College of Arts and Sciences Poster Presentations


Antioxidant Properties of Sagebrush: Could the "Weed" of North America Contain the Cure for Cancer?

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Jennifer Forbey


Artemisia species around the world are known to have chemical compounds with anticancer properties. However, Artemisia tridentata, referred to as sagebrush and one of the most common shrubs in Western North America, has yet to be thoroughly evaluated for its potential to add to the chemical arsenal of anticancer agents. The aim of this study was to determine the antioxidant properties of sagebrush extracts and several individual chemicals found in sagebrush to evaluate their potential to be anticancer compounds. The TEAC (Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity) assay, a standard colorimetric assay, was used to evaluate the antioxidant capacity of sagebrush extracts and several concentrations of four chemicals found in sagebrush: Quercetin, Kaempferol, Flavone, and 7-hydroxycoumarin. The individual chemicals were diluted to concentrations ranging from 1.0-50.0 µM using 70% Ethanol. Sagebrush extracts and individual compounds were compared with one another to determine their relative antioxidant capacities. Results showed a linear relationship between the concentration of individual compounds and antioxidant capacity. Quercetin had the highest antioxidant activity followed by Kaempferol, then Flavone and 7-hydroxycoumarin. The sagebrush samples showed similar antioxidant capacity as 50µM Kaempferol. Results indicate that certain chemicals show stronger antioxidant capacity than others and that sagebrush has potential to be a source of anticancer compounds. Patterns of variation in the concentration of the most potent chemicals in sagebrush could be used to predict geographical locations or individual shrubs with the highest concentration of chemicals with antioxidant capacity.

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