Special Issue "Medicinal, Aromatic and Edible Plants: The Link Between Pharmacy, Food and Nutrition"

A special issue of Antioxidants (ISSN 2076-3921). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural and Synthetic Antioxidants".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antonios Chrysargyris
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science, Cyprus University of Technology, 3036 Limassol, Cyprus
Interests: Aromatic plants and vegetable cultivation; Development of strategies for plant nutrition and response to abiotic stress; Soilless culture, substrates and hydroponics; Postharvest storage and processing of medicinal and aromatic plants; Essential oil analysis and biocidal activity; Evaluation of natural products
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Andrei Mocan
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Iuliu Hațieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 23 Ghe. Marinescu Street, Cluj-Napoca 400337, Romania
Interests: pharmaceutical biology (botany); valorization of traditional medicinal and edible plants and fungi; extraction optimization of bioactive compounds from plant materials; experimental design applied to extraction and process optimization; bioactivity and chemical characterization of natural products, development of new nutraceuticals based on medicinal plants and fungi, natural products as enzyme inhibitors
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Nikos Tzortzakis
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science, Cyprus University of Technology, 3036 Limassol, Cyprus
Interests: vegetable production; plant nutrition; soilless culture; substrates and hydroponics; abiotic stress; postharvest and quality of fresh produce; edible flowers; bioactive compounds; medicinal and aromatic plants
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The rapid explosion of the human population and several changes in their life style reflect the epidemic increase of chronic diseases and associated pathological complications. As such, health has become the forefront of scientific research for finding novel foods and strategies to tackle such a public health burden. Food is not only intended to satisfy hunger and provide essential macro- and micronutrients for the body, but it can also supply bioactive ingredients that aid to decrease nutrition-related diseases and ensure physical and mental wellbeing.

Plants are an integral part of all living organisms of the earth, and medicinal plants are widely distributed worldwide. Since immemorial time, humans from all the cultures worldwide have independently selected plants as a food. Moreover, as a consequence of the intensification of the agricultural practices, several wild edible plants have been gradually excluded from daily diets, depriving the human body from a more diverse panel of plant phytochemicals. Furthermore, the widespread traditional uses of natural herbs and medicinal plants in curing and preventing diseases (nature’s pharmacy) are very well described in ancient texts. Different medicinal, aromatic, and edible plants are known to present antibiotic, antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hyperlipidemic properties, among others and several herbal derived products or dietary supplements are market-available today, being advertised for their health claims.

Contributions to this Special Issue may cover all research aspects related to medicinal, aromatic, and edible plants linking the gap between the triangle of pharmacy, food, and nutrition; characterization of biocidal activity and plant biocidal capacity, including (but not limited to) methods for their extraction, purification, comprehensive profiling characterization, and quantification; the elucidation of their mechanisms of action with focus on antiproperties (antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, antidiabetic, etc.); and improved methods for assessing bioactive components and their bioaccessibility. The recent advances in analytical approaches, -omic sciences, and biotechnology which are offering new and interesting insights into their characterization are also covered.

Dr. Lillian Barros
Dr. Antonios Chrysargyris
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Andrei Mocan
Dr. Nikolaos Tzortzakis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Natural products
  • Phytochemicals
  • Functional foods
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Unexplored edible plants
  • Added-value products
  • Plant byproducts

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Published Papers (18 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Protective Effects of Korean Herbal Remedy against Airway Inflammation in an Allergic Asthma by Suppressing Eosinophil Recruitment and Infiltration in Lung
Antioxidants 2021, 10(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10010006 - 23 Dec 2020
Viewed by 642
Abstract
The increasing prevalence of allergic asthma has become the world’s major health issue. Current treatments for allergic asthma focus on treating symptoms, while permanent cures still remain undiscovered. In this study, we investigated the effect of Korean traditional herbal remedy, Pyunkang-tang (PGT)—composed of [...] Read more.
