Planta Med 2013; 79 - PJ9
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1352213

Antioxidant potential of Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass) polyphenols

G Costa 1, S González-Manzano 2, A González-Paramás 2, C Santos-Buelga 2, IV Figueiredo 1, M Batista 1
  • 1Centro de Estudos Farmacêuticos, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Coimbra, Pólo das Ciências da Saúde, Azinhaga de Santa Comba, 3000 – 548 Coimbra, Portugal
  • 2Grupo de Investigación en Polifenoles, Unidad de Nutrición y Bromatología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Salamanca, Campus M. Unamuno, 37007 Salamanca, Spain

Oxidative stress is related to the physiopathology of many diseases1 and takes place when there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the antioxidant defense system, which can generate important cell damage. Polyphenols and, specially, tannins have been described as powerful radical scavengers which may be very useful in alleviating oxidative stress and inflammation-related pathologies2. In this work the potential of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf.) phenolic compounds has been evaluated. Its infusion (CCI) and tannin-rich fraction (CCT) antioxidant activity has been tested by in vitro assays (DPPH, FRAP and TEAC).

CCI and CCT were obtained as previously described by Figueirinha (2010). Chemical composition of both samples was attained by HPLC-PDA. Antiradical capacity was assessed by DPPH assay, described by Blois3. Ferric reducing ability (FRAP) was evaluated according to Benzie and Strain4. Trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) method, as described by Re5, was used to determine the ABTS radical scavenging ability.

Both samples have showed high antioxidant values (Table 1), CCT exhibiting a pronounced activity improvement, when compared to CCI. This data indicates that the antioxidant effect is correlated with the compounds present in the polyphenolic fraction and it corroborates the use of lemongrass in folk medicine.

Tab. 1:


DPPH IC50 (mg/mL)

ABTS IC50 (mg/mL)














*TEAC = concentration of sample that possesses the same antioxidant capacity of Trolox® 1mM.

Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank FCT for the project PTDC/SAU-FCF/105429/2008 and FEDER/COMPETE (FCOMP-01 – 0124-FEDER-011096).


[1] Oliveira et al. J Neuro Sci. 2012, 321: 49 – 53.

[2] Hu, M; Chang Gung. Med J. 2011, 34: 449 – 60.

[3] Blois et al. Nature. 1958, 4617: 1199 – 1200.

[4] Benzie, IFF; Strain, JJ. Anal Biochem. 1996, 239: 70 – 76.

[5] Re et al. Free Rad Biol Med. 1999, 26: 1231 – 7.