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J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Oct;82(2-3):197-205.

Antioxidant activity in medicinal plants associated with the symptoms of diabetes mellitus used by the indigenous peoples of the North American boreal forest.

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Department of Plant Science, Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada.


Thirty-five plant species were selected from the published literature as traditionally used by the Indigenous Peoples of the boreal forest in Canada for three or more symptoms of diabetes or its complications. Antioxidant activities in methanolic extracts support the contribution of these traditional medicines in a lifestyle historically low in the incidence of diabetes. In a DPPH assay of free radical scavenging activity 89% of the methanol extracts had activity significantly greater than common modern dietary components, 14% were statistically equal to ascorbic acid and 23% had activities similar to green tea and a Trolox positive control. Superoxides produced with an NBT/xanthine oxidase assay found scavenging was significantly higher in 29% of the species as compared with the modern dietary components and Trolox. The methanol extracts of Rhus hirta, Quercus alba and Cornus stolonifera performed similarly to green tea's in this assay. Assessment of peroxyl radical scavenging using a DCF/AAPH assay showed 60% of the plant extracts statistically similar to Trolox while R. hirta and Solidago canadensis extracts were greater than green tea, ascorbic acid and Trolox. The majority of the species (63 and 97%, respectively) had scavenging activities similar to ascorbic acid in the superoxide and peroxyl radical scavenging assays.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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