During the present study, two cytotypes of Physalis angulata (2x, 4x) highly
medicinal plant are compared for its phytochemical composition. Solanum xanthocarpum is compared on
part/population basis as it also holds medicinal value and is used by local
people. Phytochemical analysis of another medicinal plants Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Lycium
edgeworthii, Blainvillia acmela
and Stevia rebaudiana are also tested
for their phenol and flavonoid content. The analysis is made using HPLC and
HPTLC.

Phenols and flavonoids are the most important group
of secondary metabolites and bioactive compounds in plants, and good source of
natural antioxidants in human diet. Phenols are aromatic secondary plant
metabolites broadly distributed throughout the plant kingdom. These play a
significant role in plant and human health. These are important polyphenols
that occur naturally in daily consumed food. Most important activity of
flavonoids is to act as antioxidant to protect human body from free radicals.
They also possess antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Due
to its remarkable antioxidant properties, these are widely employed in
pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry and also have many biological activities. Plant
herbs consumed by humans contain different phenols and flavonoids.

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Epidemiological studies show that
consumption of fruits and vegetable have inverse effect on cardiovascular
diseases and certain forms of cancers (Bazzano et al. 2002). Even though the
study shows more protective effect of well-known antioxidants, vitamins
(Vitamin E, C ?-carotene) plant phenolics may also play significant role. In
natural form polyphenols range from simple molecules (phenolic acids,
flavonoids & phenylpropanoids, etc.) to highly polymerized compounds
(lignins, tannins & melanins, etc.) (Bravo 1998). Polyphenoles are reported
to exhibit many biological effects like antiviral, anti-allergic,
antibacterial, hepato-protective and anti-carcinogenic (Middleton 2000).

Phenolic compounds are plant secondary
metabolites and currently about 8000 phenolic structures are known. The dietary
intake of phenolic compounds depends upon different geographic regions, but its
estimated intake ranges from 20 mg to 1 g, which makes it higher than vitamin E
content (Hollman & Katan 1998). Phenols are widely distributed in plant
kingdom with significant amount reported in fruits, vegetables and beverages
and are therefore a part of regular diet (Bahorun et al. 2004; Luximon-Ramma et
al. 2005).

Flavonoids are group of polyphenolics
and are widely distributed throughout the plant kingdom. About 3000 varieties
of flavonoids are known till date (Bazzano et al. 2002). Despite similarities
among different flavonoid structures, minor structural modifications cause
significant variation in their biological properties with number and specific
positions of hydroxyl groups determining the type and intensity of their
activity. Apigenin is flavonoid found in medicinal plants, and acts as a source
of pharmacological activities. Some of the other flavonoids studied are kaempferol,
quercetin and rutin. These all possess antioxidant properties and show health
benefits through cell signaling pathway (Nazni & Dharmaligam 2014). 

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