20th May 2011

Bitter Cumin seeds – a proven source of antioxidants protect DNA from damage.

Free Radicals, (Reactive Oxygen Species or ROS), are created during our normal metabolic processes necessary for life. Overproduction or under-removal of these free radicals causes Oxidative Stress which is itself involved in a number of disorders, including, inflammation, cancer, atherosclerosis, neural degenerative disease and ageing. Antioxidants mop up many of these free radicals, reducing oxidative stress, and preventing disease.

Researchers from Mysore, India, have used biochemical and biological techniques to show that seeds from bitter cumin (Centratherum anthelminticum), a member of the daisy family, are a rich source of phenolic antioxidants. “Bitter cumin extracts were strong antioxidants in the free radical scavenging systems tested. The extracts were also strong electron donors and hence reducing agents, another marker of antioxidation. In biological tests bitter cumin inhibited the oxidation of liposomes (used as a model for cell membrane oxidation) and offered protection against DNA damage.” Dr Naidu said, “The amount of plant phenols extracted and the antioxidant activity of bitter cumin depended on the method used. Nevertheless the antioxidant activity of bitter cumin correlated with total phenol content so it may well be that an array of phenolic compounds within bitter cumin seeds are responsible for the antioxidant activity seen.”

“Antioxidant potential of bitter cumin (Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) Kuntze) seeds in in vitro models”
V Ani and Kamatham A Naidu

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