The increasing prevalence of allergic asthma has become the world’s major health issue. Current treatments for allergic asthma focus on treating symptoms, while permanent cures still remain undiscovered. In this study, we investigated the effect of Korean traditional herbal remedy, Pyunkang-tang (PGT)—composed of six plants—on asthma alleviation in a mouse model. The PGT mixture was orally gavaged to mice (PM group, 20 mg/mouse/day) from 7 days before sensitization with ovalbumin (OVA) (day −7). On day 0 and day 14, mice from OVA-control (n = 9) and PM group (n = 8) were sensitized with OVA and alum through intraperitoneal injection. On days 18~20, OVA was challenged to mice through nasal injection and sacrificed next day. Cell profile in lung tissue was analyzed by flow cytometry and RT-qPCR analysis, and the number of eosinophils and expression of siglec-F were significantly reduced in the PM group. Lung tissue was examined with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and Alcian blue/periodic acid–Schiff (AB-PAS) staining. Noticeably reduced eosinophil infiltration around bronchioles was displayed in the PM group compared to the OVA-control group. Furthermore, PGT-treated mice showed a significant reduction in IL-13 and a mild reduction in IL-5 in lungs. A decreasing tendency of IL-5/13 (+) CD4+ T cells and IL-13(+) innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and a significant reduction in IL5(+) ILCs were also observed. When treating PGT on murine lung epithelial cells stimulated by papain, there was a significant reduction in IL-33 mRNA expression levels. Taken together, oral delivery of PGT successfully alleviated asthmatic responses provoked by OVA in a mouse model and could lead to novel therapies for allergic asthma. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Polyphenolic and Methylxanthine Bioaccessibility of Cocoa Bean Shell Functional Biscuits: Metabolomics Approach and Intestinal Permeability through Caco-2 Cell Models
Antioxidants 2020, 9(11), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9111164 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 767
Abstract
Cocoa bean shell (CBS), a by-product with considerable concentrations of bioactive compounds and proven biofunctional potential, has been demonstrated to be a suitable ingredient for high-fiber functional biscuits adapted to diabetic consumers. In this work, the in vitro bioaccessibility and intestinal absorption of [...] Read more.
Cocoa bean shell (CBS), a by-product with considerable concentrations of bioactive compounds and proven biofunctional potential, has been demonstrated to be a suitable ingredient for high-fiber functional biscuits adapted to diabetic consumers. In this work, the in vitro bioaccessibility and intestinal absorption of polyphenols and methylxanthines contained in these biscuits were evaluated, and the effect of the food matrix was studied. Biscuits containing CBS and the CBS alone underwent in vitro digestion followed by an intestinal permeability study. The results confirmed that compounds were less bioavailable in the presence of a food matrix, although the digestion contributed to their release from this matrix, increasing the concentrations available at the intestinal level and making them capable of promoting antioxidant and antidiabetic activities. After digestion, CBS biscuits were shown to possess α-glucosidase inhibition capacity comparable to that of acarbose. Moreover, the presence of the food matrix improved the stability of polyphenols throughout the digestion process. Intestinal absorption of flavan-3-ols seemed to be limited to a maximum threshold and was therefore independent of the sample, while procyanidin was not absorbed. Methylxanthine absorption was high and was boosted by the presence of the food matrix. The results confirmed the biofunctional potential of CBS-based biscuits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fermented Vinegars from Apple Peels, Raspberries, Rosehips, Lavender, Mint, and Rose Petals: The Composition, Antioxidant Power, and Genoprotective Abilities in Comparison to Acetic Macerates, Decoctions, and Tinctures
Antioxidants 2020, 9(11), 1121; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9111121 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1038
Abstract
Acetic fermentation is a method for processing plant material which has been known since antiquity. Balsamic and apple cider vinegars are investigated as antibacterial, anti-obesity, and anti-diabetic remedies. However, there is little information about vinegars fermented from aromatic herbs and edible plants. The [...] Read more.
Acetic fermentation is a method for processing plant material which has been known since antiquity. Balsamic and apple cider vinegars are investigated as antibacterial, anti-obesity, and anti-diabetic remedies. However, there is little information about vinegars fermented from aromatic herbs and edible plants. The aim of this study was to compare extracts used for culinary and medicinal purposes according to their composition, antioxidant power, and genoprotective properties. Fermented vinegars, acetic macerates, decoctions, and tinctures in 70% ethanol from raspberries, apple peels, rosehips, lavender, mint, and rose petals were prepared. Polyphenols, ascorbate, carotenoid concentrations, and antioxidant power were analyzed. The polyphenols were identified using HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography). The genoprotective properties were measured using a comet assay on lymphocytes. Fermented vinegars were poorest in phytochemicals in comparison to tinctures, decoctions, or acetic macerates, although they contained the highest concentration of metal ions. The antioxidant abilities were correlated to the phenolic content of extract. None of the extracts induced DNA damages into lymphocytes. The rosehip and rose petal extracts revealed the highest genoprotective abilities, while mint and apple fermented vinegars and decoctions had the lowest. Fermented vinegars are not a rich source of phytochemicals and they show weak genoprotective abilities, but, in increasing demand for antioxidants, any form of phytochemical sources is an added-value in diet. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antioxidant Potential of Curcumin—A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Antioxidants 2020, 9(11), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9111092 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 940
Abstract
Background: Antioxidant potential is defined as the ability to neutralize oxygen free radicals that are generated in excess due to environmental influences. The body’s defense mechanisms often require support in preventing the effects of oxidative stress. The literature data suggest that curcumin has [...] Read more.
