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Antioxidant Activity in Variously Prepared Elderberry Foods and Supplements

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Abstract

Antioxidant capacity of foods and food supplements based on berries and flowers of medicinal plant elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) was assessed. Reducing properties of the samples and extracts were evaluated using amperometric detection at working electrode potential -0.8 V after HPLC separation. Moreover, antiradical activity of selected samples was determined by the means of Spectrophotometric DPPH radical scavenging method. Electro-chemical activity (EA) of fresh juice pressed from elder fruits amounted to 0.71 g AAE/1 with anthocyanins as minor contributors (10.2%). Catechins and phenolic acids were the major active groups. During production of elder berry spread, even more than 90% of the EA compounds found in raw elder berry material can be destroyed. Comparable activity may be found also in the products from elder flowers. Although elder blossom syrups possessed similar EA regardless of the technology used (0.033-0.054 g AAE/kg), their chromatographic patterns were often very different. For example, no flavonols were present in the syrups, if traditional preparation comprising 24-h maceration with citric acid was applied. Analyzing the chromatographic patterns, one can distinguish different base materials and technology, which can be used for the authenticity confirmation. Herbal infusions from elder flowers, which contain more flavonols than are in syrups, were 16-27 times richer in EA than drinks prepared from the syrups after recommended dilution. Only the syrup designed for preventing and treating upper-respiratory viral infections showed the EA (0.09 g AAE/kg) comparable to that of herbal infusion (0.13 g AAE/1).
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Czech J. Food Sci. Vol. 27, 2009, Special Issue
Antioxidant Activity in Variously Prepared Elderberry Foods
and Supplements
K. CEJPEK*, I. MALOUŠKOVÁ, M. KONEČNÝ and J. VELÍŠEK
Department of Food Chemistry and Analysis, Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague,
166 28 Prague, Czech Republic, *E-mail: karel.cejpek@vscht.cz
Abstract: Antioxidant capacity of foods and food supplements based on berries and flowers of medicinal plant el-
derber ry (Sambucus nigra L.) was assessed. Reducing properties of the samples and extracts were evaluated using
amperometric detection at working electrode potential –0.8 V after HPLC separation. Moreover, antiradical activity
of selected samples was determined by the means of spectrophotometric DPPH radical scavenging method. Electro-
chemical activity (EA) of fresh juice pressed from elder fruits amounted to 0.71 g AAE/l with anthocyanins as minor
contributors (10.2%). Catechins and phenolic acids were the major active groups. During production of elder berry
spread, even more than 90% of the EA compounds found in raw elder berry material can be destroyed. Comparable
activity may be found also in the products from elder flowers. Although elder blossom syrups possessed similar EA
regardless of the technology used (0.033–0.054 g AAE/kg), their chromatographic patterns were often very different.
For example, no flavonols were present in the syrups, if traditional preparation comprising 24-h maceration with citric
acid was applie d. Analyzing the chromatographic patterns , one can distinguish different base materials and technol -
ogy, which can be used for the authenticity confirmation. Herbal infusions from elder flowers, which contain more
flavonols than are in syrups, were 16–27 times richer in EA than drinks prepared from the syrups after recommended
dilution. Only the syrup designed for preventing and treating upper-respiratory viral infections showed the EA (0.09 g
AAE/kg) comparable to that of herbal infusion (0.13 g AAE/l).
Keywords: elderberry; elder flowers; antioxidants; reducing power; processing
INTRODUCTION
One of the most important sources of antioxi-
dant s among di etary plants i s small re d fruit s .
Moreover, other parts of these plants, such as flow-
ers, leaves and bark, used commonly in traditional
medicine and healing are often extraordinary rich
in antioxidants as well. Black elder (Sambucus ni-
gra L.) is an excellent example of such a beneficial
plant. Its processing is well established especially
in Europe and Mediterranean where numerous
food, beverages, and medicinal products are avail-
able. Elderberry has been used for generations in
traditional herbal medicine as a remedy for colds,
sinusitis, and herpes. The berries also have a laxa-
tive effect in small doses. Infusions of flowers are
known to have diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, expec-
torant, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory actions
(W 2004; Z-R et al. 2004).
