Drying the leaves ofincreases their content of anticancer nutraceuticals.
Food Sci Nutr. 2019 Apr ;7(4):1494-1501. Epub 2019 Mar 18. PMID: 31024723
A regular intake of plant-derived bioactive agents has gained popularity because of the health benefits. Fresh leafy greens, however, normally have a low concentration of such bioactive agents. In this study, we found that drying markedly affected the accumulation of secondary metabolites and that dried leaves ofL. (perilla) contained more anticancer flavonoids than fresh leaves. Drying is a major method of food preparation, particularly for plant-based foods, but the quality of the bioactive agents contained in the fresh and dried leaves of perilla has received only scant attention. Quantitative analysis of the concentrations of perillaldehyde, rosmarinic acid, apigenin, luteolin, 4-hydroxyphenyllactic acid, and 4-coumaric acid, some of which are known as nutraceuticals, revealed that the effect of drying significantly increased apigenin (28-fold) and luteolin (86-fold), but decreased rosmarinic acid in all leaf stages. We examined the positive effect on flavonoid levels on perilla leaves and confirmed that, by comparison with fresh perilla leaves, the dried leaves contained greater concentrations of anticancer flavonoids regardless of variety, form, or manner of cultivation. This indicates that drying can significantly increase the level of flavonoids in perilla leaves without a loss of flavor. Therefore, drying is a simple and effective method to improve the concentrations of bioactive agents, which increases the intake of beneficial substances derived from herbs and edible plants. This finding serves as a method for the supply of raw plant materials rich in bioactive agents that are suitable for labeling as edible nutraceuticals.