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Beneficial health properties of iridoids terpenes.

Author(s): López Carreras, N. | Miguel, M.; | Aleixandre, A.

Journal: Nutrición Clínica y Dietética Hospitalaria
ISSN 0211-6057

Volume: 32;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 81;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Phytochemicals | Iridoids | Terpenes.

Food components can have biological activity and healthy properties. Some of them, produced by plants, are named phytochemicals. The diversity of phytochemicals is amazing and this term refers in fact to a wide variety of compounds. Some of them, biosynthesized from isoprene, are named terpenes, and an important group of biciclic monoterpenes, derived fromgeraniol, are named iridoids.Iridoids can have open structures (secoiridoids) or closed structures (really iridoids) and they appear usua lly as heteroside compounds, in particular as glycosides. They have beneficial effects on liver and bi -liary function. Moreover, they have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic and antiviral activity, and they can be used as antidote in mushroom intoxications, in particular, those caused byAmanita type. Iridoids are present in particular in plants such as olive, harpagophytum, the valerian plant, the gentian plant and the ash tree. All these plants have been reported to be used as traditional medicine inmany cultures. Nowadays, their leaves, tubercles, roots, seeds, and extracts are also considered important for pharmacology, and some of their active compounds have been identified. This review refers to the origin and biosynthetic pathways of iridoids. It describes the characteristics and properties of the plants mentioned above, and it also mentions the principal iridoids isolated from them.
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