Background: Antioxidant potential is defined as the ability to neutralize oxygen free radicals that are generated in excess due to environmental influences. The body’s defense mechanisms often require support in preventing the effects of oxidative stress. The literature data suggest that curcumin has antioxidant activity that can significantly reduce oxidative stress levels. The aim was to assess the impact of curcumin on oxidative stress markers. Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched from database inception until 27 September 2019 for randomized clinical trials in >20 patients treated with curcumin supplements and randomized to placebo/no intervention/physical activity to verify the antioxidant potential of curcumin. Results: Four studies were included in the meta-analysis, three of which were double-blind and one single-blind. A total of 308 participants took part in the research. A total of 40% of the respondents were men. The average age of participants was 27.60 ± 3.79 years. The average supplementation time was 67 days and the average dose of curcumin administered was 645 mg/24 h. Curcumin significantly increased total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (SMD = 2.696, Z = 2.003, CI = 95%, p = 0.045) and had a tendency to decrease malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration (SMD = −1.579, Z = −1.714, CI = 95%, p = 0.086). Conclusions: Pure curcumin has the potential to reduce MDA concentration and increase total antioxidant capacity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cardiac and Metabolic Impact of Functional Foods with Antioxidant Properties Based on Whey Derived Proteins Enriched with Hemp Seed Oil
Antioxidants 2020, 9(11), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9111066 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 702
Abstract
The impaired ability to feed properly, evident in oncologic, elderly, and dysphagic patients, may result in malnutrition and sarcopenia. Increasing the consumption of dietary proteins by functional foods and enriching their composition by adding beneficial nutrients may represent an adjuvant therapy. We aimed [...] Read more.
The impaired ability to feed properly, evident in oncologic, elderly, and dysphagic patients, may result in malnutrition and sarcopenia. Increasing the consumption of dietary proteins by functional foods and enriching their composition by adding beneficial nutrients may represent an adjuvant therapy. We aimed to evaluate the safety and the positive effects of a standard diet (SD) supplemented with whey-derived protein puddings (WDPP), with appropriate rheological properties, and hemp seed oil (HSO), rich in polyphenols. Rats were assigned to SD, WDPP, WDPP plus hemp seed oil (HSOP), and HSO supplemented diets for eight weeks. “Anthropometric”, metabolic, and biochemical variables, oxidative stress, tissue injury, liver histology, and cardiac susceptibility to ischemia/reperfusion were analyzed. All the supplementations did not induce significant changes in biochemical and metabolic variables, also in relation to glucose tolerance, and livers did not undergo morphological alteration and injury. An improvement of cardiac post-ischemic function in the Langendorff perfused heart model and a reduction of infarct size were observed in WDPP and HSOP groups, thanks to their antioxidant effects and the activation of Akt- and AMPK-dependent protective pathways. Data suggest that (i) functional foods enriched with WDPP and HSOP may be used to approach malnutrition and sarcopenia successfully under disabling conditions, also conferring cardioprotection, and that (ii) adequate rheological properties could positively impact dysphagia-related problems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chemometric Analysis of Extracts and Fractions from Green, Oxidized, and Microbial Fermented Teas and Their Correlation to Potential Antioxidant and Anticancer Effects
Antioxidants 2020, 9(10), 1015; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9101015 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 757
Abstract
Previous reports on phytochemicals in green tea (GT) and processed teas mainly focused on more representative compounds such as catechins. Here, we focus on the insignificantly studied non-catechin components in tea extracts, and explore the multivariate correlation between diverse phenolic compounds in tea [...] Read more.
