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J Sci Food Agric. 2007 Nov;87(14):2638-47. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.3023.

Infusions of Portuguese medicinal plants: Dependence of final antioxidant capacity and phenol content on extraction features.

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  • 1Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, R. Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, P-4200-072 Porto, Portugal.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Aqueous extracts of most medicinal plants traditionally employed in Portugal (at the ratio of 1 g plant: 110 mL water) have been assayed for total antioxidant capacity and phenol content, in order to elucidate their claimed medicinal features.

RESULTS:

The antioxidant activity was assessed by the ABTS(•+) method; the ascorbic acid equivalent values ranged from 1.4280 ± 0.1261 g L(-1) for avocado (Persea americana (Lauraceae)) obtained by infusion of powder, down to 0.0027 ± 0.0012 g L(-1) for olive (Olea europaea (Oleaceae)) obtained by infusion of leaves. Total phenol content was determined by the Folin-Ciocalteu procedure; the gallic acid equivalent values ranged from 0.5541 ± 0.0289 g L(-1) for avocado obtained by infusion of powder, down to 0.0053 ± 0.0014 g L(-1) for olive obtained by boiling leaves. A good correlation between total antioxidant capacity and total phenol content was found.

CONCLUSION:

The method of powder infusion should be chosen if high concentration of antioxidants are sought. On the other hand, a high antioxidant capacity and a high phenol content correlate well with the empirically established (and widely publicised) capacity to treat respiratory infections. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.

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