Good Lamiaceae Herbs Research Paper Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Herbs, Actions, Aliens, Activity, Species, Food, Acid, Plants

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2020/12/03


The paper looks into Lamiaceae herbs such as Rosemary, Basil, Sage, oregano, etc. and their long and traditional use as medicinal in culinary herbs. These herbs have long been used and even during ancient times. The antioxidant properties of Lamiaceae herbs have been a major focus of scientific studies and are commonly used as ornamental plants, grown in kitchen and house gardens. The paper looks at their origin, methods of consumption and how these plants are used. The different bioactive compounds present in Lamiaceae herbs and the health benefits are discussed in detail. These herbs are known to carry powerful antioxidant properties, antimicrobial properties, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes, etc. It also looks at any possible interactions with drugs and anti-nutritional effects of these herbs.
Introduction Lamiaceae is also referred to as Labiatae and boasts of more than 7,000 species. The mint family of flowering plants has long been known for its flavor and medicinal properties. The plants are cultivated and are used as kitchen herbs. Basil, or tulsī is sacred to Hindus and is also grown as a culinary herb in other regions. The genus Ocimum is native to Africa and Asia while genus Origanum is native to Europe. Rosemary is a Mediterranean species and well-known for its sharp fragrance Lamiaceae. (2015).
The Lamiaceae has been looked upon as one of the most characteristic angiosperm families. It is the circumscription of another large subfamily Lamioideae. It is rare to find their distribution outside of Eurasia and Africa. They are majorly distributed in the Northern Hemi- sphere. Some of the species have spread to Europe and Mediterranean region (Scheen et al., 2010).
The highest richness of Lamioideae species is found in the northern part of East Africa, and the next richer area lies specifically in southern India. It has been advocated that the African and Asian Leucas species are not closely related (Sheen & Albert, 2009).
Lamiaceae family grows wild and can be cultivated. The dried parts of the plants are used in popular drinks in Greece. These herbs have been extensively studied for their antioxidant activity. The leaves, stems and flowers and even roots of the herbs are used and consumed (Triantaphyllou et al., 2001). The aromatic plants have been used since ancient times for culinary herbs such as basil, rosemary, sage, mint, and thyme. These plants have been an essential source of oils used for flavoring and carry medicinal properties (Retief, 2008).
The seed-forming, dicotyledonous plants of Lamiaceae are found in tropical and temperate regions. The species are found in the summer rainfall areas predominantly, but their habitats can vary to a great extent. The species is not threatened currently, but their habitats are under threat due to human impact. The species is strongly modified for bird pollination and provide nectar and pollen to support bee colonies (Retief, 2008).
Basil is one of the most popular perennial herb belonging to Lamiaceae family. The herb carries square, branching stems, verticillaster inflorescence, opposite leaves and brown or black seeds. A native of Africa, Asia and India, it is cultivated in temperate climates. There are at least 200 species of Basil and its leaves, and flowering parts carry medicinal use (Marwat et al., 2011).
The glandular hair on the leaves of Basilicum as well as the reproductive and vegetative aerial parts are responsible for the essential oils. These oils are rich in medicinal properties. The leaves carry that glandular hair on both sides (Werker et al., 1993).
The antioxidant properties of Lamiaceae herbs have been studied in the recent scientific studies because of their food viability and potent pharmacological activities. Basil is commonly used in the kitchen and is a common ornamental plant in house gardens. The possible antioxidant activity and radical scavenging of the water and ethanol extracts of basil have been investigated ( Gülçin, Elmastaş & Aboul‐Enein,2007).
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, and the wood perennial herb is cultivated as an ornamental and aromatic plant all over the world. It is also used for different medicinal purpose widely (Rašković et al., 2014).
Rosemaries of aromatic foliage and blue-purple flowers are long-lived shrubs that are native to European and North African countries. They have long been cultivated for culinary, medicinal and ornamental purposes. Their use has been well known to the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians who were aware of the beneficial effects of the plant. Today, rosemary is one of the most popular plants of the Mediterranean region (Rosselló et al., 2006).