Previous reports on phytochemicals in green tea (GT) and processed teas mainly focused on more representative compounds such as catechins. Here, we focus on the insignificantly studied non-catechin components in tea extracts, and explore the multivariate correlation between diverse phenolic compounds in tea and the in vitro antioxidant and anticancer effects. Extracts from GT and four types of processed teas were further divided into hydrophilic and hydrophobic fractions, whose phenolic compositions and antioxidant capacities were quantified using HPLC-MS and three antioxidant assays, respectively. For three types of teas, the anticancer effects of their extracts and fractions were assessed using cancer cell lines. The hydrophobic fractions had lower antioxidant capacities than the corresponding hydrophilic fractions, but exhibited superior antiproliferative effects on cancer cells compared with the whole extract and the hydrophilic fraction. Partial least squares-discriminant analysis revealed a strong correlation between the anticancer effects and the theaflavins and flavonols. Therefore, in addition to catechins, the hydrophobic fraction of tea extracts may have beneficial health effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variability in Bulb Organosulfur Compounds, Sugars, Phenolics, and Pyruvate among Greek Garlic Genotypes: Association with Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants 2020, 9(10), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9100967 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 608
Abstract
In order to assess the diversity of Greek garlic (Allium sativum L.) landraces, 34 genotypes including commercial ones were grown in the same field and their content in organosulfur compounds, pyruvate, total sugars, and total phenolics, alongside antioxidant capacity, was determined. The [...] Read more.
In order to assess the diversity of Greek garlic (Allium sativum L.) landraces, 34 genotypes including commercial ones were grown in the same field and their content in organosulfur compounds, pyruvate, total sugars, and total phenolics, alongside antioxidant capacity, was determined. The organosulfur compounds were studied by Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (GC–MS) after ultrasound-assisted extraction in ethyl acetate, identifying 2-vinyl-4H-1,3-dithiin and 3-vinyl-4H-1,2-dithiin as the predominant compounds, albeit in different ratios among genotypes. The bioactivity and the polar metabolites were determined in hydromethanolic extracts. A great variability was revealed, and nearly one-third of landraces had higher concentration of compounds determining bioactivity and organoleptic traits than the imported ones. We recorded strong correlations between pyruvate and total organosulfur compounds, and between antioxidant capacity and phenolics. In conclusion, chemical characterization revealed great genotype-dependent variation in the antioxidant properties and the chemical characters, identifying specific landraces with superior traits and nutritional and pharmaceutical value. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Combined Effect of Mediterranean Shrubland Pasture and the Dietary Administration of Sage By-Products on the Antioxidant Status of Segureña Ewes and Lambs
Antioxidants 2020, 9(10), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9100938 - 30 Sep 2020
Viewed by 531
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine if the combined effect of ewe grazing and the incorporation of sage by-products in the lamb feed enhances the Segureña ewe and lamb antioxidant status. For that, the endogenous (related to blood antioxidant enzymes) and [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to determine if the combined effect of ewe grazing and the incorporation of sage by-products in the lamb feed enhances the Segureña ewe and lamb antioxidant status. For that, the endogenous (related to blood antioxidant enzymes) and exogenous (plasma antioxidant activity) antioxidant systems of ewes and lambs were studied at the physiological stages of lactation, after weaning and at the end of the fattening period. Major results indicated that grazing improved the enzymatic antioxidant defense of ewes during the stressful period of lamb weaning, and also, the antioxidant status of the ewe plasma at both physiological stages: lactation and after lamb weaning. With regards to the lambs, ewe grazing stimulated the antioxidant enzymatic defense during lactation, but not the antioxidant capacity of the plasma. At the end of the fattening period, the inclusion of sage by-products in the lamb diet (10% w/w) enhanced both the enzymatic cascade and antioxidant capacity of the lamb plasma. The antioxidant capacity of the lamb meat was also studied and the benefits of sage were detected in samples from the deltoideus muscle. Thus, Mediterranean grazing stimulated the antioxidant defense in ewes, while the inclusion of sage by-products in the lamb diets enhanced the antioxidant status of both blood and meat. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Phenolic Composition and Skin-related Properties of the Aerial Parts Extract of Different Hemerocallis Cultivars
Antioxidants 2020, 9(8), 690; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9080690 - 02 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
Hemerocallis plants are important vegetables with nutritional and health value, especially in eastern Asia, where they have been used as medicines to cure disease such as depression and inflammation for thousands of years. The present study concerns the determination of flavonoids and phenolic [...] Read more.
