Free radicals are chemicals that play a role in the etiopathogenesis of ischemia–reperfusion injury. To prevent or reduce this damage, many protective or therapeutic antioxidants are used effectively in alternative medicine. These antioxidants include immunological or pharmacological agents, vitamins, food and herbal products, and spices. Herbs and spices have been used for a long time as coloring or preservative agents by adding to the content of foods, and at the same time to increase the nutritional value of foods. More recently, the nutritional effects of herbs and spices have become more perceived and the area of interest for these products has increased. Concordantly, the biological contents of herbs and spices have begun to be studied in more detailed way at the cellular and molecular level. Sample plants are classified according to different chemical families, with the diet. Therefore, they have different levels of antioxidant capacity. These products also have potent anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, glucoregulatory, antithrombotic, anticarcinogenic and so forth effects. These properties are used in the treatment of some chronic diseases. In this review, the antioxidant properties of various herbs and spices used to add flavor to foods or to extend their shelf life have been examined in the light of large-scale nutritional epidemiological studies, in vitro cellular/animal studies and clinical trials.
Part of the book: Antioxidants