Composition and biological activities of essential oils from four Heracleum species

Author(s): Firuzi O, Asadollahi M, Gholami M, Javidnia K


The composition of essential oils from aerial parts of Heracleum persicum, a widely used medicinal plant, and three other Heracleum species growing wild in Iran were analysed by GC and GC–MS. Myristicin (53.6%), (E)-anethole (25.0%), hexyl butanoate (29.7%) and elemicin (41.1%) were the major compounds of Heracleum pastinacifolium, H. persicum, Heracleum rechingeri and Heracleum transcaucasicum, respectively. Cytotoxic activity assessed on three human cancer cell lines (HeLa, LS180 and Raji), showed that essential oils from H. transcaucasicum (IC50 values; 0.362–0.594 mg/ml) followed by H. pastinacifolium (0.497–1.398 mg/ml) had moderate antitumoral activities. In the DPPH radical scavenging assay, H. pastinacifolium and H. persicum oils showed the highest activities with IC50 values of 7.3 and 7.4 mg/ml, respectively. Antioxidant activity correlated well with the total phenolic content of the oils. None of the essential oils showed significant antimicrobial activities.

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