Elderberry medicinal potential comes from its
antioxidant potential, a property shared by nu-
merou s phy tochemi cals . Resu lts from var ious
sources hav e sh own that both elderberr y fruit
and flower are rich in polyphenols. Their anti-
oxidant capacity ranks high when compared to
other well known small fruits such as cranberry,
mulberry and blueberry, as well as various potent
blossom extracts. Using the ORAC method, W
et al. (2004) showed that especially the American
elder species (S. canadensis L.) had a much higher
potential than cranberry and blueberry, two fruits
praised for their high antioxidant capacity. In
another study (H   et al. 2002), bl ack
elder was among the best three small red fruits in
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Vol. 27, 2009, Special Issue Czech J. Food Sci.
antioxidant potential as measured with the FR AP
method. B and R (2008) reported
a medium antiradical (against DPPH) activity in
the aqueous extracts of elder flowers, linden flow-
ers, rosehips, and dead-nettle flowers.
The aim of this paper is to assess and compare
the antioxidant properties of several common
elderberry products on the Czech market, to de-
scribe differences in the composition of reducing
compounds in the foods and supplements prepared
by different methods, and to find the contribution
of particular (kinds of ) antioxidants to the overall
electrochemical activity (EA).
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Samples. Berries from wild plants grown in the
countryside of Central Bohemia were picked at
optimum fruit maturity, the stalks were removed,
and the fruit was frozen and stored at –18°C. The
berries were homogenised in a blender for 2 min
after defrosting, squeesed and the juice was sepa-
rated (sample BJ). Elderberry-apple fruit spread
(BS) consisted of apple juice concentrate (51.7%)
and elderberries (45.2%; Natudis B.V., NL). Tea (FT)
was prepared from dried flowers (1.5 g, Megaf yt,
CZ) and boiling water (250 ml) after 10min infu-
sion. Samples of syrups were: S1a-c, traditionally
prepared syrups from fresh flowers; the inflores-
cence with fully opened blossoms was picked and
stored at –18°C; 220 g of the flower heads were
soaked in cold water (3 l) with citric acid (70 g) for
24 h at 12 ± 1°C; the macerate (sample FM) was
strained and mixed with sucrose dissolved in water
(1.5 kg in 1 l); S2 (elderberry blossom extract, hi-
biscus extract, sucrose 55%, Topvet, CZ); S3 (elder
blossom extract, sucrose, citric acid, LL Ltd., CZ);
S4 (elderberry blossom extract, sucrose, lemon
juice, citric acid, TBK Hostětín, CZ); S5 – Yo elder
blossom syrup (sucrose, apple concentrate, elder
blossom extract, lemon juice, citric acid, aroma,
Eckes-Granini, AT). The samples were dissolved
or diluted with water – syrups (1:1, v/v), spread
(5 g in 10 ml) and juice (1:10, v/v) – and filtered
(0.45 mm nylon membrane). Electrochemical ac-
tivity (EA) of the samples was expressed in g of
-ascorbic acid equivalents (AAE) per kg or l of
a sample. All determinations were performed in
triplicates at least. The values are expressed to-
gether with confidence intervals (P = 0.05).
Antioxidants. The following compounds were used
for the evaluation of the sample extracts: -ascor-
bic acid; gallic, 4-hydroxybenzoic, protocatechuic,
cinnamic, p-coumaric, caffeic, ferulic, and chlo-
rogenic acids; (+)-catechin, (–)-epicatechin, ECG,
EGC, EGCG; quercetin, isoquercitrin, and rutin
(Fluka, CH, or Aldrich, USA).
Analyses. Atlantis C18, 150 × 3.9 mm, 3 µm, with a
pre-column, gradient elution (pH 6.5/MeCN/5mM
NaCl, diode-array (PDA, 996) & electrochemical
detec tor s (EL D, 2465, all Waters, Ea = +0.8 V )
were use d for HPLC method. The DPPH assay
was accomplished after the method described by
B-W et al. (1995).
