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Mini Rev Med Chem. 2019;19(17):1459-1471. doi: 10.2174/1389557519666190620091915.

Protective Effects of Phenylpropanoids and Phenylpropanoid-rich Essential Oils on the Cardiovascular System.

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iCBR, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Azinhaga de Sta Comba, Coimbra, Portugal.
CIEPQPF and Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Azinhaga de Sta Comba, Coimbra, Portugal.



Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of global mortality with a tendency to increase due to population ageing as well as an increase in associated risk factors. Although current therapies improve survival rates, they are associated with several side effects, thus justifying the development of novel preventive and/or therapeutic approaches. In this way, plant metabolites such as essential oils have emerged as promising agents due to their biological effects.


Bearing in mind that several essential oils are characterized by high amounts of phenylpropanoids, which may play a crucial role in the activity of these volatile extracts, a comprehensive and systematic review focusing on the cardiovascular effects of phenylpropanoid-rich essential oils is presented.


Popular search engines including PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus and Google Scholar were consulted and papers from 2000 onwards were selected. Non-volatile phenylpropanoids were not considered in this review.


A compilation of the current knowledge on this thematic pointed out beneficial effects for volatile phenylpropanoids namely hypotensive, vasorelaxant, antiplatelet aggregation, antidyslipidaemic and antidiabetic, as well as protective properties against ischemia/reperfusion injury and heart hypertrophy.


A better understanding of the protective effects of phenylpropanoids on the cardiovascular system is presented, thus paving the way towards future research on plant-based therapies for cardiovascular diseases.


Essential oil; antidyslipidaemic; cardiovascular; hypotensive; phenylpropanoids; risk factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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