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Antioxidant activity of medicinal plants used in phytotherapy
Published June 6, 2001

Oxygen free radicals play an important role in the development of different disorders like inflammatory-immune injury, carcinogenesis, hepatic toxicity and artherosclerosis. The antioxydant role of a wide spectrum of natural products has been established. Flavonoids and other phenolic compounds (proanthocyanidins, rosmarinic acid, hydroxicinnam...ic derivatives, catechines, etc.) of plant origin have been reported as scavengers and inhibitors of lipid peroxidation.

We have studied the antioxidant activity as well as content and composition of natural phenolics in a series of medicinal plants with phytotherapeutical significance. Thus we determined the total phenol contents and studied the composition of flavonoids, polyphenols, phenolic acids of different vegetative and reproductive organs of medicinal plants: Anthriscus cerefolium (L.) Hoffm., Petroselinum crispum L., Cichorium intybus L., Helichrysum arenarium D.C.„cempervivum tectorum L., Taravacum officinale Web.

Characteristic constituents in the various crude drugs were determined by chromatographic (TLC, HPLC) and spectroscopic (UV, UV-VIS) methods. The non specific scavenger activities of the medicinal plant extracts were studied by the chemiluminometric technique. The changes of chemiluminescence intensity of the H,G,•0H-luminol system at increasing concentrations of the H702/ -OH were measured. Inhibitory effects of selected standardized fractions from plants were tested on ascorbic acid induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver and homogenates.

The best correlation were established with total phenolics in some medicinal plants (S. tectorum, T. officinale) while activities in other cases seem to be influenced by flavonoids (P. crispum, H. arenarium, A. cerefolium) and by hydroxicinnamic derivatives (C. intybus).


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Flower constancy of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) to blooming pear plantations
Published June 6, 2000

Studies were made on the composition of pollen loads of honeybees captured at the flowers of blooming pear trees in pear plantations. Also the foraging behaviour of honeybees was observed. Overwhelming majority of honeybees visiting the flowers of 13 pear cultivars in 1996 were pollen gatherers (95.6 per cent). Proportion of pure nectar was as low as some 3.7 per cent and no more than 0.7 per cent performed mixed behaviour. The analysis of pollen loads of bees collected at pear flowers in blooming pear plantations showed that fidelity was as high as 89-90 per cent towards pear, higher than for another fruit species in other studies. Even those plant species that are regarded to be strong competitors of blooming fruit trees in the literature (Taraxacum officinale, Stellaria media, Lamium purpureum) were scarcely represented in the loads. Accordingly, honeybees can be much more important and more effective pollinating agents of pear cultivars than generally believed.


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