Lippia javanica and Lippia scaberrima are used as herbal remedies and are commercially traded as health teas in southern Africa under the
brands “Mosukujane” and “Musukudu”, respectively. This study evaluates the relationship between the presence of phenolic compounds and the
antioxidant activities of infusions prepared from four Lippia species (L. javanica, L. scaberrima, L. rehmannii and L. wilmsii) indigenous to South
Africa. The antioxidant activities of the infusions, determined by the 2,2-diphenylpycrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method, were also compared to those of
popular black, green and herbal tea brands. Of the four indigenous species, infusions of L. javanica and L. wilmsii exhibited the highest
antioxidant activities (EC50: 358 and 525 μg/ml, respectively) and contained the most phenolic compounds (14.8 and 14.5 mg/ml of dry weight
gallic acid equivalent, respectively). Antibacterial activities of methanolic extracts of the four Lippia species were determined against four human
pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The extract of L. javanica was the
most active against all the pathogens tested. Those Lippia species (L. javanica and L. wilmsii) previously reported to produce higher levels of the
pharmacologically active phenylethanoid glycosides verbascoside and isoverbascoside, portrayed stronger antioxidant and antibacterial activities.
This study gives credence to the use of infusions of these Lippia species for their general health benefits.