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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Ficaria verna Huds. extracts and their β-cyclodextrin supramolecular systems

Nicoleta G Hădărugă

Author Affiliations

Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Food Processing Technology, Banat's University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, C. Aradului 119, 300645 Timişoara, Romania

Chemistry Central Journal 2012, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-6-16

Published: 5 March 2012



Obtaining new pharmaceutical materials with enhanced properties by using natural compounds and environment-friendly methods is a continuous goal for scientists. Ficaria verna Huds. is a widespread perennial plant with applications in the treat of haemorrhoids and to cure piles; it has also anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antibiotic properties. The goal of the present study is the obtaining and characterization of new F. verna extract/β-cyclodextrin complexes by using only natural compounds, solvents, and environment-friendly methods in order to increase the quality and acceptability versus toxicity indicator. Thus, the flavonoid content (as quercetin) of Ficaria verna Huds. flowers and leaves from the West side of Romania was determined and correlated with their antioxidant activity. Further, the possibility of obtaining β-cyclodextrin supramolecular systems was studied.


F. verna flowers and leaves extracts were obtained by semi-continuous solid-liquid extraction. The raw concentrated extract was spectrophotometrically analyzed in order to quantify the flavonoids from plant parts and to evaluate the antioxidant activity of these extracts. The F. verna extracts were used for obtaining β-cyclodextrin complexes; these were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and Karl Fischer water titration; spectrophotometry was used in order to quantifying the flavonoids and evaluates the antioxidant activity. A higher concentration of flavonoids of 0.5% was determined in complexes obtained by crystallisation method, while only a half of this value was calculated for kneading method. The antioxidant activity of these complexes was correlated with the flavonoid content and this parameter reveals possible controlled release properties.


The flavonoid content of F. verna Huds. from the West side of Romania (Banat county) is approximately the same in flowers and leaves, being situated at a medium value among other studies. β-Cyclodextrin complexes of F. verna extracts are obtained with lower yields by crystallisation than kneading methods, but the flavonoids (as quercetin) are better encapsulated in the first case most probably due to the possibility to attain the host-guest equilibrium in the slower crystallisation process. F. verna extracts and their β-cyclodextrin complexes have antioxidant activity even at very low concentrations and could be used in proper and valuable pharmaceutical formulations with enhanced bioactivity.

Ficaria verna Huds; β-cyclodextrin; Supramolecular systems; Inclusion compounds; Molecular encapsulation; Micro- and nanoparticles; Flavonoids; Quercetin; Antioxidant activity

Graphical abstract