This study aims to identify the essential antioxidant compounds present in parsley (Petroselinum sativum) and celery (Apium graveolens) leaves belonging to the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) family, and in stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) belonging to Urticaceae family, to measure the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of these compounds with CUPRAC (cupric ion reducing antioxidant capacity) and ARTS spectrophotometric methods, and to correlate the TAC with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) findings. The CUPRAC spectrophotometric method of TAC assay using copper(II)-neocuproine (2,9-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline) as the chromogenicoxidant was developed in our laboratories. The individual antioxidant constituents of plant extracts were identified and quantified by HPLC on a C18 column using a modified mobile phase of gradient elution comprised of MeOH-0.2% o-phosphoric acid and UV detection for polyphenols at 280 nm. The TAC values of HPLC-quantified antioxidant constituents were found, and compared for the first time with those found by CUPRAC. The TAC of HPLC-quantified compounds accounted for a relatively high percentage of the observed CUPRAC capacities of plant extracts, namely 81% of nettle, 60-77% of parsley (in different hydrolyzates of extract and solid sample), and 41-57% of celery leaves (in different hydrolyzates). The CUPRAC total capacities of the 70% MeOH extracts of studied plants (in the units of mmol trolox g(-1) plant) were in the order: celery leaves > nettle > parsley. The TAC calculated with the aid of HPLC-spectrophotometry did not compensate for 100% of the CUPRAC total capacities, because all flavonoid glycosides subjected to hydrolysis were either not detectable with HPLC, or not converted to the corresponding aglycons (i.e., easily detectable and quantifiable with HPLC) during the hydrolysis step. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.