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Chem Cent J. 2015 Dec 24;9:68. doi: 10.1186/s13065-015-0145-9. eCollection 2015.

Citrus fruits as a treasure trove of active natural metabolites that potentially provide benefits for human health.

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School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, 100029 China.
Institute of Clinical Medicine, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, 100029 China.
Institute of Basic Research in Clinical Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, 100700 China ; School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong SAR, 999077 China.


Citrus fruits, which are cultivated worldwide, have been recognized as some of the most high-consumption fruits in terms of energy, nutrients and health supplements. What is more, a number of these fruits have been used as traditional medicinal herbs to cure diseases in several Asian countries. Numerous studies have focused on Citrus secondary metabolites as well as bioactivities and have been intended to develop new chemotherapeutic or complementary medicine in recent decades. Citrus-derived secondary metabolites, including flavonoids, alkaloids, limonoids, coumarins, carotenoids, phenolic acids and essential oils, are of vital importance to human health due to their active properties. These characteristics include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, as well as cardiovascular protective effects, neuroprotective effects, etc. This review summarizes the global distribution and taxonomy, numerous secondary metabolites and bioactivities of Citrus fruits to provide a reference for further study. Flavonoids as characteristic bioactive metabolites in Citrus fruits are mainly introduced.


Bioactivities; Citrus fruits; Flavonoids; Human health; Secondary metabolites

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