Inhibition of protein glycation by extracts of culinary herbs and spices

J Med Food. 2008 Jun;11(2):275-81. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2007.536.


We tested whether polyphenolic substances in extracts of commercial culinary herbs and spices would inhibit fructose-mediated protein glycation. Extracts of 24 herbs and spices from a local supermarket were tested for the ability to inhibit glycation of albumin. Dry samples were ground and extracted with 10 volumes of 50% ethanol, and total phenolic content and ferric reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP) were measured. Aliquots were incubated in triplicate at pH 7.4 with 0.25 M fructose and 10 mg/mL fatty acid-free bovine albumin. Fluorescence at 370 nm/440 nm was used as an index of albumin glycation. In general, spice extracts inhibited glycation more than herb extracts, but inhibition was correlated with total phenolic content (R(2) = 0.89). The most potent inhibitors included extracts of cloves, ground Jamaican allspice, and cinnamon. Potent herbs tested included sage, marjoram, tarragon, and rosemary. Total phenolics were highly correlated with FRAP values (R(2) = 0.93). The concentration of phenolics that inhibited glycation by 50% was typically 4-12 microg/mL. Relative to total phenolic concentration, extracts of powdered ginger and bay leaf were less effective than expected, and black pepper was more effective. Prevention of protein glycation is an example of the antidiabetic potential for bioactive compounds in culinary herbs and spices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum / chemistry
  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Fructose / chemistry
  • Glycosylation / drug effects*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Pimenta / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / chemistry
  • Spices / analysis*
  • Syzygium / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Fructose