There have been numerous studies done to look at the presence and the activity of antioxidants in these herbs. Still, no much is known about the antioxidant activity in infusions of herbs and the phenolic profiles. Peppermint, thyme, basil, rosemary, lemon balm and sage are commonly consumed as herbal teas and spices and are known to offer antimicrobial and antiviral activities. These are used as natural sources in food and also find use in the pharmaceutical industry due to their robust antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. (Albayrak et al., 2013).

Bioactive compounds

Bioactive compounds are secondary plant metabolites that are the primary biosynthetic and metabolic routes and are not needed for the daily functioning of the plant. The main chemical groups of bioactive compounds can create pharmacological effects in man and animals. The secondary bioactive compounds are synthesized randomly in plants and not all of them are useless junk. Some of them hold important functions in the living plants such as flavonoids that offer protection against free radicals or Terpenoids that help in attracting pollinators or seed dispersers. Different categories of bioactive compounds identified in Lamiaceae family are Glycosides, Flavonoids and proanthocyanidins and Tannins. Mono- and sequi-terpenoids, and phenylpropanoids are known for their, antiviral, antibacterial effects as well as gastrointestinal stimulation. Lamiaceae family is best known for these bioactive compounds. (Bernhoft, 2010).
The Lamiaceae family carries economic importance because of the essential oil production. Most of the genera of the Lamiaceae are rich in terpenoids and also carry flavonoids, phenolic compounds and iridoid glycosides. The flavonoids within this family are predominantly 6- and/or 8-substituted flavone derivatives. Thymus genus is known for flavonoids and phenolic acids. These plants contain phenolic compounds particularly flavonoids. It is a well-known fact that flavonoids carry a wide range of antioxidant activities, and this is because of their phenolic structures (Özgen et al., 2006).
When the oregano, lemon balm, and peppermint herbs were analyzed after harvest so as to conclude upon their antioxidant activity, as well as the content of L-ascorbic acid, phenolics, and carotenoids, it was found that fresh and dried oregano had the highest reserve of linoleic acid as compared to lemon balm and peppermint. However, the aptitude to rummage the free radical DPPH was high in all the samples, showing that the three species had a very high content of phenolics. The dried oregano and peppermint showed a considerable increase in phenolics. Fresh peppermint and lemon balm showed the highest content of ascorbic acid. Thus, it is inferred that both fresh and dried herbs of the these species are a rich source of antioxidants, particularly from the group of phenolic compounds (Capecka, Mareczek & Leja, 2005).
The high antioxidant activity in rosemary is because of its main chemical constituents, such as carnosic acid, carnosol, rosmarinic acid, and caffeic acid. The antioxidant properties of rosemary are because of the presence of carnosol, diterpenes, and carnosic acid along with the essential oil components (Rašković et al., 2014).
The phenolic constituents of thyme, basil, rosemary herbs include rosmarinic acid and several flavonoids as well as luteolin and hesperidin. Peppermint and lemon balm carry a rich content of total phenolic and exhibit strong scavenging activities. (Albayrak et al., 2013).
The essential oil of O.basilicum exhibits higher antimicrobial activity. Chemical profiles of oregano and thyme essential oils carry phenolic oxygenated monoterpenes, particularly thymol and carvacrol. The content of carvacrol and thyme is responsible for antimicrobial activity (Bozin et al., 2006)
Manjericão and Basil herbs are used in traditional medicine and known to carry antiulcerogenic, antifungal and antibacterial effects. The main secondary metabolites present in Basil are flavonoids, including salvigenin, cirsileol, nevadensin, eupatorin, cirsimaritin, quercetin, apigenin,acacetin and ladanein. The total flavonoid content (TFC) in leaves of O. basilicum is used to support the quality assessment of the herbal material (Soars, Silva & Pezzini, 2015).
The main compounds that are responsible for the antioxidative activity are rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid and carnosol, and these polyphenols also exhibit essential biological activities in vitro as chemo-preventive and anti-tumor. Plant extract can offer that extra barrier to curb the growth of food-borne pathogens in food products. ihurdle technology or the use of combined AOXs is fast gaining acceptance in an industry (Romano et al., 2009).
