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Phytother Res. 2006 Nov;20(11):961-5.

Correlation between the in vitro antioxidant activity and polyphenol content of aqueous extracts from Bulgarian herbs.

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Department of Preclinical, Clinical Pharmacology and Biochemistry, Varna University of Medicine, 9002 Varna, Bulgaria.


The water phase antioxidant activity of extracts from 23 Bulgarian medicinal plants was studied in relation to their polyphenol content in comparison with mate, black tea, honeybush and rooibos foreign species. Antioxidant activity was measured by the ABTS (2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)) cation radical decolorization assay, and the total polyphenol content was assayed according to the Folin-Ciocalteu method. Five Bulgarian plant extracts exhibited higher antioxidant activity than that of mate, which is 21.7% of all Bulgarian herbs included in this study. These were Alchemilla vulgaris L. (4.79 +/- 0.14 mm), Sambucus ebulus L. (4.03 +/- 0.07 mm), Mentha spicata L. (3.90 +/- 0.03 mm), Fragaria vesca L. (3.74 +/- 0.06 mm), Crataegus monogyna Jacq. (3.63 +/- 0.05 mm). Another eight Bulgarian medicinal plant extracts exhibited an intermediate antioxidant activity - lower than that of mate and higher than that of honeybush, which makes 34.8% of all Bulgarian herbs included in the study. More than half of the herbal extracts included in the present study exhibited antioxidant activity higher than or comparable to the reference foreign plants. A positive correlation (r = 0.92) between antioxidant activity and polyphenol content was found, suggesting that the antioxidant capacity of the aqueous plant extracts is due to a great extent to their polyphenols.

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