Planta Med 2014; 80 - SL48
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1394536

Borututu, artichoke and milk thistle: Chemical profiles, antioxidant properties, anti-hepatocellular carcinoma activity and hepatotoxicity

C Pereira 1, L Barros 1, ICFR Ferreira 1
  • 1Mountain Research Centre (CIMO), ESA, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal

Artichoke, borututu and milk thistle are medicinal plants widely consumed as infusions or included in dietary supplements for the treatment/prevention of liver diseases. In the present work, their nutritional value was assessed and analytical tools (gas and liquid chromatography coupled to different detectors) were used to distinguish the chemical profiles namely in hydrophilic (sugars and organic acids) and lipophilic (fatty acids and tocopherols) compounds [1]. Furthermore, antioxidant properties (radicals scavenging activity, reducing power, and lipid peroxidation inhibition), anti-hepatocellular carcinoma activity (HepG2 tumor cell line) and toxicity (non-tumor liver cells primary culture) of their infusions and dietary supplements (pills and syrups) were evaluated and compared [2,3]. Borututu gave the highest energetic value with the highest content of carbohydrates and fat, sucrose and total sugars, shikimic and citric acids, α-, β-, δ- and total tocopherols. Artichoke had the highest ash and protein contents, oxalic acid, SFA (mainly palmitic acid), and γ-tocopherol, as also the best n6/n3 ratio. Milk thistle showed the highest levels of fructose and glucose, quinic acid and total organic acids, PUFA, mainly linoleic acid, and the best PUFA/SFA ratio. All the samples revealed antioxidant properties with EC50 values lower than the daily recommended dose, but infusions showed higher activity than dietary supplements, with the exception of milk thistle syrup, that gave similar EC50 values to the borututu infusion. Among all the samples, the pills revealed the lowest antioxidant activity. The syrup of milk thistle and the infusions of borututu and artichoke revealed anti-hepatocellular carcinoma activity, but the latest also showed toxicity for normal cells at a higher concentration. None of the pills showed cytotoxicity. Thereby, for the mentioned purposes, it seems unnecessary to acquire expensive supplements instead of infusions.

Keywords: Antioxidant activity, hepatotoxicity, nutritional value, chemical profiles


[1] Pereira, C. et al. (2014) Food Anal. Methods DOI 10.1007/s12161 – 014 – 9795 – 9.

[2] Pereira, C. et al. (2013) Ind. Crop. Prod. 49: 61 – 65.

[3] Pereira, C. et al. (2014) Ind. Crop. Prod. 52: 709 – 713.