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J Food Sci. 2011 Apr;76(3):C512-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02109.x.

Oregano: chemical analysis and evaluation of its antimalarial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities.

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1
Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques de Toulouse, Laboratoire de Botanique-Mycologie, 35 ch. des Maraîchers, F- 31062 Toulouse, France. elbabili@cict.fr

Abstract

GC-FID and GC-MS analysis of essential oil from oregano leaves (Origanum compactum) resulted in the identification of 46 compounds, representing more than 98% of the total composition. Carvacrol was the predominant compound (36.46%), followed by thymol (29.74%) and p-cymene (24.31%). Serial extractions with petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, ethanol, and water were performed on aerials parts of Origanum compactum. In these extracts, different chemical families were characterized: polyphenols (gallic acid equivalent 21.2 to 858.3 g/kg), tannins (catechin equivalent 12.4 to 510.3 g/kg), anthocyanins (cyanidin equivalent 0.38 to 5.63 mg/kg), and flavonoids (quercetin equivalent 14.5 to 54.7 g/kg). The samples (essential oil and extracts) were subjected to a screening for antioxidant (DPPH and ABTS assays) and antimalarial activities and against human breast cancer cells. The essential oil showed a higher antioxidant activity with an IC50=2±0.1 mg/L. Among the extracts, the aqueous extract had the highest antioxidant activity with an IC50=4.8±0.2 mg/L (DPPH assay). Concerning antimalarial activity, Origanum compactum essential oil and ethyl acetate extract showed the best results with an IC50 of 34 and 33 mg/mL, respectively. In addition, ethyl acetate extract (30 mg/L) and ethanol extract (56 mg/L) showed activity against human breast cancer cells (MCF7). The oregano essential oil was considered to be nontoxic.

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