Medicinal Terpenoids

Terpenoids are naturally occurring plant chemicals that comprise of isoprene units. These isoprene units can be constructed together in multiple ways giving rise to a diverse and large group of phytochemicals. Terpenoids include the sub-groups monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, sesterterpenes, tetraterpenes. Plants use terpenes in a wide range of different metabolic functions and they are bioavailable in animals and humans. In humans, some terpenes have medicinal effects and traditional herbal treatments for many conditions often terpenoids. Terpenoids may possess anti-inflammatory and anti-stress effects which may explain their usefulness in treating mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Examples of terpenoids include the monoterpenes (carvone, geraniol, D-limonene, and perillyl alcohol), sesquiterpenes (farnesol), diterpenes (retinol and trans-retinoic acid), triterpenes (betulinic acid, lupeol, oleanolic acid, and ursolic acid) and tetraterpenes (α-carotene, β-carotene, lutein, and lycopene). 

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Kuete, V. 2014. Toxicological survey of African medicinal plants. Elsevier.

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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