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How much selenium do medicinal plants contain? Results of a research on wild-growing species from Western Romania

Author(s): Diana Simona ANTAL | Carmen Maximiliana CANCIU | Cristina Adriana DEHELEAN | Manfred ANKE

Journal: Analele Universitatii din Oradea, Fascicula Biologie
ISSN 1224-5119

Volume: Tom XVII;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: selenium | medicinal plants | ICP-MS | aqueous extraction

The ultratrace element selenium is essential for higher animals and man. It is an active constituent of over twenty different selenoproteins from human tissues. As well, this rare nonmetal element is a potent anticarcinogen, inhibiting both chemically and virally induced tumors. The ever-increasing biological importance of Se determined us to perform the first largescale investigation of Romanian medicinal plants in what their Se content is concerned, and to evaluate the extraction ratio of this element during decoction. ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry) analysis revealed average Se contents of 43 μg/kg dry matter. The highest Se content was found in aerial parts (average of 60 μg/kg), followed by leaves (58), roots (54), flowers (35) and fruits (12). Species grown on limestone weathering soils are significantly richer in Se than the ones grown on granite or phyllite. Outstanding Se contents were measured for samples of Betula pendula leaves – 381, 131 and 113 μg Se/kg, Agrimonia eupatoria herb - 332 μg/kg, and Galium verum herb – 287 μg/kg. The extraction ratio of Se through decoction ranges from 4% (valerian roots) to 83% (chicory roots). The Se content and the high amounts of flavonoids in birch, agrimony and yellow bedstraw underline the value of these plants in the auxiliary treatment of various free-radical mediated diseases.
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