Complex hemostatic mechanisms are involved in the pathophysiology of various diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Among them, dysregulation of platelet activity is linked to the progression of atherosclerosis and mainly involves platelet aggregation and a decrease in blood flow in the vascular endothelium. The major platelet activation pathways mediated by agonists involve the arachidonic acid pathway, adenosine diphosphate pathway, serotonin pathway, nitric oxide pathway, and action of free radicals on molecules involved in platelet aggregation. These mechanisms have been widely studied and discussed because they are inhibited by the use of medicinal plants in complementary and alternative medicine, thus reducing platelet aggregation.
Of the main plants discussed in this review, which have antiplatelet activity, some include saffron, garlic, green tea, St. John's wort, ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and guavirova. These herbal medicines have phytochemical components, which are directly related to the antiplatelet activity of the plant, such as flavonoids, curcumins, catechins, terpenoids, polyphenols, and saponins. While the majority of the medicinal plants mentioned here were native to the Asian continents, some are distributed worldwide, and found to a smaller extent throughout the American continent, European continent, Mediterranean, African continent, and the Middle East.
This review showed that several plants and/or compounds exhibit anti-platelet activity, and are therefore potential research targets for developing drugs to treat diseases related to aggregation disorders.