RESULTS
The most important polyphenols found in el-
derberry fruit are thought anthocyanins, being
responsible for the colour. The HPLC/ELD analy-
sis of fresh juice pressed from black elder fruits
revealed only a minor role of the anthocyanins
corresponding to 10.2% of the total EA, which
amounted to 0.71 g AAE/l (Table 1). The most
contributing were cyanidin 3-sambubioside and
cyanidin 3-glucoside, which comprised 51% and
40% EA of anthocyanins, respective. The major part
of the juice EA was originated from catechins and
phenolic acids such as chlorogenic acid; rutin and
other flavonols provided 8.1% of the total EA.
Elderberry reaches consumer in a much greater
proportion as a processed product than as a fresh
fruit. Comparing the beneficial effe cts of fresh
elderberr y fruits with that of processed ones , it
should be kept in mind that especially anthocy-
anins stability is affected by numerous factors
(D & D 1990). Almost total destruc-
tion of anthocyanins as well as chlorogenic acid
group occur red dur ing production of the fruit
spre ad containing 45.2% of elderberrie s, while
rutin was more stable and retained on 4.9% of the
spread total EA (0.033 g AAE/kg, Table 1). This
low AAE value indicated a degradation of most EA
compounds (> 90%) during processing provided
that the activity of the raw berries was similar to
EA of the tested fresh juice.
Elder blossoms are distinguished by their in-
tensive, pleasant odor and serve as a basis for
industrially produced soft drinks and as extracts
to increase the nutritional value of different foods
and diets. Although products such as cough syr-
ups and teas made from elder flower are usually
safe taken in moderation (M & B 2005),
after the Czech food regulations (Ministry of Ag-
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Czech J. Food Sci. Vol. 27, 2009, Special Issue
riculture 1997), elder flowers and berries can be
used for the preparation of infusions and teas in
mixtures with other plant materials up to 30%
(m/m). The consumption of tea infusion of elder
flowers is among the most used ways of the elder
flower antioxidants’ intake. Its EA was found to be
equivalent to 21 g AAE/kg of dry flowers (Table 1).
The content of rutin found in the infusion was 10.9
± 0.4 g/kg of dry flowers weight, which is in good
agre ement with literature (D et al.
2006). Rutin was responsible by 63 ± 2 % and the
other flavonols by 19 ± 1% for the infusion colour
(Abs420nm). While the EA in infusions was derived
mainly from rutin (27 ± 1%), other flavonols and
their glycosides (9.5 ± 0.5%), derivatives of caffeic
(chlorogenic) acid and flavan-3-ols, quite different
distribution of the active compounds was found
within the syrups studied.
Based on dry flowers weight, the acidified 24 h
macerate (FM) from fresh flowers resembling tradi-
tional preparation of elder blossom syrup revealed
only 42% EA comparing to the infusion from dried
flowers. Phenolic acids such as protocatechuic
acid and derivatives of caffeic acid together with
cate chi ns were th e major EA compounds. The
addition of citric acid adjusting the pH value to
3.1 affected the polyphenoloxidase (PPO) activ-
ity as well as subsequent browning. There may
be further decrease in PPO activity below pH 4
due to less tight binding of copper in the enzyme,
permitting chelators such as citric acid to remove
the copper. Lower pH has an effect on the destruc-
tion of flavonols and their glycosides during the
24 h maceration and storage, not on the extrac-
tion efficiency. Different extraction temperatures
(20°C vs. 100°C) may influence the yield, but not
the composition (data not shown).
EA of the studied syrups depends on the tech-
nology used and the content of elder flower and
other ingredients. Traditionally prepared syrups
from fresh flowers (S1a-c) possessed 0.033–0.045 g
AAE/l of syrup and were very pale. Commercially
available syrups are prepared mostly with the use
of extracts from dry flowers and/or elder blossom
aroma. Syrup S2, sold as a food supplement with
the declared action against cold and influenza ,
is more concentrated than syrups intended for
a beverage preparation. Its EA (0.090 g AAE/l)
was significantly higher than that of the other
syrups. -Ascorbic acid, which was only minor or
not detected in the other syrups, was the cause
of 57% of EA in S2; rutin participated by 7.5%.
