Friday, 03 January 2020 13:00

All you need to know about phytochemical substances

Phytochemical substances Phytochemical substances

Many plants are valued for their health-promoting properties. In the past, it was associated with the mysticism and power of deities from local beliefs. Today, the power of plants is tested by studying the substances they contain, which often have a positive effect on our health.

Currently, research is underway on many such substances that enable the development of therapies to treat many serious diseases. What is worth knowing about these substances? How are they used in medicine?

What are phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur in plants. This name comes from ancient Greek, where the prefix ‘phyto’ refers to plants. It has been proven that they are substances which allow plants to survive under certain conditions. Scientific studies also show that many of them affect the human body. They can strengthen our immune system, alleviate various ailments and pains, support weight loss, but most importantly, also be helpful in the treatment of many diseases. It is worth mentioning here that such substances do not occur naturally in the human body. Therefore, in order to enjoy their benefits, they should be provided regularly in the diet. Sometimes, it is necessary to consume them in the form of medicinal preparations, which are part of the treatment prescribed by the doctor. The most popular phytochemicals include capsaicin, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Many of them are being examined in the search for a cure for cancer.

How are standards developed for phytochemicals used in drug production?

As we previously mentioned, phytochemicals are used to treat many diseases. An example here is not only cancer, but also diabetes or other diseases belonging to the group of so-called lifestyle diseases. For the preparation of medicines, appropriate models of basic substances are needed. Such a model is called a reference substance. A popular example of a reference substance is a herbal reference. These types of preparations are developed in specialized laboratories in which the highest standards of work are ensured. Such samples are purified and specially prepared so that they can be benchmarks for further work. On their basis, further preparations are developed that must comply with the previously specified references. Often, such references are produced from material that the company acquires from its own sources. This ensures better control over the material. It also allows to obtain plants with specific parameters and prepare high-quality reference extracts.

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