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Keywords:

  • herbal teas;
  • antioxidants;
  • free radicals;
  • hypochlorite;
  • peroxynitrite

Abstract

Herbal tea consumption is deeply and widely rooted amongst South-American populations. In view of the involvement of oxygen- and nitrogen-reactive species in the ethiogenesis of several diseases, the antioxidant properties of some of the herbal teas most commonly consumed in the southern regions was assessed in vitro. Around one-third of the 13 examined herbs, displayed a substantially higher ability to scavenge ABTS radicals (TEAC assay), and to quench the pro-oxidant species, hypochlorite (HClO) and peroxynitrite (ONOO). Amongst the tested herbs, teas prepared from Haplopappusbaylahuen, Rosamoschata and Peumusboldus showed the highest TEAC and HClO-quenching activities. These herbs were around 5- to 7-fold more potent than the least active herbs. Based on the TEAC assay, 150 mL of tea prepared from H.baylahuen, R.moschata and P.boldus would be equivalent to around 200 mg of Trolox®. Teas from H.baylahuen and P.boldus were also found to be particularly potent in quenching HClO. In the ONOO assay, H.baylahuen and Buddleiaglobosa showed the highest activities. The results obtained suggest that the regular consumption of teas prepared from some of these herbs may be useful potentially to provide the organism with molecules capable of protecting the gastrointestinal tract against certain pathologically relevant oxidant species. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.