Commercially produced S5 with the addition of
apple concentrate and elder blossom aroma did
not contain detectable amounts of rutin and other
flavonols. Close correlation (r2 = 0.98) between
EA and colour (Abs420nm) was found only for the
products prepared from dry flowers, where fla -
vonols were present in significant amounts.
The expected antioxidant activity associated with
electrochemical characteristic was compared with
a free-radical scavenging capacity. Using DPPH
Table 1. Electrochemical activity (EA; +0.8 V) of elder flower and berry products with contributions of flavonols and
anthocyanins
Samples Total EA (g AAE per kg or l) Flavonols’ EA (%) Anthocyanins’ EA (%)
Syrup S1a 0.045 ± 0.007 < 0.5
S1b 0.040 ± 0.006 < 0.5
S1c 0.033 ± 0.007 < 0.5
S2 0.090 ± 0.003 8.6 ± 0.4
S3 0.054 ± 0.004 10.3 ± 0.3
S4 0.041 ± 0.004 6.5 ± 0.3
S5 0.045 ± 0.003 < 0.6
Tea FT 21 ± 2* 37 ± 2
Macerate FM 8.8 ± 0.8* < 1
Juice BJ 0.71 ± 0.06 8.1 ± 0.3 10.2 ± 0.8
Spread BS 0.033 ± 0.003 4.9 ± 0.3 < 0.5
*based on dry flowers’ weight
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Vol. 27, 2009, Special Issue Czech J. Food Sci.
assay, elderberry juice possessed 0.3% and tea infu-
sion, based on dry flowers’ weight, 5.2% antiradical
activity of -ascorbic acid. Our results revealed
that vari ous forms an d preparations comprise
often quite different mixtures of active compounds
depending on the treatment conditions, while the
total EA levels need not vary so much. The data
confirmed that both elder flower and fruit can
serve as a good source of bioactive polyphenols in
human diet and all the studied spectrum of black
elder products can be regarded as good candidates
for nutritional supplement formulations.
Acknowledgements: Supported by the Ministry of Educa-
tion, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (Project No.
MSM 6046137305).
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... A similar phytochemical profile has been studied in detail in Vaccinium berries (Milivojevic et al., 2012). Due to elderberry's beneficial properties numerous food and beverage products have been generated and offered to the market (Divi s, Po rízka, Vespalcov a, Mat ejí cek, & Kaplan, 2015; Cejpek, Malou skov a, Kone cny, & Velí sek, 2009;Mikulic-Petkovsek, Samoticha, Eler, Stampar, & Veberic, 2015a;Veberic, Jakopic, Stampar, & Schmitzer, 2009;Vlachojannis, Zimmermann, & Chrubasik-Hausmann, 2015;Jim en ez et al., 2014). Especially in Europe, elder flowers and fruit serve as an alternative source in food industry to produce pies, jellies, jams, ice creams, yogurts and different beverages, such as wine, tea, liqueur and juice (Schmitzer, Veberic, Slatnar, & Stampar, 2010;Vlachojannis et al., 2015). ...
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... Cyanidin 3-O-sambubioside (100 mg/kg in elderberry liqueur, 77 mg/kg in spread, 48 mg/kg in juice, and 21 mg/kg in tea) and cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (88 mg/kg in liqueur, 42 mg/kg in juice, and 35 mg/kg in tea) were most prevalent. Cejpek et al. (2009) suggested that cyanidin-3-O-sambubioside and cyanidin-3-glucoside comprised 51 and 40%, respectively, from total anthocyanins in elderberries. Veberic et al. (2009) determined that predominant anthocyanins in S. nigra were cyanidin 3-sambubioside (630.8 mg CGE/100 g) and cyanidin 3-glucoside (586.4 mgCGE/ 100 g fruit). ...
