Health Benefits of Herbal Root Extracts Examined

Jim Crocker
28th April, 2024

Health Benefits of Herbal Root Extracts Examined

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study from the University of Warmia and Mazury found medicinal herb roots may protect against diabetes and aging
  • Comfrey root had the highest antioxidant levels, which may help prevent cell damage and chronic diseases
  • Burdock root showed strong potential in preventing harmful substances linked to diabetes complications
Understanding the potential health benefits of medicinal herbs has been an ongoing pursuit in scientific research. A recent study conducted by the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn[1] has provided new insights into the antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties of six medicinal herb roots. This research is particularly significant as it explores the link between the presence of phenolic compounds in these roots and their ability to inhibit the formation of harmful substances known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which have been implicated in the progression of diabetes and other age-related diseases. The study focused on the roots of marshmallow, dandelion, liquorice, angelica, burdock, and comfrey, all of which are traditionally used for their healing properties. Researchers employed a sophisticated analytical method, UHPLC-DAD-MS, to quantify the presence of fifteen polyphenolic compounds across the studied herbs. These compounds are known for their antioxidant capabilities, which means they can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm cells and contribute to chronic diseases[2]. Marshmallow roots stood out for their variety, containing ten different polyphenols, while comfrey roots had the highest total phenolic content (TPC), a measure of the overall amount of phenolic compounds present. Interestingly, liquorice root showed the highest concentration of a specific phenolic compound, kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside. The antioxidant capacity of the extracts was measured using two assays: ABTS and DPPH, which are tests to evaluate how well a substance can neutralize free radicals[3]. Comfrey root extract demonstrated the highest antioxidant capacity in both tests, indicating a strong potential for combating oxidative stress, a condition that can lead to cellular damage and has been linked to various diseases, including cancer and heart disease[2]. Furthermore, the study assessed the ability of these roots to inhibit the formation of AGEs using two model systems: BSA-glucose and BSA-methylglyoxal. AGEs are formed when proteins or fats combine with sugars without the controlling action of an enzyme, a process that can be accelerated in diabetic conditions and contribute to the complications of the disease[3]. Burdock and comfrey showed the most potent anti-AGE activity in the BSA-glucose model, while burdock root was also the most effective in the BSA-methylglyoxal model, suggesting these roots may offer protective benefits against diabetes-related damage. A noteworthy finding was the significant correlation between the content of p-coumaric acid, a type of phenolic acid, and the anti-AGE activity in the BSA-methylglyoxal model. This suggests that p-coumaric acid may play a key role in the prevention of AGE formation, which is a promising discovery for the development of new diabetes treatments or preventive strategies. The implications of this study are twofold. First, it provides a scientific basis for the traditional use of these medicinal herbs, particularly in the context of their antioxidant properties. Second, it identifies specific compounds, such as p-coumaric acid, that could be instrumental in inhibiting the formation of AGEs, thereby offering a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention in diabetes and other age-related conditions. In conclusion, the research from the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn expands on previous findings[2][3] by not only confirming the antioxidant and anti-glycation effects of certain phenolic compounds found in medicinal herb roots but also by highlighting the potential of these natural products in the prevention and management of diabetes. The study underscores the importance of further exploring the bioactive compounds in these herbs, paving the way for their potential use in pharmaceutical and medicinal applications.



Main Study

1) The Profile and Content of Polyphenolic Compounds and Antioxidant and Anti-Glycation Properties of Root Extracts of Selected Medicinal Herbs.

Published 26th April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Flavonoids and Other Phenolic Compounds from Medicinal Plants for Pharmaceutical and Medical Aspects: An Overview.

3) Inhibition of Advanced Glycation End-Product Formation by High Antioxidant-Leveled Spices Commonly Used in European Cuisine.

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