Systematic evaluation of natural phenolic antioxidants from 133 Indian medicinal plants

Siddharthan Surveswaran, Yi Zhong Cai, Harold Corke, Mei Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

556 Scopus citations


Total antioxidant capacities of 133 Indian medicinal plant species sampled from 64 families were assessed by ABTS, DPPH and FRAP assays, and their total phenolic contents measured by Folin-Ciocalteu assay. These species exhibited a broad range of antioxidant activities, varying from 0.16 to 500.70 mmol TEAC/100 g DW in the ABTS assay. The antioxidant activity values similarly varied with the DPPH and FRAP assays. Significant and positive linear correlations were found between total antioxidant capacities and phenolic contents (R = 0.89-0.97), indicating that phenolics were the dominant antioxidant constituents in the tested medicinal plants. Preliminary identification of the major phenolic compounds from 83 selected medicinal plants by reversed-phase HPLC revealed phenolic acids, tannins, flavonoids, curcuminoids, coumarins, lignans, and quinines. The fruit of Terminalia chebula, pericarp of Punica granatum and gall of Rhus succedanea showed very high levels of hydrolysable tannins, and the gum of Acacia catechu presented very high levels of catechin and epicatechin in addition to tannins. Major phenolics in many of the medicinal plants were identified for the first time (e.g., Euphorbia lathyrus, Ipomoea turpethum, and Picrorrhiza kurroa). This systematic investigation of a large number of Indian medicinal plants proved important for understanding their chemical constituents and functionality in Ayurvedic medicine, and contributes to the search for natural sources of potent antioxidants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938-953
Number of pages16
JournalFood Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • ABTS
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Ayurveda
  • DPPH
  • FRAP
  • Indian medicinal plants
  • Phenolic antioxidants
  • Phenolics


Dive into the research topics of 'Systematic evaluation of natural phenolic antioxidants from 133 Indian medicinal plants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this