Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology

Urinary metabolites of flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in humans after application of a crude extract from Equisetum arvense.

PMID 10589442


Flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids are polyphenolic compounds present in our daily diet in form of tea and vegetables as well as in herbal remedies used in phytomedicine. A wide range of in-vitro activities, in particular their antioxidant properties, have been studied intensively. However, in-vivo-data on absorption, bioavailability and metabolism after oral intake are scarce and contradictory. In order to examine the metabolism and renal excretion of these compounds a standardized extract from horsetail (Equisetum arvense) was administered to 11 volunteers following a flavonoid-free diet for 8 d. 24 h urine samples were collected and analyzed by HPLC-DAD. The putative quercetin metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid or 3,4-dihydroxytoluene could not be detected in urine in any sample. The endogenous amount of homovanillic acid, generally regarded as one of the main quercetin metabolites, was 4 +/- 1 mg/d and did not increase significantly. However, hippuric acid, the glycine conjugate of benzoic acid, increased twofold after drug intake. Thus, the degradation to benzoic acid derivatives rather than phenylacetic acid derivatives seems to be a predominant route of metabolism. The results of this pilot study give rise to additional, substantial pharmacokinetic investigations in humans.

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