Hemerocallis plants are important vegetables with nutritional and health value, especially in eastern Asia, where they have been used as medicines to cure disease such as depression and inflammation for thousands of years. The present study concerns the determination of flavonoids and phenolic acids, as well as antioxidant, anti-collagenase, anti-elastase, anti-tyrosinase and antimicrobial properties of taxa cultivated in Poland. For chemical composition estimation, LC-ESI-MS/MS analysis and spectrophotometric assays were performed. The results show the presence of sixteen compounds in all analyzed species. Among the investigated cultivars, it was found that H. “Chicago Apache” and H. fulva var. kwanso have the highest total phenolic acid and flavonoid content. The most abundant compounds in all analyzed extracts were chlorogenic acid (209.8 to 1010.0 µg/g of DE) and quercetin-3-O-rutinoside (114.7 to 1049.7 µg/g of DE). The studied extracts exhibited moderate to high skin-related activities. These properties were correlated with a high concentration of polyphenols. The present study demonstrated that Hemerocallis cultivars contain significant amounts of phenolic compounds with good skin-related activities and could be interesting as novel sources of bioactive agents for the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Chemical Profiles and Biological Properties of Rhizophora racemosa G. Mey. Extracts Obtained by Different Methods and Solvents
Antioxidants 2020, 9(6), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9060533 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2384
Abstract
Mangrove forests exemplify a multifaceted ecosystem since they do not only play a crucial ecological role but also possess medicinal properties. Methanolic, ethyl acetate and aqueous leaf and bark extracts were prepared using homogenizer-assisted extraction (HAE), infusion and maceration (with and without stirring). [...] Read more.
Mangrove forests exemplify a multifaceted ecosystem since they do not only play a crucial ecological role but also possess medicinal properties. Methanolic, ethyl acetate and aqueous leaf and bark extracts were prepared using homogenizer-assisted extraction (HAE), infusion and maceration (with and without stirring). The different extracts were screened for phytochemical profiling and antioxidant capacities in terms of radical scavenging (DPPH, ABTS), reducing potential (CUPRAC, FRAP), total antioxidant capacity and chelating power. Additionally, R. racemosa was evaluated for its anti-diabetic (α-amylase, α-glucosidase), anti-tyrosinase and anti-cholinesterase (AChE, BChE) activities. Additionally, antimycotic and antibacterial effects were investigated against Eescherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes, Enterobacter cloacae, Bacillus cereus, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Trichoderma viride, Penicillium funiculosum, Penicillium ochrochloron and Penicillium verrucosum. Finally, based on phytochemical fingerprint, in silico studies, including bioinformatics, network pharmacology and docking approaches were conducted to predict the putative targets, namely tyrosinase, lanosterol-14-α-demethylase and E. coli DNA gyrase, underlying the observed bio-pharmacological and microbiological effects. The methanolic leave and bark extracts (prepared by both HAE and maceration) abounded with phenolics, flavonoids, phenolic acids and flavonols. Results displayed that both methanolic leaf and bark extracts (prepared by HAE) exhibited the highest radical scavenging, reducing potential and total antioxidant capacity. Furthermore, our findings showed that the highest enzymatic inhibitory activity recorded was with the tyrosinase enzyme. In this context, bioinformatics analysis predicted putative interactions between tyrosinase and multiple secondary metabolites including apigenin, luteolin, vitexin, isovitexin, procyanidin B, quercetin and methoxy-trihydroxyflavone. The same compounds were also docked against lanosterol-14α-demethylase and E. Coli DNA gyrase, yielding affinities in the submicromolar–micromolar range that further support the observed anti-microbial effects exerted by the extracts. In conclusion, extracts of R. racemosa may be considered as novel sources of phytoanti-oxidants and enzyme inhibitors that can be exploited as future first-line pharmacophores. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Schisandra rubriflora Plant Material and In Vitro Microshoot Cultures as Rich Sources of Natural Phenolic Antioxidants
Antioxidants 2020, 9(6), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9060488 - 04 Jun 2020
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Schisandra rubriflora is a dioecious, underestimated medicinal plant species known from traditional Chinese medicine. The present study was aimed at characterising the polyphenolic profile composition and the related antioxidant capacity of S. rubriflora fruit, stem and leaf and in vitro microshoot culture extracts. [...] Read more.