Polyphenols are a cluster of secondary metabolites that are responsible for the H2O2 scavenging in plant cells. Plant materials rich in polyphenolic compounds are shown great interest in due to their higher antioxidant potency as well as suppression of oxidative damage that can offer protection against cancer. The oxidative damage is known to be a potential cause of mutation. Those free radicals can cause oxidative damage to proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Due to the higher generation of reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide, superoxide radical and hydroxyl radical leads to severe effects on the cardiovascular system via lipid peroxidation and other ailments such as, cancer, inflammation, diabetes mellitus etc. (Khomdram & Singh, 2011).
The phenolic compounds such as caffeicacid, rosmarinic acid, luteolin, p-coumaric acid, genkwanin, quercitrin, rutin, epicatechin are found richly in Lamiaceae. O. majorana showed effective properties for good UV absorption and anti-oxidation. The skin-protective activities depend on the phenolic and flavonoid contents. The total phenolic and flavone contents had positive relations with DPPH-scavenging activity (Lee et al., 2011).
Phenolic diterpenes in Rosemary include carnosol, carnosic acid and flavonoids such as cirsimaritin, genkwanin, homoplantaginin as well as triterpenes such as ursolic acid. Carnosic acid and carnosol are the main antioxidant compounds that are responsible to have anticancer properties (Borrás-Linares et al., 2014).
Phenolic diterpenes and triterpenes are receiving much attention due to a health-promoting properties such as antimicrobial, neuroprotective, anti-oxidant properties. Triterpenes offer remarkable bioactivity especially to treat cancer (Borrás-Linares et al., 2014).
During an extensive search on bioactive compounds on different extracts of rosemary leaves that were collected from different geographical zones of Serbia, it was found that the samples collected from Sokobanja showed the highest levels of flavonoids and compounds such as rosmaridiphenol, rosmadial, carnosol, rosmarinic acid, and carnosic acid. Extracts of rosemary from Gložan showed a higher content in triterpenes (Borrás-Linares et al., 2014).
Lavandula species, when examined, showed strong antioxidant properties, but the tyrosinase-inhibitory capacity was present in three Lavandula species. Lavandula species show higher content of polyphenols and flavonoids. The species shows strong promise for UVA and UVB absorption because of the presence of similar phytochemicals, such carnosic and asrosmarinic acids (Lee et al., 2011).

Health Benefits

The Lamiaceae family have been useful economically for medicinal, culinary, ornamental reasons. The members of the family have always been important because of their aromatic and medicinal properties. These herbs find extensive use in herbal products and food supplements. As they are strong free radical scavengers, they are looked upon as rich sources of natural antioxidants. Different herbs of the family may carry different concentration of phenolic compounds with different flavonoids and tannin content, thus differencing in their amounts of antioxidants (Khomdram & Singh, 2011).
Lamiaceae herbs have known to carry immunomodulatory effects. However, how they affect the innate immune system is not very well understood. Oregano and sage, the two Lamiaceae herbs are used as dietary supplementation. When animals were fed on the supplemented diet rich with these herbs and changes studied in their immune-competent cell counts, it was found that there was a significant rise in nitric oxide-mediated immune-competent cell counts and viability. In response to dietary consumption of oregano and sage, a higher phagocytic activity was noted. Pathogen recognition and antioxidant defenses were enhanced. Thus, the dietary intake of Lamiaceae herbs improved innate immune system functions, and these herbs carry potential use in antibiotic and cancer chemotherapy. (Vattem et al., 2013)
When extracts from herbs of the Lamiaceae family, such as sweet marjoram, sideritis, mint, sage, dittany and lemon balm were examined, for their effect on lipid oxidation, as compared to the tea water extract, the Lamiaceae family herbs were found to carry a remarkable capacity in retarding lipid oxidation. These results indicate that certain plants can be examined as powerful sources of antioxidants. The herbs show a protective effect against lipid oxidation and this is due to a rich content of phenols that get active in eliminating active oxygen species and overpowering their effects (Triantaphyllou et al., 2001).