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This main focus of this study was to evaluate the thermal degradation kinetics and the phytochemical characterization of the elderberries extract. Pelargonidin-3-sophoroside and delphinidin-3-glucoside were identified as the major anthocyanin compounds and catechin hydrate as the major flavonoid compound. In order to further understand the action of the heat treatment on the bioactive compounds from elderberry extract, fluorescence studies were also carried out. In general, heating at temperatures ranging from 100 to 150 ℃ for up to 90 min caused a decrease in fluorescence intensity, simultaneously with significant redshifts in λmax suggesting important molecular changes inside the anthocyanins structure, affecting the antioxidant activity. Increasing the heating time up to 120 min, the elderberry extract peaked at about 88 nm shifted toward higher wavelengths with respect to that of untreated solutions (peak at 442 nm). The kinetics studies of anthocyanins, fluorescence intensity, and antioxidant activity evidenced a decrease of the degradation rate constants with increased temperature while the activation energies for heat-induced fluorescence intensity, monomeric anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity were 39.62 ± 9.60, 49.97 ± 5.61, and 31.04 ± 19.92 kJ/mol, respectively. Our results can be valuable in terms of establishing the appropriate processing and formulation protocols that could lead to a more efficient utilization of these pigments in actual food products and/or nutraceuticals.
... Elderberry inflorescences have often been used in traditional folk medicine (Zakay-Rones et al., 2004;Ozgen et al., 2010). Elderflower extracts are recognized to have anticatarrhal, diuretic, and antiinflammatory properties (Cejpek et al., 2009). Bhattacharya et al. (2013) reported that elderflowers also have antidiabetic characteristics. ...
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The main purpose of the present study was to evaluate the diversity and content of various phenolic compounds in floral infusions of 14 elderberry genotypes (3 species and 9 interspecific hybrids). Detailed phenolic analysis was performed using HPLCMS. Hydroxycinnamic acids (HCAs) were the major phenolic group identified and 3-, 4-, and 5-caffeoylquinic acids were detected in infusions prepared from all analyzed species and interspecific hybrids. Several flavonols were identified in elderberry floral infusions: 8 isorhamnetin derivatives, 6 quercetin derivatives, 2 flavanones, and 6 kaempferol derivatives. The main flavonols detected in all samples were isorhamnetin-3-rutinoside, isorhamnetin dihexoside, quercetin-3-rutinoside, kaempferol-3-rutinoside, and kaempferol dihexoside. The highest levels of flavonols and hydroxycinnamic acids were measured in interspecific hybrid infusions of Sambucus javanica × S. cerulea, (S. javanica × S. nigra) × S. nigra cv. Black Beauty, (S. javanica × S. nigra) × S. nigra, and S. javanica × S. racemosa.
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The aim of the present study is to elucidate the phenolic compositions and antioxidant properties of methanol, ethanol, and aqueous extracts of elderberry flower as well as their sugars, organic acids, and color properties. Phenolic compounds were analyzed with LC‐DAD‐ESI‐MS/MS, while organic acids and sugars were analyzed with LC‐DAD‐RID. Aqueous extracts were found rich in phenolic compounds and the highest phenolic content was determined in infusions obtained at 100°C for 30 min (922.26 mg/L), whereas the lowest was detected in the ethanol extract for 5 min (238.98 mg/L). Chlorogenic acid, 5‐p‐coumaroylquinic acid, dicaffeoylquinic acid, and quercetin‐3‐rutinoside were the most abundant phenolics in all of the extracts.The results revealed significant differences among aqueous, methanol, and ethanol extracts of elderberry flower regarding phenolics, antioxidant, and other chemical properties.Using water infusions at 100°C for 5 and 30 min, respectively, resulted in a higher phenolic and antioxidant potential yield than from using other extractions. Elderberry flowers posses a substantial supply of bioactive flavonoids, antioxidant, and phenolic compounds which have frequently been used in traditional medicine and healing. Different solvents and infusion times in extraction might induce differences in phenolic composition and bioactive features. This study highlights that the elderberry flower can be consumed as an alternative herbal tea which is rich in phenolic substances.
