Biochemical characterization of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G.Don subsp. italicum (Asteraceae) from Montenegro: phytochemical screening, chemotaxonomy, and antioxidant properties

Chem Biodivers. 2015 Mar;12(3):419-31. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201400174.


The chemical composition and antioxidant properties of the essential oil and EtOH extract of immortelle (Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G.Don subsp. italicum, Asteraceae) collected in Montenegro were evaluated. The essential oil was characterized by GC/MS analysis, and the content of total phenolics and flavonoids in the EtOH extract was determined using the FolinCiocalteu reagent. The free-radical-scavenging capacity (RSC) of both the essential oil and the EtOH extract was assessed with the 2,2-diphenyl-1-pycrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method. Moreover, the inhibition of hydroxyl radical ((.) OH) generation by the EtOH extract of immortelle was evaluated for the first time here. Neryl acetate (28.2%) and γ-curcumene (18.8%) were the main compounds in the essential oil, followed by neryl propionate (9.1%) and ar-curcumene (8.3%). The chemical composition of the oils of the examined and additional 16 selected Helichrysum italicum taxa described in literature were compared using principal component (PCA) and cluster (CA) analyses. The results of the statistical analyses implied the occurrence of at least four different main and three subchemotypes of essential oils. Considering the antioxidant properties, the EtOH extract of immortelle exhibited similar potential as propyl gallate and quercetin, while the essential oil exhibited relatively weak DPPH(.) -scavenging capacity.

Keywords: Antioxidant activity; Chemotaxonomy; Cluster analysis (CA); Essential oils; Helichrysum italicum; Principal component analysis (PCA).

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Biphenyl Compounds / chemistry
  • Free Radicals / chemistry
  • Helichrysum / chemistry*
  • Hydroxyl Radical / chemistry
  • Montenegro
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry*
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Picrates / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Free Radicals
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Picrates
  • Hydroxyl Radical
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl