(1) Carthamus Tinctorius L
. (safflower) is extensively used in traditional herbal medicine. (2) The aim of this study was to investigate the bioactive properties of polyphenol extracts from flowers of Carthamus Tinctorius
(CT) cultivated in Italy. We also evaluated the properties of two bioactive water-soluble flavonoid compounds, hydroxy safflor yellow A (HSYA) and safflor yellow A (SYA), contained in Carthamus Tinctorius
petals. (3) The total polyphenol content was 3.5 ± 0.2 g gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/100 g, flavonoids content was 330 ± 23 mg catechin equivalent (CE)/100 g in the flowers. The extract showed a high antioxidant activity evaluated by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical-scavenging assays. In addition, flower extract, SYA, and HSYA were able to reduce the susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein to copper-induced lipid peroxidation. In order to investigate the bioactive properties of flower extract, SYA, and HSYA we also studied their modulatory effect of oxidative stress on human dermal fibroblasts (HuDe) oxidized by tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t
-BOOH). The CT extract at concentrations ranging from 0.01–20 μg GAE/mL of polyphenols, exerted a protective effect against t
-BOOH triggered oxidative stress. At higher concentration the extract exerted a pro-oxidant effect. Similar results have been obtained using HSYA and SYA. (4) These results demonstrate a biphasic effect exerted by HSYA, SYA, and flower extracts on oxidative stress.
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