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Elderberry fruits are a good source of minerals and antioxidants; however, the presence of anti‐nutrients like oxalates may limit their utilization. The presented study which involves chemical evaluation of numerous interspecific hybrids is based on a hypothesis that interspecific genetic recombination may significantly improve the production and the nutritional quality of elderberry fruits. The aim of the first part of this study was to determine the oxalates (total, water‐soluble and insoluble) in fruits of 73 elderberry genotypes. In the second part, the dynamics of oxalate contents during fruit maturation was analysed. The average content of total oxalates in analysed genotypes was 721 ± 33 mg/100 g DW. The majority (91%, on average) were health harmless insoluble oxalates. The average content of total oxalates was increasing at the beginning of maturation and then it began to decrease significantly and reached its minimum value at full maturity, while the average of water‐soluble oxalates was gradually decreasing throughout maturation. Due to relatively high oxalate contents, some of the analysed hybrids should not be used for further breeding process.
Chapter
As many berries, the fruits of Sambucus nigra (L.) contain large amounts of flavonoids with different structures, mostly anthocyanins (mainly cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-sambubioside) and small quanities of flavonols and flavonol ester. Flavonoids are a broad class of low-molecular-weight secondary metabolites encompassing more than 10,000 scaffolds, and are commonly found in leaves, seeds, bark and flowers. Their role in plants is to afford protection against ultraviolet radiation, pathogens and herbivore animals. Due to their activity as safe and potent antioxidants, they are considered as important nutraceuticals. Due to the content in anthocyanins, elderberries have an attractive bright purple color, which make elderberry anthocyanins extracts valuable foodstuff colorants but also therapeutic agents. There are many studies showing the biologic effects of certain elderberries extracts, such as: in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activities, anti-inflammatory properties, stimulant of cell division. Some of them offers contradictory information. There are also reports concerning attempts to formulate and develop new pharmaceutical/nutraceutical products. This chapter tries to join together the information concerning the main therapeutic effects of elderberries extracts as they are presented in the recent publications. Also, it presents some attempts to apply the elderberries extracts in pharmacy as active principles.
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The antioxidant properties of alcoholic extracts from the leaves, berries and flowers of Sambucus nigra L. are estimated by means of DPPH and β-carotene/linoleic acid methods, and considered in relation to the extraction temperature (in the range 20–200 °C) and to the level of flavonoids most representative for this plant. The extracts of S. nigra act as antioxidants neutralizing the activities of free radicals and inhibiting the co-oxidation reactions of linoleic acid and β-carotene. There is no direct correlation between the level of flavonoids in the extracts and their antioxidant activity. The data presented show that the extraction temperature strongly influences the antioxidant properties of the extracts, especially in the case of leaves.
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Buřičová L., Réblová Z. (2008): Czech medicinal plants as possible sources of antioxidants. Czech J. Food Sci., 26: 132–138. The antioxidant activity of 17 Czech medicinal plants was studied and compared with the antioxidant activity of green tea. The antioxidant activities of water and ethanol extracts of the plants tested were determined by a spectropho-tometric method using the stable free radical DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl), and further the contents of the compounds with reducing properties in water extracts were determined by flow injection analysis with amperometric detection (using a detection potential +0.7 V). Considerable antioxidant activities were found in the extracts of plants from the Rosaceae family (rosehips and leaves of raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry), the Lamiaceae family (oregano, sweet balm, thyme, dead-nettle, and mint), and flowers of linden and elder.
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A predominantly plant-based diet reduces the risk for development of several chronic diseases. It is often assumed that antioxidants contribute to this protection, but results from intervention trials with single antioxidants administered as supplements quite consistently do not support any benefit. Because dietary plants contain several hundred different antioxidants, it would be useful to know the total concentration of electron-donating antioxidants (i.e., reductants) in individual items. Such data might be useful in the identification of the most beneficial dietary plants. We have assessed systematically total antioxidants in a variety of dietary plants used worldwide, including various fruits, berries, vegetables, cereals, nuts and pulses. When possible, we analyzed three or more samples of dietary plants from three different geographic regions in the world. Total antioxidants was assessed by the reduction of Fe(3+) to Fe(2+) (i.e., the FRAP assay), which occurred rapidly with all reductants with half-reaction reduction potentials above that of Fe(3+)/Fe(2+). The values, therefore, expressed the corresponding concentration of electron-donating antioxidants. Our results demonstrated that there is more than a 1000-fold difference among total antioxidants in various dietary plants. Plants that contain most antioxidants included members of several families, such as Rosaceae (dog rose, sour cherry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry), Empetraceae (crowberry), Ericaceae (blueberry), Grossulariaceae (black currant), Juglandaceae (walnut), Asteraceae (sunflower seed), Punicaceae (pomegranate) and Zingiberaceae (ginger). In a Norwegian diet, fruits, berries and cereals contributed 43.6%, 27.1% and 11.7%, respectively, of the total intake of plant antioxidants. Vegetables contributed only 8.9%. The systematic analysis presented here will facilitate research into the nutritional role of the combined effect of antioxidants in dietary plants.
