Shedding light on the biological and chemical fingerprints of three Achillea species (A. biebersteinii, A. millefolium and A. teretifolia)
Representatives of the Achillea genus are widely used as foods or nutraceuticals. Considering the increasing demand for herbal dietary supplements with health promoting effects, the objective of this research was to evaluate the biological and chemical profiles of different extracts (ethyl acetate, methanol and water) obtained from three Achillea species (A. biebersteinii, A. millefolium and A. teretifolia). The antioxidant (free radical scavenging (DPPH and ABTS), reducing power (CUPRAC and FRAP), metal chelating and phosphomolybdenum), enzyme inhibitory (anti-cholinesterase, anti-tyrosinase, anti-amylase and anti-glucosidase) and antimicrobial (antibacterial and antifungal) effects were assessed to investigate their biological profiles. Moreover, the total phenolic and flavonoid contents were determined and LC-MS analysis was performed for the chemical profile of the investigated extracts. The LC-MS analysis revealed the presence of several caffeoylquinic acids in these extracts. Generally, the methanol and water extracts exhibited stronger antioxidant abilities, which correlated with the higher levels of phenolic compounds when compared to the ethyl acetate extracts. In addition, the best antimicrobial activities were obtained for the ethyl acetate and methanolic extracts. However, the ethyl acetate extract had remarkable enzyme inhibitory potential. On the basis of our results, Achillea species may be promoted as promising sources of natural agents and used for the development of nutraceuticals or functional food ingredients.