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Active phytochemicals from Chinese herbs as therapeutic agents for the heart.

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School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.


Naturally occurring plant alkaloids, in particular those identified from herbal medicines, are finding therapeutic use. Heart diseases can be well managed with specific formulations of herbal medicines. The combined action of multiple constituents of herbal medicines works with therapeutic benefits in humans. The established formulations of Traditional Chinese medicines show efficacy in treatment of diseases. However, individual herbal principles seldom show pharmacological activity. Nevertheless, some of the active alkaloids and terpenoids from medicinal herbs have been identified. The pharmacological activities of these herbal compounds have been studied. These active constituents of herbal medicine are also used in nutrient supplements, but the modes of action of the active component remain sketchy. The present review describes the recent development of those active principles from herbal medicines as cardiovascular agents. The study will provide insights into herbal medicines for drug development for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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