Evaluation of antioxidant activity of medicinal plants containing polyphenol compounds. Comparison of two extraction systems
This study investigates the influence of extraction system on the extractability of polyphenol compounds and antioxidant activity of various medicinal plants. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and total polyphenol content of 25 Bulgarian medicinal plants subjected to water or 80% acetone extractions were investigated and compared. The type of extragent significantly influenced the efficiency of the polyphenol extraction and the antioxidant activity. In all cases ORAC results and total polyphenol content were higher for acetone extraction than for water extraction. The acetone extract of peppermint had the highest ORAC value - 2917 mu mol Trolox equivalent (TE)/g dry weight (DW) and polyphenol content - 20216 mg/100 g DW. For water extraction thyme exhibited the highest ORAC antioxidant activity - 1434 mu mol TE/g DW. There was a significant linear correlation between the concentration of total polyphenols and ORAC in the investigated medicinal plants. It can be concluded that the solvent used affects significantly the polyphenol content and the antioxidant activity of the extract and therefore it is recommended to use more than one extraction system for better assessment of the antioxidant activity of natural products. Several of the investigated herbs contain substantial amounts of free radical scavengers and can serve as a potential source of natural antioxidants for medicinal and commercial uses.