Genotoxicity and anti-genotoxicity of some traditional medicinal herbs

Mutat Res. 2005 Aug 1;585(1-2):147-55. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2005.05.004.


Six herbal infusions used worldwide (Matricaria chamomilla, Tilia cordata, Mentha piperita, Mentha pulegium, Uncaria tomentosa and Valeriana officinalis) were assayed for anti-genotoxicity using the Somatic Mutation And Recombination Test (SMART) in Drosophila melanogaster. All these infusions are traditionally used for various medical purposes, including anti-inflammatory processes. Hydrogen peroxide was used as an oxidative genotoxicant to test the anti-genotoxic potency of the medicinal infusions. None of these infusions showed a significant genotoxicity, quite the reverse they were able to behave as desmutagens, detoxifying the mutagen hydrogen peroxide. The phenolic content of such herbal infusions is argued to be the possible scavenger of reactive oxygen radicals produced by the hydrogen peroxide.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimutagenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mutagenicity Tests / methods
  • Mutagens / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal / toxicity*


  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Mutagens
  • Hydrogen Peroxide