Investigating the Therapeutic Potential of Plants and Plant-Based Medicines: Relevance to Antioxidant and Neuroprotective Effects

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Oxidative stress is a common characteristic of psychiatric, neurological, and neurodegenerative disorders. Therefore, compounds that are neuroprotective and reduce oxidative stress may be of interest as novel therapeutics. Phenolic, flavonoid and anthocyanin content, ORAC and DPPH free radical scavenging, and Cu2+ and Fe2+ chelating capacities were examined in variations (fresh/capsule) of Queen Garnet plum (QGP, Prunus salicina), black pepper (Piper nigrum) clove (Syzygium aromaticum), elderberry (Sambucus nigra), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and sage (Salvia officinalis), plus two blends (Astralagus membranaceus—lemon balm-rich, WC and R8). The ability of samples to prevent and treat H2O2-induced oxidative stress in SH-SY5Y cells was investigated. Pre-treatment with WC, elderberry, QGP, and clove prevented the oxidative stress-induced reduction in cell viability, demonstrating a neuroprotective effect. Elderberry increased cell viability following oxidative stress induction, demonstrating treatment effects. Clove had the highest phenolic and flavonoid content, DPPH, and Cu2+ chelating capacities, whereas QGP and elderberry were highest in anthocyanins. Black pepper had the highest ORAC and Fe2+ chelating capacity. These findings demonstrate that plant extracts can prevent and treat oxidative stress-induced apoptosis of neuron-like cells in vitro. Further research into phytochemicals as novel therapeutics for oxidative stress in the brain is needed.

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National Health and Medical Research Council



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