Schisandra rubriflora is a dioecious, underestimated medicinal plant species known from traditional Chinese medicine. The present study was aimed at characterising the polyphenolic profile composition and the related antioxidant capacity of S. rubriflora fruit, stem and leaf and in vitro microshoot culture extracts. Separate analyses of material from female and male specimens were carried out. This study was specifically aimed at detailed characterisation of the contribution of phenolic compounds to overall antioxidant activity using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography with a photodiode array detector coupled to electrospray ionization ion trap mass spectrometry (UHPLC-DAD-ESI-MS3) and a high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detector (HPLC-DAD). Using UHPLC-DAD-ESI-MS3, twenty-seven phenolic compounds from among phenolic acids and flavonoids were identified. Concentrations of three phenolic acids (neochlorogenic, chlorogenic and cryptochlorogenic acids) and eight flavonoids (hyperoside, rutoside, isoquercitrin, guaijaverin, trifolin, quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin) were determined using HPLC-DAD using reference standards. The highest total phenolic content was confirmed for the stem and leaf extracts collected in spring. The contents of phenolic compounds of in vitro biomasses were comparable to that in the fruit extracts. The methanolic extracts from the studied plant materials were evaluated for their antioxidant properties using various in vitro assays, namely free radicals scavenging estimation using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl-hydrate (DPPH), ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and cupric-reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC) as well as QUick, Easy, New, CHEap, and Reproducible CUPRAC (QUENCHER-CUPRAC) assays. A close relationship between the content of polyphenolic compounds in S. rubriflora and their antioxidant potential has been documented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thymus zygis subsp. zygis an Endemic Portuguese Plant: Phytochemical Profiling, Antioxidant, Anti-Proliferative and Anti-Inflammatory Activities
Antioxidants 2020, 9(6), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9060482 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1099
Abstract
Thymus zygis subsp. zygis is an endemic Portuguese plant belonging to the Thymus zygis species. Although T. zygis is commonly used as a condiment and as a medicinal herb, a detailed description of the polyphenol composition of hydroethanolic (HE) and aqueous decoction (AD) [...] Read more.
Thymus zygis subsp. zygis is an endemic Portuguese plant belonging to the Thymus zygis species. Although T. zygis is commonly used as a condiment and as a medicinal herb, a detailed description of the polyphenol composition of hydroethanolic (HE) and aqueous decoction (AD) extracts is not available. In this work, we describe for the first time a detailed phenolic composition of Thymus zygis subsp. zygis HE and AD extracts, together with their antioxidant, anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory activities. Unlike other Thymus species, T. zygis subsp. zygis extracts contain higher amounts of luteolin-(?)-O-hexoside. However, the major phenolic compound is rosmarinic acid, and high amounts of salvianolic acids K and I were also detected. T. zygis subsp. zygis extracts exhibited significant scavenging activity of ABTS+, hydroxyl (OH), and nitric oxide (NO) radicals. Regarding the anti-proliferative/cytotoxic effect, tested against Caco-2 and HepG2 cells, the AD extract only slightly reduced cell viability at higher concentrations (IC50 > 600 µg/mL, 48 h exposure), denoting very low toxicity, while the HE extract showed a high anti-proliferative effect, especially at 48 h exposure (IC50 of 85.01 ± 15.10 μg/mL and 82.19 ± 2.46 μg/mL, for Caco-2 and HepG2, respectively). At non-cytotoxic concentrations, both extracts reduced the nitric oxide (NO) release by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells (at 50 μg/mL, HE and AD extracts inhibited NO release in ~89% and 48%, respectively). In conclusion, the results highlight the non-toxic effect of aqueous extracts, both resembling the consumption of antioxidants in foodstuff or in functional food. Furthermore, the HE extract of T. zygis subsp. zygis is a source of promising molecules with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities, highlighting its potential as a source of bioactive ingredients for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Extract from Inflorescences of Industrial Hemp Futura 75 Variety as a Source of Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Proliferative and Antimycotic Agents: Results from In Silico, In Vitro and Ex Vivo Studies
Antioxidants 2020, 9(5), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9050437 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is traditionally cultivated as a valuable source of fibers and nutrients. Multiple studies also demonstrated antimicrobial, anti-proliferative, phytotoxic and insecticide effects of the essential oil from hemp female inflorescences. On the other side, only a few studies [...] Read more.
