Background: The aim of this research was to determine essential oil composition, phenolic constituents and antioxidant properties of Turkish oregano (Origanum onites L.) leaves harvested during the months of June to September.
Result: The maximum essential oil yield in the leaves appeared in the middle of July. The main components of oregano oil were carvacrol, thymol, gamma-terpinene, p-cymene, alpha-terpinene and alpha-pinene. Carvacrol was highest in the July harvest. The maximum extract yield was found in September. Oil distilled from early-season (June) harvested leaves had the highest antioxidant ability, expressed as low concentration providing 50% inhibition of free radical scavenging activity and high levels of reducing/antioxidant capacity. Twelve phenolic compounds of oregano extract were identified and the main components were found to be rosmarinic acid and acecetin. The maximum rosmarinic acid and acecetin were found in harvests of July and June, respectively. Total phenolic contents, free radical scavenging activities and reducing/antioxidant capacities were found to be highest in the July harvest.
Discussion: All yields, chemical compositions, free radical scavenging activities and reducing/antioxidant capacities of extracts and essential oils of Turkish oregano changed importantly depending on vegetative periods of growing season.
(c) 2009 Society of Chemical Industry.