Chemical and bioactive characterization of the aromatic plant Levisticum officinale W.D.J. Koch: a comprehensive study uri icon


  • Aromatic plants have been used since antiquity as seasoning ingredients to impart unique flavours to foods, and also as folk medicines, and are currently used as a source of several compounds of interest for different industries. Lovage (Levisticum officinale W.J.D. Koch) is an aromatic plant from the Apiaceae family with a strong flavour that has long been used in culinary products, in traditional medicine and by the food industry. Despite its significance and relevance, apart from its composition in volatile compounds, there is a scarcity of information about this plant species. To the best of our knowledge, this study documents for the first time the nutritional value and composition in fatty acids, organic acids and tocopherols of the edible aerial part of lovage, evidencing a low caloric value, a predominance of polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly α-linolenic acid, oxalic acid as the most abundant organic acid and α-tocopherol as the most abundant vitamin E isoform. The essential oil was mainly characterised by the presence of monoterpenes, showing also a high abundance of phthalides. In addition, a total of 7 phenolic compounds were identified in the decoction and hydroethanolic extracts, which showed interesting antioxidant properties and bacteriostatic activity, particularly against Gram-positive bacteria. Only the decoction showed cytotoxicity against a tumoral cell line (HepG2).
  • The authors are grateful to the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) and FEDER under Programme PT2020 for financial support to CIMO (UID/AGR/00690/2019). A. Fernandes, L. Barros and R. C. Calhelha contracts were provided by National funding by FCT, P. I., through the institutional scientific employment program-contract and C. Pereira contract through the celebration of program-contract foreseen in No. 4, 5 and 6 of article 23° of Decree-Law No. 57/ 2016, of 29th August, amended by Law No. 57/2017, of 19th July. This work was also funded by the FEDER-Interreg España-Portugal programme through the project 0377_Iberphenol_6_E.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020