Creating a Powerful Antioxidant Blend from Lemongrass, Caraway, and Sweet Flag

Greg Howard
25th April, 2024

Creating a Powerful Antioxidant Blend from Lemongrass, Caraway, and Sweet Flag

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Scientists found that mixing lemongrass, caraway, and sweet flag oils boosts antioxidant effects
  • The best mix was 20% lemongrass, 53% caraway, and 27% sweet flag for one test
  • This combo could lead to safer, natural antioxidant products in food and medicine
In the quest for better health and longevity, scientists at Umm Al-Qura University have made a significant stride in the study of antioxidants derived from natural sources[1]. Antioxidants are crucial in combating oxidative stress, a harmful process that can damage cells and is linked to numerous diseases and the aging process[2]. Traditionally, synthetic antioxidants have been used to counteract this stress, but concerns over their potential toxicity have spurred the search for safer, natural alternatives[3]. The study from Umm Al-Qura University delves into the antioxidant potential of essential oils (EOs), specifically those extracted from Cymbopogon flexuosus (lemongrass), Carum carvi (caraway), and Acorus calamus (sweet flag). Essential oils have been recognized for their health benefits, including their antioxidant properties[4]. The research team employed a unique approach by not only examining the antioxidant activity of individual EOs but also exploring the synergistic effects of combining them. To assess the antioxidant capabilities of the EOs, the researchers used two common testing methods: DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging assays. These tests measure the ability of antioxidants to neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage[2]. The study's findings were grounded in the identification of the main components in each EO through Chromatography Gas-Mass spectrometry (CG-MS) analysis. For instance, citral and niral were found to be the dominant substances in C. flexuosus, D-carvone and D-limonene in C. carvi, and β-asarone in A. calamus. The results were revealing. While each EO exhibited its own level of antioxidant activity, the combination of these oils produced a more potent effect. The study identified the optimal antioxidant formulation to be a mix of 20% C. flexuosus, 53% C. carvi, and 27% A. calamus for the DPPH assay and a slightly different blend for the ABTS assay. This suggests that the diverse chemical composition offered by the mixture of EOs leads to a higher scavenging profile against free radicals. The implications of this research are far-reaching. By demonstrating that a combination of natural EOs can outperform individual oils in antioxidant activity, the study opens up new possibilities for creating natural antioxidant formulations. These could potentially be used in food preservation, enhancing the nutritional and safety profile of food products, as well as in the development of biopharmaceuticals to manage or prevent diseases associated with oxidative stress. The findings from Umm Al-Qura University build upon the foundational Free Radical Theory of Ageing, which links the accumulation of oxidative damage to aging and disease[5]. The study enriches this theory by suggesting that a complex mixture of natural antioxidants could offer a more robust defense against oxidative stress than single compounds. Moreover, the study addresses the growing consumer concern over synthetic food additives like BHT, which have been flagged for potential toxic effects and overconsumption[3]. By providing evidence for effective natural alternatives, the research supports a shift toward the use of natural compounds with antioxidative activity, aligning with the trend of functional foods in disease management[2]. In conclusion, the exploration into EOs by Umm Al-Qura University not only underscores the importance of natural antioxidants in health and disease management but also proposes a novel approach to enhancing antioxidant activity through EO combinations. This research could pave the way for safer, more effective antioxidant products in the food and pharmaceutical industries, offering a natural solution to the challenge of oxidative stress and its associated health risks.

BiochemPlant ScienceSpices


Main Study

1) Design of three-component essential oil extract mixture from Cymbopogon flexuosus, Carum carvi, and Acorus calamus with enhanced antioxidant activity.

Published 22nd April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health.

3) Computational Methods for the Identification of Molecular Targets of Toxic Food Additives. Butylated Hydroxytoluene as a Case Study.

4) Health beneficial and pharmacological properties of p-cymene.

5) Adaptive homeostasis and the free radical theory of ageing.

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