Thymus schimperi Ronniger is a wild endemic herb to Ethiopia, and is traditionally used as food flavoring, preservative as well as medicinal ingredient. This paper reports the total phenolic and flavonoid contents, antioxidant capacity and α-amylase inhibition activity of various solvent extracts of the dried leaves. The acetone extracts contained the highest total phenolic content (122.0±11.6 mg GAE/g). Total flavonoid content was the highest in methanol extract (45.1±2.9 mg QRE/g). The aqueous methanol extract showed the highest 2,2-diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging ability (IC50 =11.0±1.0 µg/ml), iron reducing power (60.1±1.0 mg AAE/g), and total antioxidant capacity (1.1±0.1 mg BHTE/g). The water extract exhibited the highest iron chelating activity (IC50 = 65.4±1.1 µg/ml) while the methanol extract exhibited the highest percentage of α-amylase inhibition activity (IC50 = 335. 6±90.4 µg/ml). Except for iron chelating activity, all antioxidant activities were positively correlated with total phenolic and flavonoid contents. The study revealed that antioxidant and α-amylase inhibitory activities of the crude extract were variable when extracted by different solvents indicating a high potential to be used as natural antioxidants in food preservation as well as for preventing oxidative stress mediated human disorders.
Key words: Antioxidant activity, α-amylase, BHT, phenolic, Thymus schimperi Ronniger, thyme.