Botanical Flavonoids on Coronary Heart Disease

Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research and Departments of Anesthesia and Critical Care, The Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
The American Journal of Chinese Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.76). 01/2011; 39(4):661-71. DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X1100910X
Source: PubMed


Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is one of the leading causes of death in Western countries. Prevention rather than treatment of heart disease can significantly improve patients' quality of life and reduce health care costs. Flavonoids are widely distributed in vegetables, fruits and herbal medicines. Regularly consuming botanicals, especially those containing flavonoids, has been associated with a reduction in cardiovascualar disease; thus, it is important to investigate how flavonoids improve cardiac resistance to heart disease and their related mechanisms of action. It has been shown that cardiomyocyte injury and death can result from ischemia-reperfusion, which is pathognomonic of ischemic heart disease. Massive reactive oxygen species (ROS) release at the onset of reperfusion produces cell injury and death. "Programming" the heart to either generate less ROS or to increase strategic ROS removal could reduce reperfusion response. Additionally, profuse nitric oxide (NO) release at reperfusion could be protective in "preconditioning" models. Botanical flavonoids induce preconditioning of the heart, thereby protecting against ischemia-reperfusion injury. In this article, we will discuss two herbs containing potent flavonoids, Scutellaria baicalensis and grape seed proanthocyanidin, which can potentially offer cardiac protection against ischemic heart disease.

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