Lamiaceae family herbs have been used since the ancient times to improve biological and pharmacological activities as well as to improve the flavoring of food. The aromatic plants and spices are popular because of their essential oils properties for carminative, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial and antiviral activities. The antimicrobial activity of these herbs has found many applications in raw and processed food preservation, natural therapies, and pharmaceuticals. Lamiaceae species show significant antibacterial and antifungal activity (Bozin et al., 2006).
Lamiaceae herbs like rosemary, lavenders, sage, oregano have been used for a long time for food preservation and culinary flavors because of their rich aromas. However, they are also used as traditional medicine as they are known to cure common ailments. Research indicates that they are a rich source of phenolic phytochemicals. They exhibit high antioxidant activity that can provide the beneficial effect on human health. Phenolic phytochemicals carry the potential for managing chronic oxidation-linked diseases such as CVD.21-26 and diabetes. Galanigin from Origanum vulgare and rosmarinic acid from Rosmarinus officinalis are known to carry cancer chemopreventive28 and anti-inflammatory27 activity (Kwon et al., 2006).
All studied herbs from six wild European Lamiaceae species show a strong ability of scavenging free radicals and a strong antioxidant capability. However, each species showed a different result. Leonurus cardiac showed the highest scavenging ability, followed by Lamium album, Marrubium vulgare, Stachys officinalis, Lamium purpureum in decreasing abilities. The maximum inhibition of 78% for lipid peroxidation was reached by S. officinalis and M.vulgare ( Murkowski & Piotrowska, 2006).
Oregano is another popular herb that is widely used in South European cuisine. The dried herb and its leaves along with the volatile oil have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. The antioxidant activity of oregano are known to offer beneficial health effects for human health (Cioroi & Dumitriu, 2010).Basil
Basil of the family Lamiaceae is a well-known herb that is used in the US and the Mediterranean diets. The historic usage of the culinary herb and its essential oil composition with phenolics is well known (Cioroi & Dumitriu, 2010).
Sweet Basil is one of the most cultivated species that is used in perfume, cosmetics, and spices. It also finds its use as medicine, fly repellant and snuff. Although the species is commonly cultivated in different countries, such as Africa and India, recent finds show that Ocimum basilicum has been cultivated since ancient time. It is difficult to say if the plant was of ancient introduction or indigenous (Ryding, 1994).
Basil extracts are used for carminative, digestive, antispasmodic, aromatic, stomachic and tonic agent. It is used topically for treating insect stings, acne, snake bites and skin allergies. It is known to exhibit antibacterial and antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, insecticidal, properties. Moreover, the herb is known to work for cardiac stimulant, antiwormal response, the inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation, etc. (Marwat et al., 2011).
Basil has been used for many years now in Turkish folk medicine for numerous therapeutic effects such as appetizing and digestive. The leaves of basil are known to carry antiseptic, tonic and insecticidal properties that are useful for the treatment of pain and cough. It is also used for cough treatment, aches, and pains. The basil oil is known to carry antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that can be a useful sources in pharmaceutical applications (Gülçin, Elmastaş & Aboul‐Enein, 2007).
The populations in the third world countries rely on local and traditional medicines. The aqueous and methanol extract of the sweet and purple basil shows anti- Hliicobacter pylori activity. As Basil is a natural product, and is commonly used in cooking and in tonics, it offers beneficial actions for infections of respiratory tract such as asthma and bronchitis (M. M. N et al., 2006)


Rosemary oil and sage are well known for their antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. The two species are commonly used in cosmetics, medicine, phytopharmacy and flavoring foods. Many studies have been done on the biological activities in these two spices, and they are found to possess best antioxidant activity. Perhaps one of the most examined features is the antioxidant effectiveness of essential oils. There are numerous reports and studies that indicate suggest strong antibacterial and antifungal activities in these oils. However, further studies are necessary. The essential oil of rosemary shows strong antifungal and antibacterial activity (Bozin et al., 2007).
