The roots/rhizomes of Cimicifuga racemosa L. (Nutt.) (black cohosh) have traditionally been used to treat menopausal symptoms through an unknown mechanism of action. In an effort to determine if black cohosh had additional health benefits, methanol extracts were investigated for their potential to scavenge reactive oxygen species and to protect against menadione-induced DNA damage. These extracts effectively scavenged 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radicals. In addition, the extracts showed dose-dependent decreases in DNA single-strand breaks and oxidized bases induced by the quinone menadione using the comet (single-cell gel electrophoresis assay) and fragment length associated repair enzyme assays, respectively. Bioassay-directed fractionation of the methanolic extracts using the DPPH assay as a monitor led to the isolation of nine antioxidant active compounds: caffeic acid (1), methyl caffeate (2), ferulic acid (3), isoferulic acid (4), fukinolic acid (5), cimicifugic acid A (6), cimicifugic acid B (7), cimicifugic acid F (8), cimiracemate A (9), and cimiracemate B (10). Six of these antioxidants were found to reduce menadione-induced DNA damage in cultured S30 breast cancer cells with the following order of potency: methyl caffeate (2) > caffeic acid (1) > ferulic acid (3) > cimiracemate A (9) > cimiracemate B (10) > fukinolic acid (5). These data suggest that black cohosh can protect against cellular DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species by acting as antioxidants.
- Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh, Actaea racemosa)
- Reactive oxygen species
- Single-cell gel electrophoresis assay (comet assay)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)