Monographic Quality Parameters and Genotoxicity Assessment of Asphodelus bento-rainhae and Asphodelus macrocarpus Root Tubers as Herbal Medicines

Maryam Malmir, Rita Serrano, Katelene Lima, Maria Paula Duarte, Isabel Moreira da Silva, Beatriz Silva Lima, Manuela Caniça, Olga Silva

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Root tubers of Asphodelus bento-rainhae subsp. bento-rainhae (AbR), an endemic species with relevant interest due to conservation concerns, and Asphodelus macrocarpus subsp. macrocarpus (AmR) have been traditionally used for culinary and medicinal purposes, mainly associated with skin infection and inflammation. The present study aims to establish the quality control criteria for the proper characterization of dried root tubers of both species as herbal substances, together with their preclinical safety assessments. Botanical identification using macroscopic and microscopic techniques and phytochemical evaluation/quantification of the main classes of marker secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds (flavonoid, anthraquinone, condensed and hydrolysable tannin) and terpenoids were performed. Additionally, in vitro genotoxicity/mutagenicity was evaluated by Ames test. Evident morphological differences in the development of tubercles (3.5 × 1 cm in AbR and 8.7 × 1.4 cm in AmR) and microscopicly in the arrangements and characteristics of the vascular cylinder (metaxylem and protoxylems) were found. Anatomical similarities such as multiple-layered epidermis (velamen) and the cortex area with thin-walled idioblasts (134 ± 2.9 µm and 150 ± 27.6 µm) containing raphide crystals (37.2 ± 14.2 µm and 87.7 ± 15.3 µm) were observed between AbR and AmR, respectively. Terpenoids (173.88 ± 29.82 and 180.55 ± 10.57 mg OAE/g dried weight) and condensed tannins (128.64 ± 14.05 and 108.35 ± 20.37 mg CAE/g dried weight) were found to be the main class of marker secondary metabolites of AbR and AmR extracts, respectively. No genotoxicity (up to 5 mg/plate, without metabolic activation) was detected in these medicinal plants’ tested extracts. The obtained results will contribute to the knowledge of the value of the Portuguese flora and their future commercial cultivation utilization as raw materials for industrial and pharmaceutical use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3173
Number of pages16
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2022


  • Asphodelus bento-rainhae
  • Asphodelus macrocarpus
  • herbal medicines
  • quality control
  • root tubers


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