The objective of the paper was to investigate the chemical composition of Inula helenium roots extracts and to evaluate the antioxidant potential conferred by the chemical constituents. GC/MS and HPLC/MS techniques were used to characterize two extracts separated from Inula helenium roots by extraction with chloroform and ethyl acetate, respectively. Volatile compounds have been identified by GC from their mass spectra and retention time values, while HPLC identification of phenolic compounds was realized by comparing their retention times, UV and MS spectra with those of standards or literature data. Measurements of antioxidant activity of Inula helenium root extracts showed a variation between them, which can be correlated with the flavonoid and total phenolic contents. Both Inula helenium root extracts contain phenolic acids (caffeic, chlorogenic, dicaffeoyl quinic, hydroxibenzoic), terpenes (alantolactone) and different flavonoids (epicatechin, catechin gallate, ferulic acid-4-O-glucoside, dihydroquercetin pentosyl rutinoside, kaempherol-7-O-dipentoside, quercetin-3-O-β-glucopyranoside). In addition, the study provides preliminary data on the anti-inflammatory activity of Inula helenium root extracts, this being evaluated using the fresh egg albumin as phlogistic agent, and aspirin as reference compound. Root extracts of I. helenium did not exert any significant anti-inflammatory effect on egg albumin-induced rat paw edema. <alternatives> [...] </alternatives>
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