Objective: Herbs are an integral component of the Cretan dietary culture, which has been linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease. The health promoting effects of many herbs have been attributed to the presence of antioxidants. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the antioxidant activity of five herbs, native to Crete: Matricaria recutita, Salvia fruticosa, Origanum majorana, Origanum dictamnus, Sideritis syriaca, and four of their most commonly consumed binary combinations.
Methods: Total phenolic contents were measured by the Folin-Ciocalteu method. Antioxidant capacity of the herbal extracts was evaluated using DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power) methods.
Results: The herbal combinations exerted high free radical scavenging activity and reducing power. The results of this study are indicative of synergistic antioxidant interactions between the respective herbs and underline the need for further research on the antioxidant potential of Cretan herbal combinations.
Conclusions: Combinations of the Cretan herbs sage with dittany, mountain tea, chamomile, or marjoram may synergistically enhance total antioxidant potential, and therefore may yield more positive health effects.