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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 3 (2006), Issue 3, Pages 329-338
Original Article

Aqueous Extracts of Teucrium polium Possess Remarkable Antioxidant Activity In Vitro

1Department of Pharmacology, Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Haifa, Israel
2Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
3Research and Development Regional Centre (affiliated with Haifa University, Haifa, Israel), The Galilee Society, Shefa Amr, Israel

Received 12 September 2005; Accepted 25 May 2006

Copyright © 2006 Predrag Ljubuncic et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Teucrium polium L. (Lamiaceae) (RDC 1117) is a medicinal plant whose species have been used for over 2000 years in traditional medicine due to its diuretic, diaphoretic, tonic, antipyretic, antispasmodic and cholagogic properties. The therapeutic benefit of medicinal plants is often attributed to their antioxidant properties. We previously reported that an aqueous extract of the leaves and stems of this plant could inhibit iron-induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver homogenate at concentrations that were not toxic to cultured hepatic cells. Others have reported that organic extracts of the aerial components of this plant could inhibit oxidative processes. Against this background, we felt further investigation on the antioxidant action of the extract of T. polium prepared according to traditional Arab medicine was warranted. Accordingly, we assessed (i) its ability to inhibit (a) oxidation of β-carotene, (b) 2,2′-azobis(2-amidinopropan) dihydrochloride (AAPH)-induced plasma oxidation and (c) iron-induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver homogenates; (ii) to scavenge the superoxide ($${\hbox{ O }}_{2}^{\bullet -}$$) radical and the hydroxyl radical (OH•); (iii) its effects on the enzyme xanthine oxidase activity; (iv) its capacity to bind iron; and (v) its effect on cell glutathione (GSH) homeostasis in cultured Hep G2 cells. We found that the extract (i) inhibited (a) oxidation of β-carotene, (b) AAPH-induced plasma oxidation (c) Fe2+-induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver homogenates (IC50 = 7 ± 2 μg ml−1); (ii) scavenged $${\hbox{ O }}_{2}^{\bullet -}$$(IC50 = 12 ± 3 μg ml−1) and OH• (IC50 = 66 ± 20 μg ml−1); (iii) binds iron (IC50 = 79 ± 17 μg ml−1); and (iv) tended to increase intracellular GSH levels resulting in a decrease in the GSSG/GSH ratio. These results demonstrate that the extract prepared from the T. polium possesses antioxidant activity in vitro. Further investigations are needed to verify whether this antioxidant effect occurs in vivo.