Eosinophils are leukocytes that are present in several body compartments and in the blood at relatively low numbers under normal conditions. However, an increase in the number of eosinophils, in the blood or in the tissues, is observed in allergic or parasitic disorders. Although some progress has been made in understanding the development of eosinophil-mediated inflammation in allergic and parasitic diseases, the discovery of new compounds to control eosinophilia has lagged behind other advances. Plant-derived secondary metabolites are the basis for many drugs currently used to treat pathologic conditions, including eosinophilic diseases. Several studies, including our own, have demonstrated that plant extracts and secondary metabolites can reduce eosinophilia and eosinophil recruitment in different experimental animal models. In this review, we summarize these studies and describe the anti-eosinophilic activity of various plant extracts, such as Ginkgo biloba, Allium cepa, and Lafoensia pacari, as well as those of secondary metabolites (compounds isolated from plant extracts), such as quercetin and ellagic acid. In addition, we highlight the medical potential of these plant-derived compounds for treating eosinophil-mediated inflammation, such as asthma and allergy.
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