Phenolic Contents, Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Activities of Asparagus cochinchinensis (Loureiro) Merrill



Asparagus cochinchinensis (Loureiro) Merrill. (AC) is used as a traditional medicine for treating inflammation and oxidative stress-related diseases. In this study, aqueous extract of AC tuber was investigated to determine the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Free radical-scavenging activities as well as total phenolics and flavonoid contents of the extracts were measured. As primary screening of anti-inflammatory activity, cell viability and inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) production were determined using the lipopolysaccharide-treated RAW 264.7 macrophage cell line. The levels of phenolic and flavonoid compounds from AC were found to be 459 ± 1 μg gallic acid equivalent/g (GAE/g) dry mass and 642 ± 4 μg catechin equivalent/g (CE/g) dry mass, respectively. AC showed 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl, nitrite scavenging and hydroxyl radical-scavenging activity in a dose-dependent manner. Significant NO production and cell viability were also found in the extracts. Results suggest that AC can be a source of natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.

Practical Applications

Asparagus cochinchinensis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. Dried roots are being used for medicinal purposes. The roots contain asparagine, starch, mucilage and sugars. The dried root is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antipyretic, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic, nervous stimulant and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of fever, sore throat, debility, coughs, etc. The plant has a folk history for the treatment of cancer. Modern research has detected antitumor activity. It is now being studied for the treatment of lung cancer. The findings of this study can demonstrate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of the aqueous extract from A. cochinchinensis dried roots. The effects would be useful to improve human health.