Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Medicinal plants


Plant oils have been utilized for a variety of purposes throughout history, with their integration into foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. They are now being increasingly recognized for their effects on both skin diseases and the restoration of cutaneous homeostasis. This article briefly reviews the available data on biological influences of topical skin applications of some plant oils (olive oil, olive pomace oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, safflower seed oil, argan oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, borage oil, jojoba oil, oat oil, pomegranate seed oil, almond oil, bitter apricot oil, rose hip oil, German chamomile oil, and shea butter). Thus, it focuses on the therapeutic benefits of these plant oils according to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the skin, promotion of wound healing and repair of skin barrier.

Concepts: Fruit, Seed, Drupe, Medicinal plants, Linoleic acid, Sunflower, Vegetable oils, Cooking oils


Phytonutrients reportedly extend the lifespan of C. elegans, Drosophila, and mice. We tested extracts of blueberry, pomegranate, green and black tea, cinnamon, sesame, and French maritime pine bark (Pycnogenol and taxifolin), as well as curcumin, morin, and quercetin for their effects on the lifespan of mice. While many of these phytonutrients reportedly extend the lifespan of model organisms, we found no significant effect on the lifespan of male, F1 hybrid mice, even though the dosages used reportedly produce defined therapeutic endpoints in mice. The compounds were fed beginning at 12 months of age. The control and treatment groups were isocaloric with respect to one another. A 40% calorically restricted and other groups not reported here did experience lifespan extension. Body weights were unchanged relative to controls for all but two supplemented groups, indicating most supplements did not change energy absorption or utilization. Tea extracts with morin decreased weight, while quercetin, taxifolin, and Pycnogenol together increased weight. These changes may be due to altered locomotion or fatty acid biosynthesis. Published reports of murine lifespan extension using curcumin or tea components may have resulted from induced caloric restriction. Together, our results do not support the idea that phytonutrient-antioxidants and anti-inflammatories are potential longevity therapeutics, even though consumption of whole fruits and vegetables is associated with enhanced health- and lifespan.

Concepts: Nutrition, Caenorhabditis elegans, Model organism, Gerontology, Fruit, Resveratrol, Calorie restriction, Medicinal plants


The use of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves and their constituents as a source of dietary antioxidants and flavoring agents is continuously growing. Carnosol and carnosic acid, two major components of rosemary extracts, have shown activity for cancer prevention and therapy.

Concepts: Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Rosemary, Rosmarinus


Emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents are no exception. To what extent a fixed plant extract combination is able to support children suffering from nervous agitation due to agitated depression among others for approximately 2 years has been investigated in a multicenter, prospective observational study (2008) with 115 children between 6 and 12 years. Assessments of the parents showed a distinct improvement in children who had attention problems, showed social withdrawal, and/or were anxious/depressive. Based on the physicians' assessment, 81.6-93.9 % of the affected children had no or just mild symptoms at the end of observation concerning nine of thirteen evaluated symptoms such as depression, school/examination anxieties, further anxieties, sleeping problems, and different physical problems. Therapeutic success was not influenced by additional medication or therapies. The treatment was well tolerated. The used plant extracts have been gained from St. John’s Wort herb, valerian root, and passionflower herb.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Medicine, Observational study, Major depressive disorder, Benzodiazepine, Medicinal plants, St John's wort


Ethanol extracts of 25 plant species were screened for anthelmintic effects against Haemonchus contortus. Ethanol extracts of each plant were used at various concentrations (10, 20 and 30%) to treat 10-day faecal cultures, incubated at 27°C with control cultures which were treated with ethanol for 48 h. Five plants with high efficacies (Ananas comosus, Aloe ferox, Allium sativum, Lespedeza cuneata and Warburgia salutaris) were selected from the first screening for further investigation using ethanol, dichloromethane and water extracts at four concentrations (2.5, 5, 10 and 20%). Ethanol was the most effective solvent. Larval counts decreased with increasing extract concentrations, of which 10 and 20% had similar effects. Lespedeza cuneata caused more than 70% mortality at all concentrations. However, there remains a need to assess in vivo efficacy of these plants.

