In Vitro Free Radical Scavenging Effect and Total Phenolic and Flavonoid Contents of 30 Iranian Plant Species

Document Type: Research(Original) Article


Medicinal Plants Processing Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


This research involved antioxidant screening and evaluation of total phenol and flavonoid contents of ethanolic extracts from 30 Iranian plant species. Total phenol content was determined for each extract using the Folin-Ciocalteu method and total flavonoids was assessed by the Dowd method. A high phenol content was detected for Loranthus grewinkii (35.32±0.31 mg gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/g) of dry plant followed by Pteropyrum olivieri, Phoenix dactylifera, Cercis griffithii and Lippia citriodora. While relatively low levels of flavonoid content were detected for tested plants except in Pteropyrum olivieri) 14.53±0.13mg QE/g of dry plant). Free radical scavenging activity was determined using DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl), NO (Nitric Oxide) and ABTS (2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid)free radical assays. Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) assay was conducted as a measure of antioxidant capacity. L.  grewinkii was superior in DPPH, NO and ABTS free radical inhibition. Extract of  P. olivieri demonstrated a potent inhibitory activity against NO free radical compared to quercetin. Based on overall antioxidant activity, L. grewinkii was determined as the strongest in terms of free radical scavenging effect. A positive correlation observed between phenolic content and the activity while the flavonoids may have major contribution to manifestation of antioxidant activity in most of the investigated plant species.


