Context: Linum usitatissimum (Linn); known as Flaxseed, is one of the most important medicinal plants traditionally used for health benefits and also as nutritional purposes.
Objective: Estimation of total phenolic and flavonoid contents, as well as evaluation of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities have been performed on hexane, ethyl acetate, n-butanol and methanol extracts and also, on fractions of methonal extract (hexane, ethyl acetate and n-butanol).
Materials and methods: Phenolic and flavonoid contents were detected using spectrophotometric and colorimetric assays. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities were estimated in-vitro. Anticancer activity of extracts was tested on hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (HepG2) and breast cancer cell line (MCF7).
Results: Methanolic extract and its ethyl acetate fraction contain higher contents of total phenols and flavonoids. In addition, methanolic extract had higher antioxidant activity. Butanolic and ethyl acetate fractions at concentration 500µg/ml yielded higher percent of inhibition of protein denaturation; 87.9% and 90%, respectively. Whereas, ethyl acetate fraction and methanolic extract had anticancer activity against HepG2 and MCF7 (IC50=60±0.24 and 29.4±0.12µg.ml-1) and (IC50=94.7±0.21 and 227±0.48µg.ml-1), respectively. In GC-MS analysis, methanolic extract has 32 compounds whereas ethyl acetate and butanol fractions contain 40 and 36 compounds, respectively.
Conclusion: Flaxseed contains totally different biologically active compounds that have been found to possess good variable activities, which can protect human body against several diseases.