Hawk tea (Litsea coreana Lévl. var. Lanuginosa (Migo) Yen C. Yang & P.H. Huang), a very popular herbal tea material, has attracted more and more attention due to its high antioxidant properties and possible therapeutic effect on type II diabetes mellitus. The raw materials of Hawk tea are usually divided into three kinds: bud tea (BT), primary leaf tea (PLT) and mature leaf tea (MLT). In this study, the DPPH radical scavenging activity and the antimicrobial properties of these three kinds of Hawk tea from different regions were comparatively investigated, and a ultra-high performance liquid chromatographic coupled with a photodiode array detector (UPLC-DAD) method was employed for comparison of the three major flavonoid constituents, including hyperoside, isoquercitrin and astragalin, in different samples of Hawk tea. At the same time, the effect of methanol extract (ME) of PLT on the mouse postprandial blood glucose and the effect of ME and its different fractions (petroleum ether fraction (PE), ethyl acetate fraction (EA), n-butanol fraction (n-BuOH), and water fraction (WF)) on the activity of α-glucosidase were studied. The results showed that Hawk BT and Hawk PLT possessed the higher radicals scavenging activity than Hawk MLT, while the antibacterial activity against P. vulgaris of PLT and MLT was higher than Hawk BT. The contents of the three major flavonoid constituents in samples of Hawk PLT are higher than Hawk BT and Hawk MLT. The mouse postprandial blood glucose levels of the middle dose (0.5 g/kg) group and the high dose (1 g/kg) group with oral administration of the ME of PLT were significantly lower than the control group. What's more, the inhibitory effect of ME of PLT and its EA and n-BuOH fractions on α-glucosidase was significantly higher than that of acarbose. Rapid ultra-high performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS) was used to identify the flavonoids in Hawk PLT, and a total of 20 flavonoids were identified or tentatively identified by comparing their retention times and accurate mass measurements with reference compounds or literature data. The bioactive flavonoid composition and DPPH radical scavenging activities present in different Hawk tea raw materials are quite different due to the different ontogenesis of these raw materials. Further studies on PLT showed that the substances in PLT ME could reduce the level of mouse postprandial blood glucose through inhibiting the activity of α-glucosidase.
Keywords: DPPH radicals scavenging and antimicrobial activities; Hawk tea; UPLC-DAD; UPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS; postprandial blood glucose; α-glucosidase.