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is traditionally cultivated as a valuable source of fibers and nutrients. Multiple studies also demonstrated antimicrobial, anti-proliferative, phytotoxic and insecticide effects of the essential oil from hemp female inflorescences. On the other side, only a few studies explored the potential pharmacological application of polar extracts from inflorescences. In the present study, we investigated the water extract from inflorescences of industrial hemp Futura 75 variety, from phytochemical and pharmacological point of view. The water extract was assayed for phenolic compound content, radical scavenger/reducing, chelating and anti-tyrosinase effects. Through an ex vivo model of toxicity induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on isolated rat colon and liver, we explored the extract effects on serotonin, dopamine and kynurenine pathways and the production of prostaglandin (PG)E2. Anti-proliferative effects were also evaluated against human colon cancer HCT116 cell line. Additionally, antimycotic effects were investigated against Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton interdigitale, Microsporum gypseum. Finally, in silico studies, including bioinformatics, network pharmacology and docking approaches were conducted in order to predict the putative targets underlying the observed pharmacological and microbiological effects. Futura 75 water extract was able to blunt LPS-induced reduction of serotonin and increase of dopamine and kynurenine turnover, in rat colon. Additionally, the reduction of PGE2 levels was observed in both colon and liver specimens, as well. The extract inhibited the HCT116 cell viability, the growth of T. rubrum and T. interdigitale and the activity of tyrosinase, in vitro, whereas in silico studies highlighting the inhibitions of cyclooxygenase-1 (induced by carvacrol), carbonic anhydrase IX (induced by chlorogenic acid and gallic acid) and lanosterol 14-α-demethylase (induced by rutin) further support the observed pharmacological and antimycotic effects. The present findings suggest female inflorescences from industrial hemp as high quality by-products, thus representing promising sources of nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals against inflammatory and infectious diseases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Piceatannol-Loaded Emulsomes Exhibit Enhanced Cytostatic and Apoptotic Activities in Colon Cancer Cells
Antioxidants 2020, 9(5), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9050419 - 13 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 818
Abstract
Piceatannol (PIC), a naturally occurring polyphenolic stilbene, has pleiotropic pharmacological activities. It has reported cytotoxic activities against different cancer cells. In the present study, PIC emulsomes (PIC-E) were formulated and assessed for cytotoxic activity. A Box–Behnken design was employed to investigate the influence [...] Read more.
Piceatannol (PIC), a naturally occurring polyphenolic stilbene, has pleiotropic pharmacological activities. It has reported cytotoxic activities against different cancer cells. In the present study, PIC emulsomes (PIC-E) were formulated and assessed for cytotoxic activity. A Box–Behnken design was employed to investigate the influence of formulation factors on particle size and drug entrapment. After optimization, the formulation had a spherical shape with a particle size of 125.45 ± 1.62 nm and entrapment efficiency of 93.14% ± 2.15%. Assessment of cytotoxic activities indicated that the optimized PIC-E formula exhibited significantly lower IC50 against HCT 116 cells. Analysis of the cell cycle revealed the accumulation of cells in the G2-M phase as well as increased cell fraction in the sub-G1 phase, an indication of apoptotic-enhancing activity. Staining of cells with Annexin V indicated increased early and late apoptosis. Further, the cellular contents of caspase - 3 and Bax/Bcl-2 mRNA expression were significantly elevated by PIC-E. In addition, the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was disturbed and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was increased. In conclusion, PIC-E exhibited superior cell death-inducing activities against HCT 116 cells as compared to pure PIC. This is mediated, at least partly, by enhanced pro-apoptotic activity, disruption of MMP, and stimulation of ROS generation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multidirectional Pharma-Toxicological Study on Harpagophytum procumbens DC. ex Meisn.: An IBD-Focused Investigation
Antioxidants 2020, 9(2), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9020168 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1033
Abstract
In the present study, we investigated the water extract of Harpagophytum procumbens DC. ex Meisn. in an experimental model of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Additionally, a microbiological investigation was carried out to discriminate the efficacy against bacterial and fungal strains involved in IBDs. [...] Read more.
In the present study, we investigated the water extract of Harpagophytum procumbens DC. ex Meisn. in an experimental model of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Additionally, a microbiological investigation was carried out to discriminate the efficacy against bacterial and fungal strains involved in IBDs. Finally, an untargeted proteomic analysis was conducted on more than one hundred colon proteins involved in tissue morphology and metabolism. The extract was effective in blunting the production of oxidative stress and inflammation, including serotonin, prostaglandins, cytokines, and transcription factors. Additionally, the extract inhibited the growth of Candida albicans and C. tropicalis. The extract was also able to exert a pro-homeostatic effect on the levels of a wide plethora of colon proteins, thus corroborating a protective effect. Conversely, the supraphysiological downregulation of cytoskeletal-related proteins involved in tissue morphology and antimicrobial barrier function suggests a warning in the use of food supplements containing H. procumbens extracts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biopotential of Bersama abyssinica Fresen Stem Bark Extracts: UHPLC Profiles, Antioxidant, Enzyme Inhibitory, and Antiproliferative Propensities
Antioxidants 2020, 9(2), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9020163 - 17 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1046
Abstract
In this study, ethyl acetate, methanol, and water extracts of Bersama abyssinica (Melianthaceae) stem bark were screened for enzyme inhibitory and antioxidant properties. The water extract possessed the highest concentration of phenols (230.83 mg gallic acid equivalent/g extract), while the methanol extract was [...] Read more.
