Food as medicine: potential therapeutic tendencies of plant derived polyphenolic compounds

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2008 Apr-Jun;9(2):187-95.


The last two decades have witnessed a major drift in the interests of the scientific community towards explaining better means to containing the health risks of the human race. The century old chemotherapies against various disorders have never been a success, albeit not a total failure. Such therapies have a major drawback of side effects that give rise to unseen disorders that emerge as a new challenge. In this regard, the concept of foodstuffs as natural medicines is very attractive. Epidemiological studies suggest that the vegeteranian food habit is associated with reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Consistent with this hypothesis is the fact that the incidence of these disorders is least in Asian populations where fruits, vegetables and spices are the major elements in the human diet. Recent research has shown that plant-derived polyphenolic compounds are promising nutraceuticals for control of various disorders such as cardiovascular,neurological and neoplastic disease. The richness of the polyphenolic contents of green tea and red wine has made them popular choice for associated anticancer and cardiovascular health benefits. The present article is a brief review of the promises plant polyphenols, bioactive components of our food, hold for the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Phenols / therapeutic use*
  • Polyphenols


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols