Phytopharmacology of Ficus religiosa

SB Chandrasekar, M Bhanumathy, AT Pawar, T Somasundaram

Pharmacognosy Reviews 2010 4(8):195-199

Herbs have always been the principal form of medicine in India. Medicinal plants have curative properties due to the presence of various complex chemical substances of different composition, which are found as secondary plant metabolites in one or more parts of these plants. Ficus religiosa (L.), commonly known as pepal belonging to the family Moraceae, is used traditionally as antiulcer, antibacterial, antidiabetic, in the treatment of gonorrhea and skin diseases. F. religiosa is a Bo tree, which sheltered the Buddha as he divined the “Truths.” The present review aims to update information on its phytochemistry and pharmacological activities.

Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health

V Lobo, A Patil, A Phatak, N Chandra

Pharmacognosy Reviews 2010 4(8):118-126

In recent years, there has been a great deal of attention toward the field of free radical chemistry. Free radicals reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species are generated by our body by various endogenous systems, exposure to different physiochemical conditions or pathological states. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body's ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases. Hence application of external source of antioxidants can assist in coping this oxidative stress. Synthetic antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole have recently been reported to be dangerous for human health. Thus, the search for effective, nontoxic natural compounds with antioxidative activity has been intensified in recent years. The present review provides a brief overview on oxidative stress mediated cellular damages and role of dietary antioxidants as functional foods in the management of human diseases.

Current knowledge and future direction of research on soy isoflavones as a therapeutic agents

V Kalaiselvan, M Kalaivani, A Vijayakumar, K Sureshkumar, K Venkateskumar

Pharmacognosy Reviews 2010 4(8):111-117

Isoflavones, the most abundant phytoestrogens in Soy beans, are structurally similar to 17beta-estradiol. The antioxidant property of the soy isoflavones, namely, genistein and daidzein is well established in different experimental models and also in clinical studies. The compounds have been found effective in the management of diabetes by acting on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing the level of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides. Soy isoflavones have the potential in the treatment of osteoporosis to act on osteoclasts further to inhibit tyrosine kinase. Among the soy isoflavones, genistein is the potential compound found effective in the treatment of cancer by acting on androgen receptor further to inhibit tyrosine kinases. In this article, various aspects of the diverse biological activities of soy isoflavones and their potential clinical implications with mechanism of action, especially in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, neuroprotection, and also future area of research on soy isoflavones are reviewed and discussed.

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