Total phenolic content and antioxidant activity in selected medicinal plants of Zimbabwe

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Seven commonly known medicinal plants from Zimbabwe were analysed for their antioxidant activity as well as their total phenolic content. The plant samples used in this study were Albizia amara, Elionurus muticus, Heteropyxis natalensis, Hoslundia opposita, Lippia javanica, Ocimum urticifolia and Warburgia salutaris. The plant samples were extracted using 70% ethanol. The 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical assay was used to determine the antioxidant activity of the plant extracts, while the Folin–Ciocalteu method was used to determine the total phenolic content. The antioxidant activities of the plant extracts ranged from 95.84 ± 0.50% for E. muticus to 5.31 ± 4.47% for H. opposita. Total phenolics in the plant extract estimated as tannic acid equivalent (TAE) ranged from 0.098 ± 0.005 mg per 100 g for H. natalensis to 0.024 ± 0.006 TAE for H. opposita. There was a poor correlation (R = 0.522) between total phenolic content and antioxidant activity in the plant samples. The results indicate the presence of phenolic compounds as well as significant antioxidant activity.

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