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Several culinary and medicinal herbs are important sources of dietary antioxidants.

Posted Nov 18 2009 10:03pm

Herbs are usually considered as plant with aromatic properties and are mainly used spice foods and for preparation of herbal teas. Herbs also contain many phytochemicals including antioxidants. The aim of this study was to determine the daily intake of antioxidants present in culinary and medicinal herbs. To determine the level of antioxidants in herbs use was made of the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma) method. The results show that there are large differences in antioxidant levels: the herb with the highest level of antioxidants contains 1000 times more antioxidants than the herb with the lowest level. The herbs with the highest levels of antioxidants are oregano, sage, peppermint, lemon balm, clove, cinnamon, Cinnamomi cortex and Scutellariae radix.

The levels of antioxidants found in culinary herbs were influenced by crop year and season of harvesting. These are some levels of antioxidants in common culinary herbs grown and harvested in Norway, (expressed as mmol/100g):

Oregano 138
Sage 102
Peppermint 79
Thyme 75
Lemon Balm 75
Marjoram 56
Hyssop 38
Tansy, leaves 37
Purple Coneflower, flowers 23
Roseroot, stem 18
Chamomile 18
Angelica, leaves and stem 15
Roseroot, root and leaves 6
Angelica, root 5
Coriander 3

These are antioxidants levels found in dried commercial herbs (expressed as mmol/100g):

Clove 465
Allspice 102
Cinnamon 98
Rosemary 67
Thyme 64
Marjoram 54
Bayberry leaves 24
Ginger 22
Nutmeg 20
Mustard 10
Cayenne 6
Garlic 2
Coriander 2

The researchers also tested some medicinal herbs, mainly Chinese and Japanese herbs. These were the levels of antioxidants found (expressed as mmol/100g):

Cinnamomi Cortex 120
Scutellariae Radix 112
Cimicifugae Rhizoma 64
Paeonaiae Radix 55
Glycyrrhizae Radix 12
Angelicae Radix 3

The researchers concluded that the intake of herbs contribute significant to the overall daily intake of antioxidants. Intake of 1 g of culinary herbs may contain 1 mmol antioxidants. Culinary herbs are even a better source of antioxidants than other foods such as fruit, vegetables and cereals.

Autors: Dragland S, Senoo H, Wake K, Holte K, Blomhoff R
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