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Biochemical, biological and histological evaluation of some culinary and medicinal herbs grown under greenhouse and field conditions

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BACKGROUND: Increasing evidence supports the potential health benefits of herbal extracts displaying antioxidant, anti‐inflammatory and antitumour activities. Environment can have a pronounced effect on phenolic content and antioxidant capacity. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the total phenolic contents and antioxidant capacities of five different herbs grown under greenhouse and field conditions and to assess their potential anti‐inflammatory effects.

RESULTS: High total polyphenolic (TPP) content (measured by the Folin‐Ciocalteu reagent method) and high Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) were observed in all herbs evaluated. Leaves from thyme, sage, spearmint and peppermint grown in the greenhouse showed significantly higher TPP content and TEAC than those grown under field conditions, with a threefold difference being observed in peppermint. Rosemary, spearmint and peppermint extracts showed stronger inhibition of cyclooxygenase COX‐2 than of COX‐1.

CONCLUSION: The results show that producing herbs under greenhouse conditions can improve their biological activities by increasing TPP contents and antioxidant capacities. The selective inhibition of COX‐2 activity by rosemary, spearmint and peppermint suggests that they may be useful as anti‐inflammatory agents with fewer side effects than regular non‐steroidal drugs. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: COX; antioxidant; anti‐inflammation; phenolic; specific leaf area

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 30, 2010

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