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Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. We investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections. Sixty patients (aged 18-54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999-2000 in Norway. Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza. These findings need to be confirmed in a larger study.
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Red berry fruits such as elderberry, chokeberry, and bilberry have a rich history in folk medicine; from cold and flu remedies to diuretic and antirheumatic activities. They are emerging as natural alternatives in modern medicine and as their popularity grows the amount of scientific research conducted on these products also increases. Researchers have studied their health effects in several areas including cardiovascular disease, and as anti-ulcer, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and stress-reducting activities. The studies described here used varying forms of berries. Many studies describe the anthocyanins as the causative agent responsible for a given activity, but in addition to containing high concentrations of anthocyanins these fruits also contain a complex mixture of other flavonoids. Thus, it is difficult to determine if the anthocyanins are solely responsible for their activities or if anthocyanins are working synergistically with other flavonoids to cause the activity.
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The antiradical activities of various antioxidants were determined using the free radical, 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH*). In its radical form. DPPH* has an absorption band at 515 nm which dissappears upon reduction by an antiradical compound. Twenty compounds were reacted with the DPPH* and shown to follow one of three possible reaction kinetic types. Ascorbic acid, isoascorbic acid and isoeugenol reacted quickly with the DPPH* reaching a steady state immediately. Rosmarinic acid and δ-tocopherol reacted a little slower and reached a steady state within 30 min. The remaining compounds reacted more progressively with the DPPH* reaching a steady state from 1 to 6 h. Caffeic acid, gentisic acid and gallic acid showed the highest antiradical activities with a stoichiometry of 4 to 6 reduced DPPH* molecules per molecule of antioxidant. Vanillin, phenol, γ-resorcylic acid and vanillic acid were found to be poor antiradical compounds. The stoichiometry for the other 13 phenolic compounds varied from one to three reduced DPPH* molecules per molecule of antioxidant. Possible mechanisms are proposed to explain the experimental results.
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Both lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities were determined using the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC(FL)) assay with fluorescein as the fluorescent probe and 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride as a peroxyl radical generator on over 100 different kinds of foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, spices, cereals, infant, and other foods. Most of the foods were collected from four different regions and during two different seasons in U.S. markets. Total phenolics of each sample were also measured using the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. Hydrophilic ORAC(FL) values (H-ORAC(FL)) ranged from 0.87 to 2641 micromol of Trolox equivalents (TE)/g among all of the foods, whereas lipophilic ORAC(FL) values (L-ORAC(FL)) ranged from 0.07 to 1611 micromol of TE/g. Generally, L-ORAC(FL) values were <10% of the H-ORAC(FL) values except for a very few samples. Total antioxidant capacity was calculated by combining L-ORAC(FL) and H-ORAC(FL). Differences of ORAC(FL) values in fruits and vegetables from different seasons and regions were relatively large for some foods but could not be analyzed in detail because of the sampling scheme. Two different processing methods, cooking and peeling, were used on selected foods to evaluate the impact of processing on ORAC(FL). The data demonstrated that processing can have significant effects on ORAC(FL). Considering all of the foods analyzed, the relationship between TP and H-ORAC(FL) showed a very weak correlation. Total hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidant capacity intakes were calculated to be 5558 and 166 micromol of TE/day, respectively, on the basis of data from the USDA Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (1994-1996).
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