TURKISH JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY, cilt.34, ss.253-259, 2010 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
Helichrysum Mill., belonging to the family Asteraceae, is commonly known as "everlasting'. Helichrysum species have been used as herbal tea for centuries in Turkey against gallbladder disorders because of their bile regulatory and diuretic properties. However, there are few reports in the literature regarding the genotoxic effects of these plants. In the present study, the genotoxic effects induced by aqueous (decoction) and methanol extracts of Helichrysum arenarium (L.) Moench subsp. rubicundum (K.Koch) P.H.Davis & Kupicha, H. arenarium (L.) Moench subsp. aucheri (Boiss.) P.H.Davis & Kupicha, and H. arenarium (L.) Moench subsp. erzincanicum P.H.Davis & Kupicha on human lymphocyte cultures at 0.01, 0.05, 0.1, 0.5, and 1 mg/mL concentrations were evaluated. Three different parameters (micronucleus, mitotic, and replication indexes) were used. H. arenarium subsp. erzincanicum induced the formation of micronuclei and decreased the mitotic and replication indexes as well. H. arenarium subsp. rubicundum and H. arenarium subsp. aucheri did not affect these parameters. Our results clearly indicate that H. arenarium subsp. erzincanicum has genotoxic effects. Therefore, this plant should not be used freely in alternative medicine although its antiproliferative activity may suggest antimitotic and anticarcinogenic properties. H. arenarium subsp. rubicundum and H. arenarium subsp. aucheri, on the other hand, do not have genotoxic effects. Thus, they can be used freely in alternative medicine. Further studies are needed to determine the effects of the main bioactive components isolated from H. arenarium on the micronucleus, mitotic index, and replication index.