Medicinal Herbs Found to be Antioxidant
Researchers from India’s NMT Gujarati College of Pharmacy have found that certain botanical herbs – namely Vitis vinifera (grapeseed), Phyllanthus emblica L. (Indian gooseberry), Punica granatum (pomegranate), Cinnamomum cassia (cinnamon), Ginkgo biloba L., and Camellia sinensis (tea), have antioxidant potential that rivals vitamin C, providing synergistic immunity.
The researchers took extracts of each of the herbs, along with other foods and botanicals, and tested them for their antioxidant and immunity abilities by administering 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), superoxide, and nitric oxide free radical scavenging tests. These are the premiere tests used today by biochemical researchers to determine a substances ability to boost immunity and prevent damage from oxidative radicals.
The researchers found that the extracts from the grapeseed, gooseberry, pomegranate, cinnamon, ginkgo and tea had significantly high antioxidant capabilities. They also found that when applied together, the herbs had even greater levels of free radical scavenging ability. Their antioxidant potential was comparable to ascorbic acid – known to have one of the highest free radical scavenging potentials among biochemicals.
The researchers concluded that combining antioxidant herbs provided the greatest potential for disease prevention.
Other studies have confirmed similar findings for herbs. A 2010 study from Nigeria’s University of Ibadan found that ten popular Nigerian herbs (Psidium guajava, Alstonia boonei, Cassia alata, Newbouldia laevis, Spondias mombin, Globimetula cupulatum, Chromolaena odorata, Securidaca longepedunculata, Ocimum gratissimum, and Morinda lucida) all had significantly high hydroxyl radical scavenging potential – many in the region of ascorbic acid. Using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging test, they found that Spondias mombin (yellow mombin) had 8.58 +/- 3.04% free radical scavenging levels. em>Spondias mombin is used in ethnomedicine for inflammation, gastrointestinal issues and even venereal disease.
Damage from oxidative radicals have been attributed as at least part of the cause of a host of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma and many others. Free radical scavengers reduce oxidation. It seems apparent that antioxidant properties should be included in the benefit of many medicinal herbs.
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