Characteristic constituents of chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium L. (Hoffm.) (Apiacae) were investigated for free radical scavenging effects. Different extraction and purification methods were used to separate essential oil and flavonoids from the leaves, and lignans from the root. In vitro test methods were used to determine whether the extracts had free radical scavenging and membrane protective activity. The identification of the chemical constituents was conducted by high pressure liquid chromatographic (HPLC) and gas chromatographic (GC) techniques. The following were concluded: flavonoids from the herb and lignans from the root showed strong free radical quenching activity, while the volatile oil obtained from the herb was less effective. The identification of the constituents of the extracts indicated that apiin is the main flavonoid, deoxypodophyllotoxin the major lignan, and methylcavicol the predominant constituent of the essential oil.
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