An imbalance in the production of reactive oxygen species in the body can cause an increase of oxidative stress that leads to oxidative damage to cells and tissues, which culminates in the development or aggravation of some chronic diseases, such as inflammation, diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Secondary metabolites from Inula
species can play an important role in the prevention and treatment of the oxidative stress-related diseases mentioned above. The databases Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science and the combining terms Inula
, antioxidant and secondary metabolites were used in the research for this review. More than 120 articles are reviewed, highlighting the most active compounds with special emphasis on the elucidation of their antioxidative-stress mechanism of action, which increases the knowledge about their potential in the fight against inflammation, cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. Alantolactone is the most polyvalent compound, reporting interesting EC50
values for several bioactivities, while 1-O
-acetylbritannilactone can be pointed out as a promising lead compound for the development of analogues with interesting properties. The Inula
genus is a good bet as source of structurally diverse compounds with antioxidant activity that can act via different mechanisms to fight several oxidative stress-related human diseases, being useful for development of new drugs.
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