Phenolic compounds from Achillea millefolium L. and their bioactivity.

  • Sara Vitalini Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy.;
  • Giangiacomo Beretta
  • Marcello Iriti
  • Simone Orsenigo
  • Nicoletta Basilico
  • Stefano Dall'Acqua
  • Maria Iorizzi
  • Gelsomina Fico


Since antiquity, Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae) has been used in traditional medicine of several cultures, from Europe to Asia. Its richness in bioactive compounds contributes to a wide range of medicinal properties. In this study, we assessed A. millefolium methanolic extract and its isolated components for free radical scavenging activity against 2,2-diphenyl-pycrilhydrazyl, total antioxidant capacity (based on the reduction of Cu(++) to Cu(+)), and ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation. The activity against chloroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum was also tested. Chlorogenic acid, its derivatives and some flavonoids isolated by semipreparative HPLC and identified by NMR and spectrometric techniques were the major bioactive constituents of the methanolic extract. The latter exhibited significant antioxidant properties, as well as its flavonol glycosides and chlorogenic acids. With regard to the antiplasmodial activity, apigenin 7-glucoside was the most effective compound, followed by luteolin 7-glucoside, whereas chlorogenic acids were completely inactive. On the whole, our results confirmed A. millefolium as an important source of bioactive metabolites, justifying its pharmaceutical and ethnobotanical use.