Physicochemical Properties and Bioactivities of Six Alpinia Species in Sri Lanka
Plants comprising bioactive substances with therapeutic value have progressively become the object of research studies. Many species of the genus Alpinia provide a variety of medicinal properties. This study was undertaken to study the biological activities and physicochemical properties of rhizomes and leaves of six Alpinia species available in Sri Lanka namely, Alpinia malaccensis, Alpinia calcarata, Alpinia galanga, Alpinia nigra, Alpinia calcarata Wild and Alpinia purpurata. Physicochemical parameters will be helpful in standardization for quality, purity and authentication of these medicinal plants. Methanol extracts from rhizomes and leaves were screened for total polyphenol content (TPC), antioxidant activity and α-amylase inhibition activities. Extracted powders were analysed for physicochemical constants such as loss on drying, total ash, acid -insoluble ash and water-soluble ash contents. The TPC of dried leaves of Alpinia calcarata Wild was the highest of all tested as 2.186±0.027 g of GA equivalents per 1 g of dried rhizome. The Methanol extracts of the rhizome and leaf samples of six species showed reasonable antioxidant activity in the DPPH radical scavenging assay. Interestingly the rhizome extracts of Alpinia nigra and Alpinia purpurata exhibited higher α-amylase inhibitory activities (29.417±0.507 and 29.676 ± 0.107 µg/mL respectively) compared with the Acarbose, which is an anti-diabetic drug (28.273 ± 0.615 µg/mL). The results revealed that the Sri Lankan Alpinia species have a potency to be used as a source of antioxidant and anti-diabetic agents and it is important to increase the value of the unexplored medicinal herbs available in Sri Lanka.
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