Main content area

Infusion and decoction of wild German chamomile: Bioactivity and characterization of organic acids and phenolic compounds

Guimarães, Rafaela, Barros, Lillian, Dueñas, Montserrat, Calhelha, Ricardo C., Carvalho, Ana Maria, Santos-Buelga, Celestino, Queiroz, Maria João R.P., Ferreira, Isabel C.F.R.
Food chemistry 2013 v.136 no.2 pp. 947-954
Matricaria recutita, antioxidant activity, breasts, carcinoma, cell culture, colon, drugs, food industry, free radical scavengers, hepatocytes, hepatoma, hepatotoxicity, herbs, human cell lines, lipid peroxidation, lungs, luteolin, methanol, phenolic acids, phytochemicals, plant extracts, swine
Natural products represent a rich source of biologically active compounds and are an example of molecular diversity, with recognised potential in drug discovery. Herein, the methanol extract of Matricaria recutita L. (German chamomile) and its decoction and infusion (the most consumed preparations of this herb) were submitted to an analysis of phytochemicals and bioactivity evaluation. The antioxidant activity was determined by free radicals scavenging activity, reducing power and inhibition of lipid peroxidation; the antitumour potential was tested in human tumour cell lines (breast, lung, colon, cervical and hepatocellular carcinomas), and the hepatotoxicity was evaluated using a porcine liver primary cell culture (non-tumour cells). All the samples revealed antioxidant properties. The decoction exhibited no antitumour activity (GI50>400μg/mL) which could indicate that this bioactivity might be related to compounds (including phenolic compounds) that were not extracted or that were affected by the decoction procedure. Both plant methanol extract and infusion showed inhibitory activity to the growth of HCT-15 (GI50 250.24 and 298.23μg/mL, respectively) and HeLa (GI50 259.36 and 277.67μg/mL, respectively) cell lines, without hepatotoxicity (GI50>400μg/mL). Infusion and decoction gave higher contents of organic acids (24.42 and 23.35g/100g dw). Otherwise, the plant methanol extract contained the highest amounts of both phenolic acids (3.99g/100g dw) and flavonoids (2.59g/100g dw). The major compound found in all the preparations was luteolin O-acylhexoside. Overall, German chamomile contains important phytochemicals with bioactive properties (mainly antitumour potential selective to colon and cervical carcinoma cell lines) to be explored in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetics industries.