Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis) Extract Inhibits Xanthine Oxidase


1 Department of Biology, Golestan University, ShahidBeheshti Ave., Gorgan, Iran

2 Department of Statistics, Golestan University, ShahidBeheshti Ave., Gorgan, Iran


Xanthine oxidase plays crucial roles in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and uric acid in blood which may lead to gout, one of the oldest known forms of arthritis amongst humans. Summer savory (Satureja hortensis L.) a medicinal/spice exhibits antioxidant activity, but unknown effects on xanthine oxidase activity. Here, for the first time, we examined the effects of S. hortensis extracts on alleviation of oxidative stress and in vitro xanthine oxidase activity. Total phenolic compounds, soluble sugar, carotenoid contents of methanolic extracts of roots, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds as well as their antioxidant activity and potential inhibitory effects on xanthine oxidase were analyzed. Leaves, flowers and fruits of the plant exhibited the highest amounts of phenolic contents. The flavonoid content was highest in the leaves of the vegetative stage and decreased when the plant entered the reproductive stage. In contrast, the anthocyanin and sugar contents as well as the antioxidant capacity were in their highest amounts when the plant entered the reproductive stage. Remarkably, the leaves of the flowering stage displayed significant inhibitory effects on xanthine oxidase activity, which may propose a novel potential role for S. hortensis leaves in effective treatment of gout.


1. Grayson PC, Kim SY, LaValley M, Choi HK. Hyperuricemia and incident hypertension, a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011;63:102-110.

2. Mount DB. The kidney in hyperuricemia and gout. Curr. Opin. Nephrol. Hypertens. 2013;22:216-223.

3. Rundes RW, Wyngaarden JB. Drugs and uric acid. Ann.  Rev. Pharmacol. 1969;9:345-369.

4. Collin AR. Oxidative DNA damage, antioxidants and cancer. Bio-Essays. 1999;21:238-246.

5. Lu JM, Yao Q, Chen C. 3,4-Dihydroxy-5-nitrobenzaldehyde (DHNB) is a potent inhibitor of xanthine oxidase: a potential therapeutic agent for treatment of hyperuricemia and gout. Biochem.  pharmacol. 2013; 86:1328-1337.

6. Dorman HJD, Hiltunen R. Fe (III) reductive and free radical-scavenging properties of summer savory (Saturejahortensis L.) extract and subfractions. Food chem. 2004;88:193-199.

7. Ozkan G, Simsek B. andKuleasan H. Antioxidant activities of Satureja cilicica essential oil in butter and in vitro. J. Food Engin. 2007;79:1391-1396.

8. Şahin F, Karaman I, Güllüce M, Öğütçü H, Şengül M, Adıgüzel A et al. Evaluation of antimicrobial activities of Satureja hortensis L. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2003;87:61-65.

9. Lin JY, Tang CY. Determination of total phenolic and flavonoid contents in selected fruits and vegetables, as well as their stimulatory effects on mouse splenocyte proliferation. Food Chem. 2007;101:140-147.

10. Chang C, Yang M, Wen H and Chern J. Estimation of total flavonoid content in propolis by two complementary colorimetric methods. J. Food Drug Anal. 2002;10:178-182.

11. Mita S, Murano N, Akaike M, and Nakamura K. Mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana with pleiotropic effects on the expression of the gene for beta-amylase and on the accumulation of anthocyanin that are inducible by sugars. Plant J. 1997;11:841-851.

12. Lichtenthaler HK. Chlorophylls and carotenoids, pigments of photosynthetic membranes. Methods Enzymol. 1987;148:350-382.

13. Kochert A. Carbohydrate determination by phenol-sulfuric acid method, Handbook of physiology and biochemical methods ed., London. Cambridge University Press, 1978.

14. Benzene IFF, Strain JJ. Ferric reducing / antioxidant power assay:direct measure of total antioxidant activity of biological fluids and modified version for simultaneous of total antioxidant power and ascorbic acid concentration.  Methods Enzymol. 1999;299:15-27.

15. Kumazawa S, Taniguchi M, Suzuki Y, Shimura M, Kwon MS, Nakayama T. Antioxidant activity of polyphenols in carob pods. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2002;50:373-7.

16. Noro T, Oda Y, Miyase T, Ueno A, Fukushima S. Inhibitor of xanthine oxidase from flowers and buds of Daphnegenkwa. J. Chem. Pharmaceutic. Bull. 1983;31:3984-3987.

17. Koleva II, van Beek TA, Linssen JP, de Groot A, Evstatieva LN. Screening of plant extracts for antioxidant activity:a comparative study on three testing methods. Phytochem. Anal. 2002;13:8-17.

18. Stahl W, Sies H. Antioxidant activity of carotenoids. Mol. Asp. Med. 2003; 24:345-351.

19. Gould KS, Markham KR, Smith RH, Goris JJ. Functional role of anthocyanins in the leaves of Quintiniaserrata, A. Cunn. J. Exp. Bot. 2000;51:1107-1115.

20. Yen CG, Chen HY. Antioxidant activity of various tea extracts in relation to their antimutagenicity. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1995;43:27-32.