Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in selected herbs

W. Zheng, S. Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The antioxidant capacities (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, ORAC) and total phenolic contents in extracts of 27 culinary herbs and 12 medicinal herbs were determined. The ORAC values and total phenolic contents for the medicinal herbs ranged from 1.88 to 22.30 μmol of Trolox equivalents (TE)/g of fresh weight and 0.23 to 2.85 mg of gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/g of fresh weight, respectively. Origanum × majoricum, O. vulgare ssp. hirtum, and Poliomintha longiflora have higher ORAC and phenolic contents as compared to other culinary herbs. The ORAC values and total phenolic content for the culinary herbs ranged from 2.35 to 92.18 μmol of TE/g of fresh weight and 0.26 to 17.51 mg of GAE/g of fresh weight, respectively. These also were much higher than values found in the medicinal herbs. The medicinal herbs with the highest ORAC values were Catharanthus roseus, Thymus vulgaris, Hypericum perforatum, and Artemisia annua. A linear relationship existed between ORAC values and total phenolic contents of the medicinal herbs (R = 0.919) and culinary herbs (R = 0.986). High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with diode-array detection was used to identify and quantify the phenolic compounds in selected herbs. Among the identified phenolic compounds, rosmarinic acid was the predominant phenolic compound in Salvia officinalis, Thymus vulgaris, Origanum × majoricum, and P. longiflora, whereas quercetin-3-O-rhamnosyl-(1 → 2)-rhamnosyl-(1 → 6)-glucoside and kaempferol-3-O-rhamnosyl-(1 → 2)-rhamnosyl-(1 → 6)-glucoside were predominant phenolic compounds in Ginkgo biloba leaves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5165-5170
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Culinary herbs
  • Medicinal herbs
  • Phenolics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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