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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Halophytic herbs of the Mediterranean basin: An alternative approach to health

Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Apr;114:155-169. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.02.031. Epub 2018 Feb 15. . Petropoulos SA1, Karkanis A2, Martins N3, Ferreira ICFR4. Author information 1 Department of Agriculture Crop Production and Rural Environment, University of Thessaly, Fytokou Str, 38446 Nea Ionia, Magnesia, Greece. Electronic address: spetropoulos@uth.gr. 2 Department of Agriculture Crop Production and Rural Environment, University of Thessaly, Fytokou Str, 38446 Nea Ionia, Magnesia, Greece. 3 Mountain Research Centre (CIMO), ESA, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 1172, 5301-855 Bragança, Portugal. 4 Mountain Research Centre (CIMO), ESA, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 1172, 5301-855 Bragança, Portugal. Electronic address: iferreira@ipb.pt. Abstract Wild native species are usually grown under severe and stressful conditions, while a special category includes halophytic species that are tolerant to high salinity levels. Native halophytes are valuable sources of bioactive molecules whose content is higher in saline than normal conditions, since the adaptation to salinity mechanisms involve apart from changes in physiological functions the biosynthesis of protectant molecules. These compounds include secondary metabolites with several beneficial health effects which have been known since ancient times and used for medicinal purposes. Recent trends in pharmaceutical industry suggest the use of natural compounds as alternative to synthetic ones, with native herbs being strong candidates for this purpose due to their increased and variable content in health promoting compounds. In this review, an introductory section about the importance of native herbs and halophyte species for traditional and modern medicine will be presented. A list of the most important halophytes of the Mediterranean basin will follow, with special focus on their chemical composition and their reported by clinical and ethnopharmacological studies health effects. The review concludes by suggesting future requirements and perspectives for further exploitation of these valuable species within the context of sustainability and climate change. KEYWORDS: Bioactive compounds; Halophytes; Health effects; Native herbs; Salinity; Secondary metabolites PMID: 29454868 DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.02.031

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