Chemical profiling of infusions and decoctions ofHelichrysum italicumsubsp.picardiiby UHPLC-PDA-MS andin vitrobiological activities comparatively with green tea(Camellia sinensis) and rooibos tisane (Aspalathus linearis)
Several medicinal plants are currently used by the food industry as functional additives, for example botanical extracts in herbal drinks. Moreover, the scientific community has recently begun focusing on halophytes as sources of functional beverages. Helichrysum italicum subsp. picardii (everlasting) is an aromatic halophyte common in southern Europe frequently used as spice and in traditional medicine. In this context, this work explored for the first time H. italicum subsp. picardii as a potential source of innovative herbal beverages with potential health promoting properties. For that purpose, infusions and decoctions were prepared from roots, vegetative aerial-organs (stems and leaves) and flowers and evaluated for in vitro antioxidant and anti-diabetic activities. Samples were also assessed for toxicity in different mammalian cell lines and chemically characterized by spectrophotometric methods and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–photodiode array–mass-spectrometry (UHPLC-PDA-MS). Results were expressed relating to ‘a cup-of-tea’ and compared with those obtained with green tea (Camellia sinensis) and rooibos tisane (Aspalathus linearis). Tisanes from the everlasting’s above-ground organs, particularly flowers, have high polyphenolic content and several phenolics were identified; the main compounds were chlorogenic and quinic acids, dicaffeoylquinic-acid isomers and gnaphaliin-A. The antioxidant activity of beverages from the everlasting’s above-ground organs matched or surpassed that of green tea and rooibos. Its anti-diabetic activity was moderate and toxicity low. Overall, our results suggest that the everlasting is a potential source of innovative and functional herbal beverages.