Home    Subscribe    Write for Us    FAQ    Contact    HubGarden    Login

Active constituents of herbs

by Mihaela Schwartz (follow)
Nutrition (244)      Plant Medicine (19)      Herbal Medicine (19)     
Botanicals now represent an important source of raw materials for the food industry, as well as for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical ones because of their nutritive, aromatic and therapeutic properties. Although many medical systems have been based on the use of plants, scientists are still involved in research that aims to discover new active constituents of herbs. However, a few classification charts have already been issued and they take as criteria either the phytopharmaceutic elements or their medical effect.

@Shutterstock


There are several categories of active constituents, among which the most important are:

@Shutterstock


Alkaloids

Alkaloids are nitrogen based substances that can be found in coffee (caffeine) and cocoa (theobromine) beans, tea (theophylline), opium poppy (morphine) or nightshade (nicotine). They have a wide range of therapeutic effects such as analgesic, sedative and stimulating. For instance, because of its emollient, sedative and antitussive properties, the poppy is a soothing remedy for coughs and sore throats, case in which it comes in the form of lozenges, but poppy syrup is also sold in drug stores. However, herbs containing alkaloids as active constituents can have also a psychotropic, narcotic and hallucinogenic effect. This is why the cultivation of some alkaloid containing plants is legally regulated in many countries.

@Shutterstock


Flavonoids

Flavonoids are to be found especially abundant in fruit: apple (quercetin), citrus species (rutin), grapes (epicatechin), berries (anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins), and walnuts (myricetin). Another flavonoid source is represented by green vegetables (hesperidin) and onion (kaempferol). This family of active constituents of herbs has a high hypoallergenic effect and is also known to have beneficial influence upon tumors, inhibiting their growth. Their antioxidant activity is useful with hearth conditions and cholesterol.

@Shutterstock


Poliphenols

Poliphenols have a stimulating effect upon the immune system. They can be extracted from fruit like strawberries, apricots and cherries (coumarin), apples, peanuts, oranges and pineapples (ferulic acid), but also from other types of plants such as manuka flower (scopoletin), coneflower (chicoric acid), lavender and cinnamon (coumarin). They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can have a lowering effect upon blood pressure. Coumarin administration is forbidden in combination with anti-coagulants as it stimulates the blood flow through the veins and reduces capillary permeability. Scopoletin also has hormonal indication, stimulating the release of serotonin, able to reduce anxiety levels.

@Shutterstock


Anthraquinones and saponins

Anthraquinones and saponins are glycosides. The active constituent that can be extracted from plants like Indian aster, Japanese knotweed, senna and aloe (emodin) belong to the first category and has proved to be helpful in diabetes type 2 treatment. The same phyto-element, when extracted from rhubarb, is used to slow the evolution of pancreatic cancer. It is also known for its laxative and stomach soothing effect. Saponins are available in most vegetables and help with cholesterol absorption. This, combined with their antioxidant activity improves the state of the circulatory system and reduces the risk for heart diseases.

Categories
#Nutrition
#Plant Medicine
#Herbal Medicine
I like this Article - 1
[ print friendly ]
More Articles by Mihaela Schwartz
Herbs for culinary and medical purposes have been used for centuries, and the specifics greatly depe...
9 likes
Plants have been used for thousands of years by virtually every culture for medicinal purposes
2 likes
A simple gesture through which people transmit emotions, feelings or moods, the smile succeeds in sa...
11 likes
Reiki is a spiritual practice and a form of alternative medicine
7 likes
An aromatic evergreen plant of Mediterranean origin, rosemary is widely used as a herb, as well as f...
20 likes
A healthy diet and eating habits are commonly phrases heard today, and for good reason - the qua...
9 likes
view all articles by Mihaela Schwartz
Articles by Mihaela Schwartz on Other Hubs
The fashion runways presented their recommendations for fall-winter season of 2014-2015 a while back...
4 likes
Fashion trends change by the season and we are always tempted to buy more clothes to remain trendy
1 like
My Google Plus Profile
ID: 21176
[ Submit a Comment ]
Trending Articles
With their deliciously subtle, **creamy** and buttery flavour, the versatile **pine nut** is often o...
9 likes
You've polished off the last of the **peanut butter/coconut oil/strawberry jam**, and are about to s...
7 likes
In the ancient Eastern practice of **Ayurveda**, people are defined by their unique blend of the **t...
7 likes
You spend about a third of your life asleep
6 likes
Easy, healthy and budget friendly almond yoghurt can be made at home
5 likes
Lemon, honey and cardamom have been used as natural remedies for colds for centuries
5 likes
When it comes to food I think I eat a fairly healthy diet, and that I get enough nutrients from the ...
5 likes
There are many foods that are enriched with Omega3 fatty acids but the healthy foods which contain b...
5 likes
It seems there's a fine line between ADHD and immaturity, as there is growing evidence of significan...
5 likes
We are all busy
5 likes
Categories
Nutrition (244)
Vegan (120)
How To (61)
Lists (59)
Hygiene (35)
Yoga (29)
Featured on Other Hubs
 
Copyright 2012-2017 On Topic Media PTY LTD. ABN 18113479226. mobile version