Content of antioxidants in extracts of mistletoe (Viscum album L.), yew (Taxus baccata L.), pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and fir (Abies alba Mill.)



Imbalance between the intensity of oxidative processes (that induce the formation of reactive oxygen species) and counteracting antioxidant system is called oxidative stress. Most of the pathological changes in living organisms is associated with the processes of carcinogenesis induced by free radicals. State of equilibrium is maintained due to the presence of antioxidant enzymes (e.g. superoxide dismutase, peroxidase) and other biologically active substances such as glutathione, ascorbic acid and beta-carotene. These compounds enable the removal of reactive oxygen species in cells. The purpose of this study was to investigate the oxidative activity of mistletoe extracts and their potential hosts: fir and pine, and yew trees, which also have therapeutic properties. The results of performed analysis of enzymatic antioxidants (superoxide dismutase and peroxidase) lead to the conclusion that their activity in the tissues of mistletoe is much lower than in the tissues of fir, pine and yew. It was found, however, a much higher content of non-enzymatic antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, glutathione or beta- carotene in the tissues of mistletoe compared to other plants analyzed. Thus, extracts from mistletoe are a rich source of antioxidants easily assimilated to organisms receiving them.
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