Natural antioxidant products are finding an increasing use to treat different pathological liver conditions. Rosemary oil is well known for its antioxidant and antimicrobial activities and other health benefits. The leaves of rosemary are used for flavoring foods. Traditionally rosemary has been used as a mild analgesic and stimulant, and one of the most effective herbs for headaches, inflammatory diseases as well as physical and mental fatigue (Rašković et al., 2014).
Numerous studies have been done to study the protective effects of antioxidant compounds and different plant extracts have been investigated in this direction. Rosemary extract shows an amazing activity in stabilizing organic substrate and because of its skill to scavenge free radicals. It offers protection against ionizing radiation. Phenolic diterpenes, rosmarinic acids and caffeic present in flavonoids in Rosemary stop oxidative DNA damage and suppress lipid peroxidation (Maris et al., 2009).
Rosmarinus displayed strong anti-inflammatory and anti-S. aureus activities. The genus has the potential to develop anti-acne cosmetics (Lee et al., 2011).
Recent studies indicate that the combinatory activities of main polyphenols CA and RA in rosemary methanolic extract explain the radical scavenging activity. Rosemary finds a key application in biotechnological applications as a certain plant phenolic profile can be designed for different foods. Rosemary methanolic extract can improve the antibacterial activity of BHA and the antiradical efficiency of BHT, which are the synthetic AOXs additives (Romano et al., 2009). Rosemary extracts have been popularly used as a preservative in the food industry because of their high antioxidant activity. The medicinal herb has been used for centuries because of its antidiabetic, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anticancer and antioxidant nature. Rosemary extracts and its isolated components are known to curb leukemia, growth of breast, prostate, lung, liver and prostate cancer cells (Borrás-Linares et al., 2014).
What limits the shelf life of foods is the oxidative degradation of lipids. The free-radical reaction of lipid peroxidation deteriorates the lipid-containing foods. However, use of antioxidants during the manufacturing process can lower the extent of lipid peroxidation. Rosemary extract, an organoleptically neutral extract, shows powerful antioxidant properties that can be used in food applications such as dried oats, roasted hazelnuts, meat dumplings, ham, etc. The antioxidants present in the herbal extracts are claimed to prevent HIV expression. It has been observed recently that the herbal mixtures show antiviral activity and antioxidant activity. However, not all antioxidant extracts are able to exercise anti-HIVanti-HIV effects (Aruoma et al., 1996).
Rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, and basil show higher antioxidant and free radical scavenging capacity. These properties of these herbs can be applied in chemoprevention ofneoplastic and degenerative diseases. The potential of Lamium flowers as high antioxidants can widen their therapeutic applications and in the inhibition of degenerative diseases of different organs such as reproductive organs and urinary tract. Today, there is a more focused search for the new natural sources of powerful antioxidants for therapeutic use (Murkowski & Piotrowska, 2006).
However, the phenolic profile in these plants and their phenolic content have a limited success as therapeutic agents. This is because of the variations in their phenolic profile, and these variations are there because of heterogeneous plants arising duet cross-pollination. Plants originating from different heterozygous seeds, due to considerable phytochemical inconsistency can be phenotypically variable, and thus lead to inconsistent health benefits. Other factors that influence their phenolic content are the variety, maturity, storage, processing, etc. The clonal lines of different Lamiaceae family species were screened for α-glucosidase, α-amylase, and ACE inhibition activity. The results showed that two clonal herbs- lemon balm and rosemary LA had the potential to develop effective dietary strategy for postprandial hyperglycemia and hypertension that were connected to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus (Kwon et al., 2006).
When experiments were done to conclude the content of polyphenols and the antioxidant character in plant extracts of these herbs, the results showed that the oregano extract showed a higher content of polyphenols as compared to sage and basil extracts. The antioxidant activity increase from basil, sage than then to oregano. The experiment showed that there exists an association between the total amounts of polyphenols and their antioxidant activity (Cioroi & Dumitriu, 2010).
