Indian medicinal plants as antiradicals and DNA cleavage protectors

Phytomedicine. 2001 Mar;8(2):125-32. doi: 10.1078/0944-7113-00021.


Celastrus paniculatus L. (Celastraceae) (CP), Picrorhiza kurroa L. (Scrophulariaceae) (PK) and Withania somnifera L. (Solanaceae) (WS) are Indian medicinal plants having a remarkable reputation, as a factor of health care, among the indigenous medical practitioners. The plants exhibit varying degrees of therapeutic value some of which useful in the treatment of cognitive dysfunction, epilepsy, insomnia, rheumatism, gout, dyspepsia. In this work, we have investigated the free radical scavenging capacity of methanolic extracts from CP, PK, WS and the effect on DNA cleavage induced by H2O2 UV-photholysis. In addition, we investigated whether these plant extracts are capable of reducing the hydrogen peroxide-induced cytotoxicity and DNA damage in human non-immortalized fibroblasts. These extracts showed a dose-dependent free radical scavenging capacity and a protective effect on DNA cleavage; methanolic extracts from PK was more active than extracts from CP and WS. These results were confirmed by a significant protective effect on H2O2-induced cytoxicity and DNA damage in human non-immortalized fibroblasts. These antioxidant effects of active principle of CP, PK and WS may explain, at least in part, the reported anti-stress, immunomodulatory, cognition-facilitating, anti-inflammatory and antiaging effects produced by them in experimental animal and in clinical situations and may justify the further investigation of their other beneficial biological properties.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity*
  • India
  • Magnoliopsida / classification
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal*


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Hydrogen Peroxide