Traditionally used medicinal plants, herbs and spices in Latin America were investigated to determine their phenolic profiles, antioxidant activity and in vitro inhibitory potential against key enzymes relevant for hyperglycemia and hypertension. High phenolic and antioxidant activity-containing medicinal plants and spices such as Chancapiedra (Phyllantus niruri L.), Zarzaparrilla (Smilax officinalis), Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguayensis St-Hil), and Huacatay (Tagetes minuta) had the highest anti-hyperglycemia relevant in vitro alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activities with no effect on alpha-amylase. Molle (Schinus molle), Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp), Caigua (Cyclanthera pedata) and ginger (Zingiber officinale) inhibited significantly the hypertension relevant angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE). All evaluated pepper (Capsicum) genus exhibited both anti-hyperglycemia and anti-hypertension potential. Major phenolic compounds in Matico (Piper angustifolium R.), Guascas (Galinsoga parviflora) and Huacatay were chlorogenic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives. Therefore, specific medicinal plants, herbs and spices from Latin America have potential for hyperglycemia and hypertension prevention associated with Type 2 diabetes.
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