Natural compounds are an important source of desired biological activity which help to improve nutritional status, enhance productivity and bring many health benefits. The leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis (Aquifoliaceae) are used for preparing a beverage known as yerba mate and represent a proven source of natural polyphenols which are known to foster biological activity with the emphasis on antioxidant properties. In present work we focused on the polyphenolic content of air-dried leaves of Ilex aquifolium L., Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Mariginata’, Ilex meserveae ‘Blue Angel’, and a commercially available mate as the reference product. Liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (HPLC and LC-MS) and thin layer chromatography (TLC), were used to establish polyphenolic substances content in aqueous methanolic extracts obtained from the biological matter. Up to 20 polyphenolic compounds were identified in the extracts, including rutin, quinic acid and its caffeoyl esters, i.e. chlorogenic acid and its isomers as well as dicaffeoyl derivatives. We took chlorogenic acid and rutin as reference compounds to quantify their levels in the extracts. It was determined that in all tested plants, high levels of these antioxidants were present. This led us to the conclusion that their leaves might serve as valuable food additives.
 Pasquali T.R., Macedo S.M.D., Roman S.S., Dal Prá V., Cansian R.L., et al., Acute toxicity and anti inflammatory effects of supercritical extracts of Ilex paraguariensis, Afr. J. Pharm. Pharmacol., 2011, 5, 1162-1169.
 Cansian R.L., Mossi A.J., Mazutti M.A., Oliveira J.V., Paroul N., Dariva C., et al., Semi-volatile compounds variation among Brazilian populations of Ilex paraguariensis St Hill.), Braz. Arch. Biol. Technol., 2008, 51, 175-181.
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