyme extract was similar in antioxidant activity to BHT and alpha-tocopherol in the conjugated diene assay. The antioxidant potentials of the volatile extracts used in this study were accurately measured by the lipophilic systems, such as the aldehyde/carboxylic acid assay and the conjugated diene assay.

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