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Medicinal plants with antioxidant properties from Banat region (Romania): a rich pool for the discovery of multi-target phytochemicals active in free-radical related disorders

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Author(s): Diana Simona ANTAL

Journal: Analele Universitatii din Oradea, Fascicula Biologie
ISSN 1224-5119

Volume: TOM XVII;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: medicinal plants | Romania | antioxidant

ABSTRACT
Natural compounds from plants and other life forms (bacteria, fungi, marine organisms) represent a major source of molecules with medicinal properties. Among them, antioxidant substances are of particular interest. The understanding of the central role that oxidative stress holds in the progression of disorders as varied as: cardiovascular diseases, degenerative conditions, rheumatic disorders, metabolic syndrome, and in aging, makes antioxidant capacity to a key-feature of modern, multipotent remedies. Rational screenings of the Plant Kingdom for the discovery of new medications are based on: a) the inventory of available species, b) knowledge accumulated from traditional phytotherapy, c) already available results of recent investigations on bioactivity, d) chemotaxonomic considerations, and e) toxicologic facts. The objective of the present work is to set the starting point for a database of plants with antioxidant properties. It is projected to serve as a basic step for further investigations aimed at discovering biomolecules with multiple effects in free-radical mediated diseases and in gerontology. The research focuses on vascular plants with a history of utilization in phytotherapy, and growing wild in the Western part of Romania (Banat region). Based on the above inclusion criteria a) – e), it was possible to point out over 140 plant species for which antioxidant activities were documented by different research groups. This impressive body of evidence provides valuable preliminary data for subsequent, more detailed research on the pharmacology, phytochemistry and clinical application of plants growing in Romania. The systematization of data performed in the present work is intended to help discover new, more efficient means to maintain and promote human health.
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