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Molecules 2010, 15(5), 3517-3555; doi:10.3390/molecules15053517

Neuroprotective Herbs and Foods from Different Traditional Medicines and Diets

1
Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy
2
Dipartimento Agroalimentare, CNR-IVV, Milano, Italy
3
Orto Botanico ‘GE Ghirardi’, Università degli Studi di Milano, Toscolano Maderno, Brescia, Italy
4
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 February 2010 / Revised: 31 March 2010 / Accepted: 6 May 2010 / Published: 14 May 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroprotective Strategies)
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Abstract

Plant secondary metabolites include an array of bioactive constituents form both medicinal and food plants able to improve human health. The exposure to these phytochemicals, including phenylpropanoids, isoprenoids and alkaloids, through correct dietary habits, may promote health benefits, protecting against the chronic degenerative disorders mainly seen in Western industrialized countries, such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we briefly deal with some plant foods and herbs of traditional medicines and diets, focusing on their neuroprotective active components. Because oxidative stress and neuroinflammation resulting from neuroglial activation, at the level of neurons, microglial cells and astrocytes, are key factors in the etiopathogenesis of both neurodegenerative and neurological diseases, emphasis will be placed on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity exerted by specific molecules present in food plants or in remedies prescribed by herbal medicines.
Keywords: Ayurvedic medicine; Mediterranean diet; neurodegenerative diseases; nutritional therapy; phytotherapy; Traditional Chinese Medicine Ayurvedic medicine; Mediterranean diet; neurodegenerative diseases; nutritional therapy; phytotherapy; Traditional Chinese Medicine
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Iriti, M.; Vitalini, S.; Fico, G.; Faoro, F. Neuroprotective Herbs and Foods from Different Traditional Medicines and Diets. Molecules 2010, 15, 3517-3555.

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