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TOTAL ANTIOXIDANT CAPACITY OF ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF HIPPOCRETEA WELWITSCHII OLIV

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TOTAL ANTIOXIDANT CAPACITY OF ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF HIPPOCRETEA WELWITSCHII OLIV

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Oxidative stress is a biological condition characterized by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the ability of the body's antioxidant defense systems to neutralize them. ROS, including free radicals, can cause damage to cellular structures such as lipids, proteins, and DNA, leading to various diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and aging-related conditions. To counteract the harmful effects of oxidative stress, the human body relies on endogenous antioxidant mechanisms and can also benefit from exogenous antioxidants obtained from dietary sources or medicinal plants.

Medicinal plants have long been recognized as valuable sources of natural antioxidants, and their utilization in traditional medicine is based on their potential to alleviate oxidative stress-related disorders. Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv., a plant native to certain regions, has gained attention for its reported medicinal properties, including antioxidant activity. The ethanolic extract of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. has been used traditionally for various therapeutic purposes, and there is a growing interest in understanding its total antioxidant capacity (TAC) to further explore its potential applications in healthcare.

The TAC of a substance refers to its ability to scavenge free radicals, inhibit lipid peroxidation, and protect against oxidative damage. It serves as an important parameter in evaluating the antioxidant potential of natural products, including plant extracts. Numerous methods have been developed to assess TAC, each focusing on specific aspects of antioxidant activity. Two commonly used methods are the ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay and the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay.

The FRAP assay is based on the reduction of a ferric tripyridyltriazine (Fe^3+-TPTZ) complex to the ferrous form (Fe^2+) in the presence of antioxidants. The change in color from blue to intense blue indicates the reduction capacity of the tested compound. On the other hand, the DPPH assay measures the ability of antioxidants to scavenge the stable DPPH radical, resulting in a color change from purple to yellow. Both assays provide valuable information regarding the electron-donating and radical scavenging capacities of antioxidants.

In the case of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv., limited scientific studies have focused on determining its TAC. Therefore, the present study aims to evaluate the TAC of the ethanolic extract of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. using the FRAP and DPPH assays. Understanding the antioxidant potential of this plant extract can contribute to its potential therapeutic applications in preventing or managing oxidative stress-related diseases.

The choice of using the ethanolic extract of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. in this study is based on the fact that ethanol is a widely used solvent for extracting bioactive compounds from medicinal plants. Ethanol extracts have demonstrated efficacy in extracting various classes of secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds, flavonoids, alkaloids, and terpenoids, which are often associated with antioxidant properties. These phytochemicals are known to scavenge free radicals, chelate metal ions, inhibit lipid peroxidation, and modulate antioxidant enzyme activity.

Previous research on Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. has reported its potential antioxidant properties, but there is a need for more comprehensive studies to determine its TAC. By employing the FRAP and DPPH assays, we can assess the electron-donating and radical scavenging capacities of the ethanolic extract. This evaluation will provide valuable insights into the antioxidant potential of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. and contribute to the understanding of its therapeutic value.

Moreover, investigating the TAC of the ethanolic extract of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. can help identify the specific bioactive compounds responsible for its antioxidant activity. Phytochemical analysis of the extract can reveal the presence of various antioxidant compounds, such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, tannins, and alkaloids. These compounds have been widely studied for their ability to scavenge free radicals, inhibit oxidative damage, and modulate cellular signaling pathways involved in antioxidant defense.

The antioxidant potential of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. extract may also be influenced by its geographic origin, environmental conditions, and extraction techniques. Variations in these factors can lead to differences in the composition and concentration of bioactive compounds, ultimately affecting the overall antioxidant capacity of the extract. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the TAC of the specific ethanolic extract of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. used in this study.

Understanding the TAC of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. extract is not only important from a scientific perspective but also holds significance for potential applications in healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Antioxidants play a vital role in maintaining cellular health, protecting against oxidative stress, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Incorporating natural antioxidants into therapeutic interventions or dietary supplements can provide a safer alternative to synthetic antioxidants and potentially offer additional health benefits.

Furthermore, the assessment of TAC can aid in the standardization and quality control of Hippocreatea welwitschii Oliv. extract-based products. It ensures that 

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