When effects of the 70% acetone-extracts from different species of Lamiaceae plants were studied for skin-care functional parameters such as DPPH scavenging, UV absorption, tyrosinase-inhibition, etc., Origanum majorana showed the strongest DPPH-scavenging and tyrosinase. Because of their environmentally friendly properties and non-toxic nature, these natural plant based products are good resources for developing skin-care cosmetics. Most of these plants of the Lamiaceae family are aromatic. Many genera of the Lamiaceae such as Rosmarinus, Salvia, Lavandula, and Ocimum are being widely cultivated for their aromatic qualities (Lee et al., 2011).
Today there is a fast growing interest in the use of natural antioxidants, such as flavonoids and tocopherols and rosemary extracts for food preservation. This is because these natural antioxidants keep away the health problems that may arise due to the use of manufactured antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydrox. The natural polyphenols that are extracted from aromatic plants of Lamiaceae Herbs prove to be a promising source of compounds. These extracts from the Lamiaceae family are well known for their antioxidative properties, in pharmaceutical applications as well as flavoring food, beverages (Romano et al., 2009).


Consumption of vegetables and fruits has often been linked to getting protection against certain chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. The presence of vitamins C and E, polyphenolic compounds and carotenoids are known to offer antioxidant action. Selected members of the plant family Lamiaceae have been a topic of study for the past many years now. Thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano species are some of the most popular and commonly used herbs from Lamiaceae. These herbs are considered to be a good source of health-beneficial natural components because of different phenolic compounds present in them (Nurmi, 2008).
There is very little research available on the toxicity of Lamiaceae herbs. However, O. basilicum is one of the species that has been most analyzed and is known to carry potentially dangerous compounds. Some of these compounds are tryptophan, rutin, caffeic acid, safrole, and quercetin. Caffeic acid and P-Coumaric acids can constrain digestion of plant cell walls in ruminants because of their antimicrobial properties. When phenolic acids are acted upon by rumen microbes, cinnamic acid, 3-phenylpropionicacid and benzoic acid may be formed. When these compounds get detoxified, hippuric acid is made, and 3-Phenylpropionicacid can decrease metabolic efficiency. Safrole used to flavor sodas has been banned in the US as a food additive as it can cause cancer in rats (Marwat et al., 2011).
The study of the herbal extracts and their suitability for human consumption was investigated. Three radical scavenging assays, a human low-density lipoprotein oxidation assay and, a reductive capacity assay were used to study the in vitro antioxidant properties of extracts from sage, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Depending on the method employed, the extracts displayed different degrees of antioxidant activity. The absorption and metabolism in humans were analyzed. Even though Lamiaceae extracts were effective antioxidants and phenolic components of oregano were absorbed in humans, there were no antioxidant effects seen in humans after the oregano polyphenol supplementation. In human bodies, there are issues of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and tissues, etc. (Nurmi, 2008).
Oregano is safe for most adults, but there can be mild side effects for some people like stomach upset. Those who have allergies to the Lamiaceae family should be cautious. A recent survey investigated the influence of acute and chronic peppermint oil onanalgesic effect of codeine. Applied doses led to a significant lowering of analgesic effect of codeine (Samojlik et al., 2012).
Ocimum basilicum L. is used as traditional medicine and as a culinary herb in many countries. The herb and its oil extract are well known for their potential medicinal properties. However, there have been a few reports of possible toxicity of this plant. This plant is cultivated in vast quantities and belongs to the Lamiaceae family. In a study of administration of O. basilicum to rats did not lead to any abnormal changes or death, but a number of hematological changes were reported. Based on this study, the risk of oral toxicity cannot be ruled out (Rasekh et al., 2012).
Lamiaceae herbs are well known for their medicinal effects, but how they affect innate immune system is still not well understood. The normal use of sage is very safe. However, the excessive amount might have an adverse effect. It must be kept in mind that one still needs to be cautious when creating new therapeutic drugs (Hamidpour et al., 2014).


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