Skip to main content

A comprehensive study of polyphenols contents and antioxidant potential of 39 widely used spices and food condiments


Spices and condiments are rich sources of potent antioxidants. In the present investigation, total equivalent antioxidant capacities (TEAC) of 39 spices were studied using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging, 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) scavenging, and cupric reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC) assays. Their total phenolic contents (TPC) and total flavonoid contents (TFC) were also determined. TEAC, TPC, and TFC varied significantly (P < 0.05) among these spices. ABTS, DPPH, and CUPRAC assay values of studied spices ranged from 1.42 to 112.94 mg ascorbic acid equivalents (AAE)/g, 1.14 to 91.09 mg Trolox equivalents (TE)/g, and 0.52 to 54.47 mg TE/g, respectively (dry weight basis; DW). Based on Folin–Ciocalteu assay, TPC ranged from 2.93 to 160.55 mg of gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/g DW. Strong correlations between TPC and TEAC values (R = 0.966, 0.825, and 0.954 for ABTS, DPPH, and CUPRAC, respectively) were found. This indicates that phenolic compounds are potent antioxidants in these spices. Principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that cloves (flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum) had the most distinct and potent antioxidant capacity, followed by allspice (fruits of Pimenta dioica) and cinnamon (bark of Cinnamomum verum). Results of the present study provide adequate evidence that polyphenols are responsible for their compelling antioxidant capacities of studied spices. Thus, consumption of antioxidant-rich spices such as cloves, allspice, and cinnamon can significantly prevent oxidative stress in the human body.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    V. Lobo, A. Patil, A. Phatak, N. Chandra, Pharmacogn. Rev. 4, 118 (2010)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    B. Halliwell, Drugs Aging. 18, 685 (2001)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    B.D. Craft, A.L. Kerrihard, R. Amarowicz, R.B. Pegg, Compr. Rev. Food Sci. Food Saf. 11, 148 (2012)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    F. Shahidi, P. Ambigaipalan, J. Funct. Foods. 18, 820 (2015)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    S.J. Flora, Oxid. Med. Cell. Longev. 2, 191 (2009)

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    U.N. Prakash, K. Srinivasan, J. Sci. Food Agric. 92, 503 (2012)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    H. Lindberg Madsen, G. Bertelsen, Trends Food Sci. Technol. 6, 271 (1995)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    J. Xie, P. VanAlstyne, A. Uhlir, X. Yang, Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 119, (2017)

  9. 9.

    H. Cetin-Karaca, M.C. Newman, Food Biosci. 11, 8 (2015)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    M. Suhaj, J. Food Compos. Anal. 19, 531 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    M. Przygodzka, D. Zielińska, Z. Ciesarová, K. Kukurová, H. Zieliński, LWT - Food Sci. Technol. 58, 321 (2014)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    A. Wojdyło, J. Oszmiański, R. Czemerys, Food Chem. 105, 940 (2007)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    A.L. Waterhouse, Curr. Protoc. Food Anal. Chem. 11.1.1–11.1.8 (2002)

  14. 14.

    C.C. Chang, M.H. Yang, H.M. Wen, J.C. Chern, J. Food Drug Anal. 10, 178 (2002)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    K. Thaipong, U. Boonprakob, K. Crosby, L. Cisneros-Zevallos, D. Hawkins, Byrne, J. Food Compos. Anal. 19, 669 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    A.D. Assefa, R.K. Saini, Y.S. Keum, J. Food Meas. Charact. 11, 364 (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    W. Brand-Williams, M.E. Cuvelier, C. Berset, LWT - Food Sci. Technol. 28, 25 (1995)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    R. Apak, K. Güçlü, M. Ozyürek, S.E. Karademir, J. Agric. Food Chem. 52, 7970 (2004)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    J. Pérez-Jiménez, V. Neveu, F. Vos, A. Scalbert, Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 64, S112 (2010)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    S. Dudonné, X. Vitrac, P. Coutière, M. Woillez, J.-M. Mérillon, J. Agric. Food Chem. 57, 1768 (2009)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    C.-C. Chang, M.-H. Yang, H.-M. Wen, J.-C. Chern, J. Food Drug Anal. 10, (2002)

  22. 22.

    H. Liu, N. Qiu, H. Ding, R. Yao, Food Res. Int. 41, 363 (2008)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    H.J.D. Dorman, M. Koşar, K. Kahlos, Y. Holm, R. Hiltunen, J. Agric. Food Chem. 51, 4563 (2003)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Y. Lu, L. Yeap, Foo, Food Chem. 75, 197 (2001)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    W. Zheng, S.Y. Wang, J. Agric. Food Chem. 49, 5165 (2001)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    U. Justesen, P. Knuthsen, Food Chem. 73, 245 (2001)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    S. Sahin, V. Eulenburg, A. Heinlein, C. Villmann, M. Pischetsrieder, J. Funct. Foods. 37, 641 (2017)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    S.S. Islam, I. Al-Sharif, A. Sultan, A. Al-Mazrou, A. Remmal, A. Aboussekhra, Mol. Carcinog. 57, 333 (2018)

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    S.P. Wong, L.P. Leong, J.H. William Koh, Food Chem. 99, 775 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Z. Jia, M.-J. Dumont, V. Orsat, Food Biosci. 15, 87 (2016)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This paper was supported by KU research professor program of Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ramesh Kumar Saini.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Assefa, A.D., Keum, YS. & Saini, R.K. A comprehensive study of polyphenols contents and antioxidant potential of 39 widely used spices and food condiments. Food Measure 12, 1548–1555 (2018).

Download citation


  • Total phenolic contents
  • Total flavonoid contents
  • DPPH
  • ABTS
  • Principal component analysis