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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.



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.


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.


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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