Nutrients, phytochemicals and bioactivity of wild Roman chamomile: A comparison between the herb and its preparations
Roman chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile L. (Asteraceae), has been used for medicinal applications, mainly through oral dosage forms (decoctions and infusions). Herein, the nutritional characterisation of C. nobile was performed, and herbal material and its decoction and infusion 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. C. nobile proved to be an equilibrated valuable herb rich in carbohydrates and proteins, and poor in fat, providing tocopherols, carotenoids and essential fatty acids (C18:2n6 and C18:3n3). Moreover, the herb and its infusion are a source of phenolic compounds (flavonoids such as flavonols and flavones, phenolic acids and derivatives) and organic acids (oxalic, quinic, malic, citric and fumaric acids) that showed antioxidant and antitumour activities, without hepatotoxicity. The most abundant compounds in the plant extract and infusion were 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid and an apigenin derivative. These, as well as other bioactive compounds, are affected in C. nobile decoction, leading to a lower antioxidant potential and absence of antitumour potential. The plant bioactivity could be explored in the medicine, food, and cosmetic industries.
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