Illicium verum has been widely used in many Asian countries as a spice and pharmaceutical treatment for many diseases. In this study, the antioxidant properties of the ethanol extracts fractionated by hexane, ethyl ether, chloroform and ethyl acetate, and supercritical CO2 extracts of the plant were evaluated using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging effect, the total equivalent antioxidant capacity and a reducing power assay. In addition, the amount of total phenolic content and the flavonoid content were also determined. The ethyl acetate fractions contained substantially higher levels of total phenolics (4.5 g gallic acid / 100 g dry weight) and total flavonoids (6.9 g quercetin/100 g dry weight) than the other extracts, and possessed significant antioxidant activities. The chemical components of the various extracts were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS); anisyl acetone and anisyl aldehyde were evidenced to provide the slight antioxidant activities. Based on the results, it can be concluded that the ethyl acetate extracts of I. verum show a marked antioxidant potential and that they could be developed as a natural source of antioxidants.
Key words: Chinese medicines, Illicium verum, antioxidant activity, supercritical CO2extraction.
DPPH, 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picryhydrazyl; ROS, reactive oxygen species; BHT,butylated hydroxytoluene; SFE, supercritical fluid extraction; TEAC, trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity; ABTS, 2,2-azinobis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid; UV, ultraviolet; TLC, thin-layer chromatography; DW, dry weight; GAE, gallic acid equivalent; GC-MS, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
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