The Pharmacological Activity, Biochemical Properties, and Pharmacokinetics of the Major Natural Polyphenolic Flavonoid: Quercetin

Foods. 2020 Mar 23;9(3):374. doi: 10.3390/foods9030374.


Flavonoids are a class of natural substances present in plants, fruits, vegetables, wine, bulbs, bark, stems, roots, and tea. Several attempts are being made to isolate such natural products, which are popular for their health benefits. Flavonoids are now seen as an essential component in a number of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and medicinal formulations. Quercetin is the major polyphenolic flavonoid found in food products, including berries, apples, cauliflower, tea, cabbage, nuts, and onions that have traditionally been treated as anticancer and antiviral, and used for the treatment of allergic, metabolic, and inflammatory disorders, eye and cardiovascular diseases, and arthritis. Pharmacologically, quercetin has been examined against various microorganisms and parasites, including pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and Plasmodium, Babesia, and Theileria parasites. Additionally, it has shown beneficial effects against Alzheimer's disease (AD), and this activity is due to its inhibitory effect against acetylcholinesterase. It has also been documented to possess antioxidant, antifungal, anti-carcinogenic, hepatoprotective, and cytotoxic activity. Quercetin has been documented to accumulate in the lungs, liver, kidneys, and small intestines, with lower levels seen in the brain, heart, and spleen, and it is extracted through the renal, fecal, and respiratory systems. The current review examines the pharmacokinetics, as well as the toxic and biological activities of quercetin.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; herbal remedies; pharmacokinetics; pharmacological activities; quercetin.

Publication types

  • Review