Background: Arnica montana L. and Artemisia absinthium L. (Asteraceae) are medicinal plants native to temperate regions of Europe, including Romania, traditionally used for treatment of skin wounds, bruises and contusions. In the present study, A. montana and A. absinthium ethanolic extracts were evaluated for their chemical composition, antioxidant activity and protective effect against H2O2-induced oxidative stress in a mouse fibroblast-like NCTC cell line.
Results: A. absinthium extract showed a higher antioxidant capacity than A. montana extract as Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, Oxygen radical absorbance capacity and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical-scavenging activity, in correlation with its flavonoids and phenolic acids content. Both plant extracts had significant effects on the growth of NCTC cells in the range of 10-100 mg/L A. montana and 10-500 mg/L A. absinthium. They also protected fibroblast cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative damage, at the same doses. The best protection was observed in cell pre-treatment with 10 mg/L A. montana and 10-300 mg/L A. absinthium, respectively, as determined by Neutral red and lactate dehydrogenase assays. In addition, cell pre-treatment with plant extracts, at these concentrations, prevented morphological changes induced by hydrogen peroxide. Flow-cytometry analysis showed that pre-treatment with A. montana and A. absinthium extracts restored the proportion of cells in each phase of the cell cycle.
Conclusions: A. montana and A. absinthium extracts, rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids, showed a good antioxidant activity and cytoprotective effect against oxidative damage in fibroblast-like cells. These results provide scientific support for the traditional use of A. montana and A. absinthium in treatment of skin disorders.