Concepts: Water, Effectiveness, In vivo, In vitro, Efficacy, Medicinal plants, Ananas, Haemonchus contortus


In response to recent claims that synthetic antioxidants have the potential to cause toxicological effects and consumers' increased interest in purchasing natural products, the meat and poultry industry has been seeking sources of natural antioxidants. Due to their high phenolic compound content, fruits and other plant materials provide a good alternative to conventional antioxidants. Plum, grape seed extract, cranberry, pomegranate, bearberry, pine bark extract, rosemary, oregano, and other spices functions as antioxidants in meat and poultry products. Pomegranate, pine bark extract, cinnamon, and cloves have exhibited stronger antioxidant properties than some synthetic options. Plum products, grape seed extract, pine bark extract, rosemary, and some spices all have been shown to affect the color of finished meat or poultry products; however, in some products such as pork sausage or uncured meats, an increase in red color may be desired. When selecting a natural antioxidant, sensory and quality impact on the product should be considered to achieve desired traits.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Meat, Fruit, Cinnamon, Medicinal plants, Pork, Sausage, Spice


The paper presents a real-time PCR method allowing the simultaneous detection of traces of black mustard (Brassica nigra) and brown mustard (Brassica juncea) in food. The primers and the probe target the B. nigra partial RT gene for reverse transcriptase from gypsy-like retroelement 13G42-26. The real-time PCR method does not show any cross-reactivity with other Brassicaceae species with the exception of white mustard. Low cross-reactivities with cinnamon, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, rye and turmeric can be ignored because in common mustard containing foodstuffs these biological species are present in very low amounts. By analysing serially diluted DNA extracts from black and brown mustard, the DNA of both mustard species could be detected down to 0.1 pg. With 10 ng DNA per PCR tube the real-time PCR method allows the detection of 5 ppm black and brown mustard in brewed sausages.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Biology, Brassica, Medicinal plants, Mustard plant, Brassica juncea, Brassica nigra


A number of herbal products with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antimycotic properties are available for dermatological usage. The successful treatment of 13 sheep affected by ringworm due to Trichophyton mentagrophytes with a mixture consisting of essential oils (EOs) of Thymus serpillum 2%, Origanum vulgare 5% and Rosmarinus officinalis 5% in sweet almond (Prunus dulcis) oil. The effectiveness of EOs and of the major components of the mixture (thymol, carvacrol, 1,8 cineole, α-pinene, p-cymene, γ-terpinene) against the fungal clinical isolate was evaluated by a microdilution test. Thirteen animals were topically administered with the mixture twice daily for 15 days. The other sheep were administered with a conventional treatment (seven animals) or left untreated (two animals). Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were 0.1% for T. serpillum, 0.5% for O. vulgare, 2.5% for I. verum and 5% for both R. officinalis and C. limon. Thymol and carvacrol showed MICs of 0.125% and 0.0625%. A clinical and aetiological cure was obtained at the end of each treatment regimen in only the treated animals. Specific antimycotic drugs licenced for food-producing sheep are not available within the European Community. The mixture tested here appeared to be a versatile tool for limiting fungal growth.

Concepts: Medicine, Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Essential oil, Almond, Oregano, Origanum, Marjoram


In the present article, ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) of polyphenols from agricultural and industrial waste of olive oil and table oil productions, olive tree (Olea europaea) leaves were investigated. The aim of the study is to examine the extraction parameters such as solvent concentration (0-100% ethanol (EtOH), v/v), the ratio of solid to solvent (25-50mg/mL) and extraction time (20-60 min), and to obtain the best possible combinations of these parameters through response surface methodology (RSM). The extract yield was stated as mg extract per g of dried leaf (DL). Total phenolic content was expressed in gallic acid equivalent (GAE) per g of dried leaf. Free radical scavenging activity for the antioxidant capacity was tested by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH) radical. The second order polynomial model gave a satisfactory description of the experimental data. 201.2158 mg extract/g DL, 25.0626 mg GAE/g DL, and 95.5610% in respect to inhibition of DPPH radical were predicted at the optimum operating conditions (500 mg solid to 10 mL solvent ratio, 60 min of extraction time and 50% EtOH composition), respectively.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Olive, Medicinal plants, Olive oil, Oleuropein, Olive leaf, Oleaceae, Olives


The goal of this study was to monitor the anti-proliferative activity of Rosmarinus officinalis and Salvia officinalis extracts against cancer cells and to correlate this activity with their phytochemical profiles using liquid chromatography/diode array detection/electrospray ion trap tandem mass spectrometry (LC/DAD/ESI-MS(n)). For the quantitative estimation of triterpenic acids in the crude extracts an NMR based methodology was used and compared with the HPLC measurements, both applied for the first time, for the case of betulinic acid. Both extracts exerted cytotoxic activity through dose-dependent impairment of viability and mitochondrial activity of rat insulinoma m5F (RINm5F) cells. Decrease of RINm5F viability was mediated by nitric oxide (NO)-induced apoptosis. Importantly, these extracts potentiated NO and TNF-α release from macrophages therefore enhancing their cytocidal action. The rosemary extract developed more pronounced antioxidant, cytotoxic and immunomodifying activities, probably due to the presence of betulinic acid and a higher concentration of carnosic acid in its phytochemical profile.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, PH, Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Tandem mass spectrometry, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance, Betulinic acid, Rosemary