In this study, ethyl acetate, methanol, and water extracts of Bersama abyssinica (Melianthaceae) stem bark were screened for enzyme inhibitory and antioxidant properties. The water extract possessed the highest concentration of phenols (230.83 mg gallic acid equivalent/g extract), while the methanol extract was rich in flavonoids (75.82 mg rutin equivalent/g extract), and the ethyl acetate extract possessed the highest amount of saponins (97.37 mg quillaja equivalent/g). The aim of this study was to investigate the antiproliferative effects against the human colon cancer HCT116 cell line challenged with serotonin (5-HT) as a stimulating-proliferation factor. The level of HCT116 cell-deriving pool of kynurenic acid (KA) was also assessed. The UHPLC results confirmed the presence of 58, 68, and 63 compounds in the ethyl acetate, methanol, and water extracts, respectively. Mangiferin, vitexin and its isomer isovitexin were tentatively identified in all extracts and KA (m/z 190.05042 [M−H]+) was also tentatively identified in the methanol and water extracts. The methanol extract (1464.08 mg Trolox equivalent [TE]/g extract) showed the highest activity in the CUPRAC assay, whereas the water extract (1063.70 mg TE/g extract) showed the highest activity with the FRAP technique. The ethyl acetate extract was the most active acetylcholinesterase (4.43 mg galantamine equivalent/g extract) and α-glucosidase (mmol acarbose equivalent /g extract) inhibitor. The water extract was able to inhibit 5-HT-stimulated viability of HCT116 cells, and blunt 5-HT-induced reduction of cell-deriving KA. The scientific data generated in this study provide baseline data regarding the biological properties of B. abyssinica stem bark, highlighting its potential use for the development of new pharmaceutic and cosmetic agents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bridelia speciosa Müll.Arg. Stem bark Extracts as a Potential Biomedicine: From Tropical Western Africa to the Pharmacy Shelf
Antioxidants 2020, 9(2), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9020128 - 02 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 912
Abstract
Bridelia species have been used in traditional African medicine for the management of diverse human ailments. In the current work, the detailed phytochemical profiles of the extracts of the stem bark of B. speciosa were evaluated and the antioxidant and enzyme inhibitory properties [...] Read more.
Bridelia species have been used in traditional African medicine for the management of diverse human ailments. In the current work, the detailed phytochemical profiles of the extracts of the stem bark of B. speciosa were evaluated and the antioxidant and enzyme inhibitory properties of the extracts were assessed. The anti-bacterial and anti-mycotic effects of the extracts were evaluated against selected pathogen strains. Additionally, the anti-proliferative effects were studied on the liver cancer HepG2 cell line. Finally, the putative protective effects were assessed on isolated rat liver that was challenged with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The results revealed the presence of 36 compounds in the ethyl acetate extract, 44 in the methanol extract, and 38 in the water extract. Overall, the methanol extract showed the highest antioxidant activity, particularly in LPS-stimulated rat liver. Additionally, this extract exerted the highest antimycotic effect on C. albicans, whereas the water extract showed a promising anti-proliferative effect on liver cancer HepG2 cells. The methanol extract was also the most active as enzyme inhibitor, against acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase. The current study appraises the antioxidant and enzyme inhibition properties of B. speciosa methanol extract and showed that this specie could be a promising source of biologically active phytochemicals, with potential health uses. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Health-Promoting Effects of Thymus Phenolic-Rich Extracts: Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and Antitumoral Properties
Antioxidants 2020, 9(9), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9090814 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 712
Abstract
Thymus genus comprises numerous species that are particularly abundant in the West Mediterranean region. A growing body of evidence suggests that many of these species are a rich source of bioactive compounds, including phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid, salvianolic acids and luteolin [...] Read more.
Thymus genus comprises numerous species that are particularly abundant in the West Mediterranean region. A growing body of evidence suggests that many of these species are a rich source of bioactive compounds, including phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid, salvianolic acids and luteolin glycosides, able to render them potential applications in a range of industrial fields. This review collects the most relevant studies focused on the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer of phenolic-rich extracts from Thymus plants, highlighting correlations made by the authors with respect to the main phenolic players in such activities. Full article
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