The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a European Union (EU) agency fosters scientific evaluation, supervision monitoring the safety of medicines in the EU.
Antioxidants, oxidative stress
Antioxidants are compounds that help human cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. Factors that increase the production of free radicals in the body can be internal, such as e.g. some inflammation, or external, such as e.g. pollution, smoking and ultraviolet radiation. When free radicals accumulate, exceeding the body’s ability to neutralize them, then the latter is in a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can damage DNA and other important cell structures and has been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, arthritis, immunodeficiency, various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory or ischemic conditions.
Carotenoids are substances in plants involved in photosynthesis and responsible for the bright red, yellow and orange colors of many fruits and vegetables. Some carotenoids are converted by the body to vitamin A. Carotenoids act as antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory and immune benefits, and are often associated with the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients, with more of 6,000 types identified, accounting for about 60% of polyphenols. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune benefits. Their consumption has been linked to a lower body mass index (BMI) and smaller waist circumference.
Hydroxycoumarin is a large group of natural compounds of plant origin. In recent years, they have become the focus of extensive research due to the wide range of their biological activities, including antibacterial, anti-cancer, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pepsin is a major enzyme in the digestive system of humans and many other animals, aiding in the digestion of proteins.
Phenolic acids represent about 30% of all polyphenols presenting increased antioxidant activity as well as antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
Polyphenols are a class of beneficial organic compounds, abundant in plants. To the present day, more than 8,000 polyphenols have been identified and studies show many of them to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties with preventive and / or therapeutic effects for cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer and obesity. Polyphenols can be further categorized in flavonoids, phenolic acids, polyphenolic amides and other polyphenols.
Sterols or phytosterols are components of cell membranes. Having a structure similar to cholesterol in the human body, they inhibit cholesterol absorption and are therefore considered an important element of one healthy eating plan to protect the heart and blood vessels.
Tannins are plant polyphenols that can bind and precipitate proteins. Tannins, having documented bioactivity according to many successful clinical trials are now vital substances widely used in food and pharmaceutical industries.
Volatile compounds are organic chemicals whose composition makes up possible to evaporate under normal atmospheric conditions of temperature and pressure.
Herbs are good sources of volatile compounds that can be found in various parts, such as leaves, flowers, shoots, seeds, roots, etc. Volatile compounds of herbs cater for their aromatic taste and also for their beneficial properties.