Understanding of the efficacy and mechanism for the reaction of the biologically important radicals with natural and/or synthetic antioxidants is the first step towards the development of future therapeutic agents. The kinetic parameters e.g., formation and decay rate constants predict the efficacy of an antioxidant and its fate after reaction. These parameters also dictate the ease with which competing reactions would occur in a bio-environment. The spectroscopic parameters provide the clue to the site of free radical attack to these antioxidants. Here, in this article an attempt has been made to show the use of physico-chemical methods in the evaluation of antioxidant activity of some important medicinal plants commonly used in India and the subcontinent. The systems chosen here for discussions are herbal extracts as such, curcumin from turmeric, methoxy phenols from Indian spices, dehydrogingerdione from ginger and bakuchiol from Psoralea corylifolia. All the examples shown in this article illustrate the potential of the pulse radiolysis coupled with kinetic spectroscopy and other physicochemical techniques for the study of antioxidants either in the form of mixture as in herbal extract or as an isolated compound.
2007 by The Editorial Secretariat of JCBN