The biochemistry and medical significance of the flavonoids

Pharmacol Ther. Nov-Dec 2002;96(2-3):67-202. doi: 10.1016/s0163-7258(02)00298-x.

Abstract

Flavonoids are plant pigments that are synthesised from phenylalanine, generally display marvelous colors known from flower petals, mostly emit brilliant fluorescence when they are excited by UV light, and are ubiquitous to green plant cells. The flavonoids are used by botanists for taxonomical classification. They regulate plant growth by inhibition of the exocytosis of the auxin indolyl acetic acid, as well as by induction of gene expression, and they influence other biological cells in numerous ways. Flavonoids inhibit or kill many bacterial strains, inhibit important viral enzymes, such as reverse transcriptase and protease, and destroy some pathogenic protozoans. Yet, their toxicity to animal cells is low. Flavonoids are major functional components of many herbal and insect preparations for medical use, e.g., propolis (bee's glue) and honey, which have been used since ancient times. The daily intake of flavonoids with normal food, especially fruit and vegetables, is 1-2 g. Modern authorised physicians are increasing their use of pure flavonoids to treat many important common diseases, due to their proven ability to inhibit specific enzymes, to simulate some hormones and neurotransmitters, and to scavenge free radicals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antidotes / pharmacology
  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chelating Agents / pharmacology
  • Chelating Agents / therapeutic use
  • Electron Transport
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Flavonoids / biosynthesis
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / toxicity
  • Free Radical Scavengers / chemistry
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Wound Healing / drug effects

Substances

  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Antidotes
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Chelating Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Flavonoids
  • Free Radical Scavengers