About this Research Topic
Medicinal plants and mushrooms present a valuable source of chemicals with potential therapeutic properties making them uprising functional foods of the 21st century. In recent years there has been extensive studies on medicinal plants and edible mushrooms, dealing with their various pharmacological effects.
Due to their remarkable medicinal properties, the herbal teas are nowadays considered highly beneficial for human health and the aromatic and medicinal plants have become widely used globally. It is recorded that herbal teas and herbal products are dominantly used for gastrointestinal disorders e.g. digestive problems, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, flatulence, and colic. Also, among the most common uses of herbal medicines are those for the treatment of respiratory diseases. Their pharmacological activities and nutritional values are attributed to their rich phytochemical profile, mainly to their secondary metabolites, such as terpenes and phenolic derivatives. These bioactive secondary metabolites are of considerable economic interest, not only for the pharmaceutical industry, but also for cosmetics and dietary products. As a result, the commercial demand for plant materials is continuously on the rise both in the European and in the global market.
Edible fungi are important organisms for human population and could find important applications in pharmaceutical and food industries. Mushrooms are respected worldwide in dietetics for their low caloric value, high content of proteins, fiber and source of unsaturated fatty acids. A variety of compounds has been isolated from medicinal and edible mushrooms pointing to their antioxidant, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, anti-neurodegenerative, antidiabetic, anticancer and other pharmacological properties. Many of the fungal compounds belonging to terpenes, terpenoids, sterols, lactones, phenolics, lectins, polysaccharides were shown to possess anticancer, immunomodulatory, antimicrobial activities. Besides, edible mushrooms are continuously described in literature with uprising number of species being classified as functional food.
The need for this Research Topic is necessary, since this is an emerging scientific area with potential application in food and pharmaceutical industries. Fungi and their extracts are added in different types of food to prevent microbial spoilage and increase antioxidant capacities of food products such as yogurt, cheese, different types of cookies, while at the same time providing efficient taste for demanding modern consumers. Recently, herbal teas and extracts of medicinal and edible plants are suggested as potential ingredients in beverages, providing antimicrobial self-preserving properties of the final products and lowering or excluding the use of synthetic additives.
This Research Topic will cover the effects of herbal teas and extracts, mushrooms and isolated compounds from them on various diseases and conditions. Pharmacological potential of this material will be covered with described chemical constituents responsible for such actions.
Scope of this Research Topic will include, but it is not limited to:
- Herbal teas and edible mushrooms beneficial effects in various diseases and medical conditions
- Health-beneficial effects of isolated compounds from herbal teas and mushrooms
- Therapeutic potential in cardiovascular diseases, infections, diabetes, cancer and other chronic disorders
- In vitro biological activities of tea plants and edible mushrooms
- Chemical characterization of edible mushrooms and herbal teas
- Application of herbal teas and edible mushrooms in food products
Keywords: Food Chemistry, Functional Foods, Mycology, Nutraceuticals, Pharmaceuticals
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