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Optimization of extraction of drugs containing polyphenols using an innovative technique


*Corresponding author
Unit of Pharmaceutical Biology, Department of Environmental, Earth and Physical Sciences, University of Siena,
Via Laterina, 8, 53100 Siena, Italy


The role of polyphenols in human health nowadays is well established and these natural products, found in many plant species, are the active ingredients of drugs, food supplements and cosmetics. Extraction procedure is pivotal to obtain high quality herbal products but paradoxically this factor is often underrated and obsolete techniques are used. In this work we compared the classic and most used method of maceration and an innovative and standardized technique of extraction, Estrattore Naviglio®, processing ten common medicinal plants containing polyphenols and for each analysing specific biological markers such as flavonoids, anthocyanosides and caffeic derivatives in addition to total polyphenols content. Estrattore Naviglio® guaranteed a significant improvement of the chemical quality of extracts combining effectiveness with rapidity and reproducibility. In this work we further investigated the optimization of drug extractions by replicating operations varying parameters setting on Estrattore Naviglio® instrument.


Polyphenols are a large class of active principles of many medicinal plants, chemically defined with a common moiety of an aromatic ring with one or more hydroxyl substituents (1). Polyphenols are secondary metabolites biogenetically originated from the shikimic acid pathway; they are divided in different classes and the most important, in phytotherapy, is that of the flavonoids which are divided in turn in sub-classes of molecules chemically distinct like, for example flavones, flavanones, catechins and anthocyanins (2). Polyphenols, to date, represent the most studied class of natural compounds and their role in human health is well established. Recent reviews highlight the correlation between the consumption of polyphenols through diet and maintaining of cognitive function (3), cardiovascular risk reduction (4) and gastrointestinal health (5). Many recent clinical findings also underline that polyphenols protect against neurodegenerative disorders (6) and an inverse correlation between intake of diet polyphenols and onset of cancer was demonstrated (7). The mechanism of action of polyphenol in vivo vary depending on biological target: for ...

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