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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Anti-collagenase, anti-elastase and anti-oxidant activities of extracts from 21 plants

Tamsyn SA Thring1, Pauline Hili2 and Declan P Naughton1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Life Sciences, Kingston University, London, KT1 2EE, UK

2 Neal's Yard Remedies, 15 Neal's Yard, London, WC2H 9DP, UK

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009, 9:27  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-27

Published: 4 August 2009

Abstract

Background

Owing to their roles in tissue remodelling in health and disease, several studies have reported investigations on plant extracts as inhibitors of proteinases and as anti-oxidants.

Methods

The anti-ageing and anti-oxidant properties of 23 plant extracts (from 21 plant species) were assessed as anti-elastase and anti-collagenase activities and in selected anti-oxidant assays along with phenolic content.

Results

Anti-elastase activities were observed for nine of the extracts with inhibitory activity in the following order: white tea (~89%), cleavers (~58%), burdock root (~51%), bladderwrack (~50%), anise and angelica (~32%). Anti-collagenase activities were exhibited by sixteen plants of which the highest activity was seen in white tea (~87%), green tea (~47%), rose tincture (~41%), and lavender (~31%). Nine plant extracts had activities against both elastase (E) and collagenase (C) and were ranked in the order of white tea (E:89%, C:87%) > bladderwrack (E:50%, C:25%) > cleavers (E:58%, C:7%) > rose tincture (E:22%, C:41%) > green tea (E:10%: C:47%) > rose aqueous (E: 24%, C:26%) > angelica (E:32%, C:17%) > anise (E:32%, C:6%) > pomegranate (E:15%, C:11%).

Total phenolic content varied between 0.05 and 0.26 mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/mL with the exception of white tea (0.77 mg GAE/mL). For anti-oxidant assessment, the Trolox equivalent anti-oxidant capacity (TEAC) assay revealed activity for all extracts. White tea had the highest activity equivalent to ~21 μM Trolox for a 6.25 μg aliquot. In addition, seven extracts exhibited activities = 10 μM Trolox with witch hazel (6.25 μg = 13 μM Trolox) and rose aqueous (6.25 μg = 10 μM Trolox) showing very high activities at low concentrations. A high activity for white tea was also found in the superoxide dismutase (SOD) assay in which it exhibited ~88% inhibition of reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium. High activities were also observed for green tea (86.41%), rose tincture (82.77%), witch hazel (82.05%) and rose aqueous (73.86%).

Conclusion

From a panel of twenty three plant extracts, some one dozen exhibit high or satisfactory anti-collagenase or anti-elastase activities, with nine having inhibitory activity against both enzymes. These included white tea which was found to have very high phenolic content, along with high TEAC and SOD activities.