  1. Young IS, Woodside JV. Antioxidants in health and disease. J Clin Pathol.
  2. ;54(3):176–186.
  3. Gate L, Paul J, Ba GN, Tew KD, Tapiero H. Oxidative stress induced in pathologies:
  4. The role of antioxidants. Biomed Pharmacother. 1999; 53:169-180.
  5. Gutteridge JMC, Halliwell B. Invited review free radicals in disease processes: a
  6. compilation of cause and consequence. Free Radic Res. 1993; 19:141-158.
  7. Stanner S, Hughes J, Kelly C, Buttriss J. A review of the epidemiological evidence for the ‘antioxidant hypothesis’. Public Health Nutr. 2004; 7:407-422.
  8. Oboh G, Rocha J. Antioxidant in foods: a new challenge for food processors. Leading Edge Antioxidants Research, Nova Science Publishers Inc New York US. 2007. p 35-64.
  9. Huda A, Munira M, Fitrya S, Salmah M. Antioxidant activity of Aquilaria malaccensis (Thymelaeaceae) leaves. Pharmacognosy Res. 2009; 1:270-273.
  10. Chun J, Lee J, Ye L, Exler J, Eitenmiller RR. Tocopherol and tocotrienol contents of raw and processed fruits and vegetables in the United States diet. J Food Comp Anal. 2006; 19:196-204.
  11. Sharoni Y, Danilenko M, Levy J. Molecular mechanisms for the anticancer activity of the carotenoid lycopene. Drug Dev Res.2000; 50:448-456.
  12. Shams Ardekani MR, Khanavi M, Hajimahmoodi M, Jahangiri M, Hadjiakhoondi A. Comparison of antioxidant activity and total phenol contents of some date seed varieties from Iran. Iran J Pharm Res. 2010; 9:141-146.
  13. Prior RL, Cao G, Martin A, Sofic E, McEwen J, O'Brien C, et al. Antioxidant Capacity As Influenced by Total Phenolic and Anthocyanin Content, Maturity, and Variety of Vaccinium Species. J Agric Food Chem. 1998; 46:2686-2693.
  14. Aghili MH. Makhzan-al-Advia [in Persian]. Tehran: Bavardaran Press; 2001.
  15. M, Rezazadeh SH, Taran M. In vitro Antimicrobial and Antioxidant
  16. Properties of Smyrnium cordifolium Boiss. (Umbelliferae) Extract. Asian J Plant
  17. Sci, 2010; 9:99-103.
  18. Amirghofran Z, Bahmani M, Azadmehr A, Javidnia K. Anticancer effects of various
  19. Iranian native medicinal plants on human tumor cell lines. Neoplasma. 2006; 53:428-
  20. Kumar S, Sharma S, Vasudeva N, Ranga V. In vivo anti-hyperglycemic and antioxidant
  21. potentials of ethanolic extract from Tecomella undulata. Diabetol Metab Syndr, 2012;
  22. :33.
  23. Tavana A, Pourrajab F, Hekmatimoghaddam SH, Khalilzadeh SH, Lotfi MH. The
  24. Hypoglycemic Effect of Dorema aucheri (Bilhar) Extract in Diabetic Type 2 Patients: A
  25. First Clinical Trial. Int J Pharm Clin Res 2015; 7:343-347.
  26. Ghasemi Pirbalouti A, Momeni M, Bahmani M. Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal
  27. Plants Used by Kurd Tribe in Dehloran and Abdanan Districts, Ilam Province, Iran.
  28. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med, 2012; 10:368-385.
  29. Shamsa F, Monsef HR, Ghamooshi R, Verdian-rizi MR. Spectrophotometric
  30. determination of total alkaloids in some Iranian medicinal plants. Thai J Pharm Sci, 2008;
  31. :17-20.
  32. Sabahi M, Ramezanian M, Jaffari G, Heravi G, Bahaeddini F, Aynehchi Y. Survey of
  33. Iranian Plants for Saponins, Alkaloids, Flavonoids, and Tannins. IV. The Plants of
  34. Kerman Province. Pharm Biol, 1985; 23:165-175.
  35. Mamadalieva NZ, Lafont R, Wink M. Diversity of Secondary Metabolites in the Genus
  36. Silene L. (Caryophyllaceae)- Structures, Distribution, and Biological Properties.
  37. Diversity, 2014; 6:415-499.
  38. Pourmorad F, Hosseinimehr S, Shahabimajd N. Antioxidant activity, phenol and
  39. flavonoid contents of some selected Iranian medicinal plants. Afr J Biotechnol, 2006;
  40. :1142-1145.
  41. Meda A, Lamien CE, Romito M, Millogo J, Nacoulma OG. Determination of the total
  42. phenolic, flavonoid and proline contents in Burkina Fasan honey, as well as their radical
  43. scavenging activity. Food Chem, 2005; 91:571-577.
  44. Moein M, Ghasemi Y, Moein S, Nejati M. Analysis of antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant activities of Juniperus excelsa M. B subsp. Polycarpos (K. Koch) Takhtajan essential oil. Pharmacognosy Res, 2010; 2:128-131.
  45. Lee SH, Lee JB, Lee KW, Jeon YJ. Antioxidant properties of tidal pool microalgae, Halochlorococcum porphyrae and Oltamannsiellopsis unicellularis from Jeju Island, Korea. Algae. 2010; 25:45-56.
  46. Re R, Pellegrini N, Proteggente A, Pannala A, Yang M and Rice-Evans C. Antioxidant
  47. activity applying an improved ABTS radical cation decolorization assay. Free Radic
  48. Biol Med, 1999, 26, 1231-1237.
  49. Benzie IF, Strain JJ. The Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (FRAP) as a Measure of
  50. “Antioxidant Power”: The FRAP Assay. Anal. Biochem. 1996, 239, 70-76.
  51. Satish Kumar T, Shanmugam SK, Palvannan T, Bharathi Kumar VM. Evaluation of
  52. antioxidant properties of Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb. leaves. Iran J Pharm Res, 2008;
  53. :211-215.
  54. Halliwell B. and Gutteridge JMC. “Role of Free Radicals and Catalytic Metal Ions in
  55. Human Disease: An Overview,” Methods Enzymol. 1990; 186:1-85.
  56. Guo C, Yang J, Wei J, Li Y, Xu J, Jiang Y. “Antioxidant Activities of Peel, Pulp and
  57. Seed Fractions of Common Fruits as Determined by FRAP Assay.” Nutr. Res. 2003; 23:
  58. -1726.
  59. Rahman K. Studies on free radicals, antioxidants, and co-factors. Clin Interv Aging,
  60. ; 2: 219–236.
  61. Natrah FMI, Yusoff FM, Shariff M, Abas F, Mariana NS. Screening of Malaysian indigenous microalgae for antioxidant properties and nutritional value. J Appl Phycol. 2007;19(6):711-718.
  62. Seyoum A, Asres K, EI-Fiky FK. Structure-radical scavenging activity relationships of
  63. flavonoids. Phytochemistry, 2006, 67, 2058–2070.
  64. Piluzza G, Bullitta S. Correlations between phenolic content and antioxidant properties in
  65. twenty-four plant species of traditional ethnoveterinary use in the Mediterranean area.
  66. Pharm. Biol. 2011, 49, 240–247.
  67. Rice-Evans C, Miller N, Paganga G. Antioxidant properties of phenolic compounds.
  68. Trends Plant Sci. 1997, 2, 152-159.
  69. Tylor BS, Kion YM, Wang QI, Sharpio RA, Billiar TR, Geller DA. Nitric oxide down
  70. regulates hepatocyte-inducible nitric oxide synthase gene expression. Arch. Surg. 1997,
  71. , 1177-1183.
  72. Skerget M, Kotnik P, Hadolin M, Hras AR, Simonic M, Knez Z. Phenols, proanthocyanidins, flavones and flavonols in some plant materials and their antioxidant activities. Food Chemistry. 2005; 89(2):191-198.