Current knowledge on phytochemical profile of Epilobium sp. raw materials and extracts. Potential benefits in nutrition and phytotherapy of age-related diseases
As a consequence of ageing of populations and increase of life expectancy a growing interest in searching novel, safe and effective food preparations, plant origin dietary supplements or plant derived drugs, containing numerous substances that may counteract the emergence of age related disorders is observed. A clearly visible example of searching abovementioned herbal preparations is a growing interest among men suffering for urogenital disorders on preparations based in herbal plants such as: Serrenoa repens, Pygeum africanum, Urtica dioica, Cucurbita pepo, Hypoxis rooperi, Secale cereale, Zea mays. In recent years dietary supplements based on Epilobium genus representatives became very popular among patients with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and suffering for benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). For the confirmation or justification of the use of preparations based on Epilobium sp. in folk medicine or diet supplementation we summarized the current knowledge on biological activities of herbal extracts and oils derived from this genus and variations of phytochemical compositions. The literature analysis reveals that herb was the substance most often subjected to phytochemical analysis (leaves or stems), the next one was seed oil of Epilobiium sp. representatives. In extracts from herb flavonoids (flavonol 3-O-glycosides based on kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin or guaiaverin aglycones), tannins (macrocyclic ellagitannins – oenothein A and B) and trace amounts of sterols as well as fatty acids were identified, while in extracts from seed oil sterols (β-sitosterol, kaempesterol, stigmasterol and brassicasterol) and fatty acids (mainly stearic, palmitic, oleic, linoleic, linolenic and caproic) were most often present. The conclusions of this paper may be helpful in further extensive research concerning the evaluation the effectiveness and safety of preparations based on the basis of Epilobium sp. and Onagraceae family representatives. A knowledge of bioactive compounds in Epilobium sp. could be especially needed in designing new, safe and effective formulations of nutriceuticals and phytotherapeutics containing medicinal parts of these plants.