Due to the growing problem of obesity associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, causes of obesity are extensively investigated. In addition to a high caloric diet and low physical activity, gut microbiota disturbance may have a potential impact on excessive weight gain. Some reports indicate differences in the composition of the intestinal microflora of obese people in comparison to lean. Bioactive compounds of natural origin with beneficial and multifaceted effects on the body are more frequently used in prevention and treatment of many metabolic diseases including obesity. Sideritis scardica is traditionally consumed as mountain tea in the Balkans to strengthen the body and improve mood. Many reports indicate a positive effect on digestive system, weight loss, and prevention of insulin resistance. Additionally, it exhibits antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory effects. The positive effect of Sideritis scardica extracts on memory and general cognitive abilities is indicated as well. The multilevel positive effect on the body appears to originate from the abundant occurrence of phenolic compounds, especially phenolic acids in Sideritis scardica extracts. However, mechanisms underlying their action require careful discussion and further research. Therefore, the objective of this review is to summarize the available knowledge on the role and mechanism of action of biologically active compounds of Sideritis scardica and other related species from the genus Sideritis.
Keywords: Sideritis scardica; anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties; antioxidant; biological active compounds; gut microbiota; polyphenols.