SECONDARY METABOLITES FROM HERBS: HEALTH BENEFITS

Plant secondary metabolites are known for their several beneficial effects on human health, such as: digestive stimulant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic, and anti-oxidant activities, etc. Therefore, the demand for natural bioactive components in food and consumatic industries have increased dramatically. These can improve the quality of processed foods and drugs by increasing the shelf-life, preserving organoleptic decoration and maintaining nutritional properties. They possess potential for reducing risks of several health hazards [115]. Therefore, plant secondary metabolites have received today more attention in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries [31, 52, 97, 109].

9.4.1 PHARMACEUTICS

In recent years, the majority of people shifted their attention towards herbal drugs and the indigenous system of medicine. Similar to synthetic drugs, several herb drugs as antitussives (codeine), analgesics (morphine), antihypertensives (reserpine), antineoplastics (vinblastine and taxol), cardiotonic (digoxin), anti-malarial (quinine and artemisinin), anticancer, anti-neuro disorders have become popular among the common population [70,96]. Herbal extracts, in particular, essential oils contain many plant metabolites, such as, hydrocarbons (terpenes and sesquiteipenes) and oxygenated compounds (alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, acids, oxides, phenols, ethers, lactones, and esters). Due to the presence of these bioactive compounds, they are found to have inhibitory activities against several Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria. Studies have shown the positive impact of flavonoids, especially their glycosides on human health. Furthermore, antioxidant, antiinflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and anti-diabetes activities of phenolic compounds are well known [118,120]. It has been reported that extracts from different parts of Shatavari plant have a significant role in the treatment of female reproductive problems and diseases, and nervous disorders, dyspepsia, cough bronchitis, tuberculosis, and throat infections, etc., [107].

9.4.2 FOODS AND FOOD PRODUCTS

Plant secondary metabolites are important for food preservation technologies [44, 69, 79, 82]. Apart from preservative roles, plant secondary metabolites can be used as functional foods because they offer physiological benefits with a reduction of chronic diseases along with basic nutritional functions. Many plant metabolites (such as: polyphenols and flavonoids) have important health benefits against chronic health problems, such as, inflammation, cancer, and atherosclerosis [25]. The research study by Manach et al. represents the effectiveness of a plant-based diet for the reduction of risk of chronic diseases [70].

The potential use of plant secondary metabolites in fish farming has been also reported. Currently, due to stricter environmental legislation, we must reduce the use of synthetic antibiotics in aquaculture due to risk of chemical residues in food [22]. According to Badri et al. [11], plant metabolites can regulate microbial composition of the soil. Thus, it affects root exudates and plant productivity [11].

9.4.3 COSMETICS

Before the use of synthetic cosmetics, plant secondary metabolites with similar properties were the main source of all cosmetics in daily life. The use of secondary metabolites offers benefits as skincare products [31, 52, 109]. Plant secondary metabolites offer several advantages, such as: inhibition of tyrosinase, increase antioxidant capacity and antimicrobial activity. Those biological activities can be important for the prevention of several skin conditions [45, 97].

9.4.4 OTHERS

Apart from their role in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical items, plant secondaiy metabolites can be also used in dye production [25] and as active compounds (anti-oxidant and anti-microbial) in packaging systems [115]. Applications of selected plant secondary metabolites in pharmaceutics, food, cosmetic, and packaging system are summarized in Table 9.6.

SUMMARY

Plants or herbs produce different secondaiy metabolites, such as: terpenes, alkaloids, carotenoids, polyphenols, and glucosinolates. Besides conventional extraction, several novel technologies with the basic extraction

Application

Herbal Bioactive

Impacts/Benefits

References

Pharmaceutics

Polyphenols

Anti-inflammatory effect

[106]

Flavonoids

Antioxidative effects, impede genetic mutation and carcinogenesis

[78]

Glucosinolates

[20]

Anti-aging effect

[55]

Antioxidative effect

[51]

Anti-Inflammatory, Immunomodulatory Agents,

Anti-cancer and Cardiovascular Disease

Terpenes

Anti-inflammatory

[83]

Carotenoids

Antioxidant

[75]

Food

Carvone, limonene, and (E)-anethole

Effective against pests

[69]

Terpenes or sterols

Antimicrobial activity

[2, 82]

Phenolic compounds.

Antimicrobial activity

[79]

Cinnamaldehyde,

Antifungal activity

[44]

Cichoric acid, polysaccharides, Alkamides, and glycoproteins

Cosmetics

Amino acids

Skincare/cleansing action

[15]

Gallic acid, mannitol, glucose, fats, resin, traces of an alkaloid and mucilage;

Dandruff treatment

[45]

Saponin

Collagen synthesis and anti-aging

[117]

Others

Polyphenolic extract;

Dyeing silk fabrics

[26]

Polyphenolics

Active packaging

[П5]

process have been developed. These technologies enhance the permeabiliza- tion of the plant cell-wall and facilitate the recovery of target components from inter or intra-cellular spaces. Plant secondary metabolites offer several health benefits. They have importance in pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic industries.

KEYWORDS

  • • herbal extracts
  • • high pressure-assisted
  • • microfiltration
  • • moderate electric field-assisted
  • • pharmaceuticals
  • • secondary metabolites
 
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