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Desmostachya bipinnata Stapf (Poaceae), a Sacrificial Grass is an important constituent of ayurvedic preparations of Tripanchamool, Kusablecha, and Kusadya-ghrita. The objective of the study was to evaluate the antioxidant and anticancer activities of Desmostachya bipinnata root extracts. The antioxidant activities of different concentrations of 70% methanolic extract of the roots of Desmostachya bipinnata were examined for different reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging activities including DPPH, nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical scavenging activities. The in-vitro cytotoxic study was performed on the human cervical cancer cell lines (HeLa), human laryngeal epithelial carcinoma cells (HEp-2) and NIH 3T3 using 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide [MTT]. The extract has shown effective antioxidant activity in all assay techniques. Further Desmostachya bipinnata was found to be most potent scavenger of hydrogen peroxide with IC50 value 127.07± 6.44 µg/ml (R2 0.982) against standard ascorbic acid 122.60± 2.14 µg/ml (R2 0.984) respectively. The present investigation revealed that the methanolic extract of Desmostachya bipinnata possess significant in vitro anti-cancer activity at 400 μg/ml and showed inhibition in concentration dependant manner of range between 25 – 400 µg/ml on all the cell lines. The results obtained in the present study indicate that the roots of Desmostachya bipinnata are a potential source of natural antioxidants. The study indicated that Desmostachya bipinnata was more active against cervical cell lines.
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