Exploring Plants with Flowers: From Therapeutic Nutritional Benefits to Innovative Sustainable Uses

Elena Coyago-Cruz, Melany Moya, Gabriela Méndez, Michael Villacís, Patricio Rojas-Silva, Mireia Corell, Paula Mapelli-Brahm, Isabel M. Vicario, Antonio J. Meléndez-Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Flowers have played a significant role in society, focusing on their aesthetic value rather than their food potential. This study’s goal was to look into flowering plants for everything from health benefits to other possible applications. This review presents detailed information on 119 species of flowers with agri-food and health relevance. Data were collected on their family, species, common name, commonly used plant part, bioremediation applications, main chemical compounds, medicinal and gastronomic uses, and concentration of bioactive compounds such as carotenoids and phenolic compounds. In this respect, 87% of the floral species studied contain some toxic compounds, sometimes making them inedible, but specific molecules from these species have been used in medicine. Seventy-six percent can be consumed in low doses by infusion. In addition, 97% of the species studied are reported to have medicinal uses (32% immune system), and 63% could be used in the bioremediation of contaminated environments. Significantly, more than 50% of the species were only analysed for total concentrations of carotenoids and phenolic compounds, indicating a significant gap in identifying specific molecules of these bioactive compounds. These potential sources of bioactive compounds could transform the health and nutraceutical industries, offering innovative approaches to combat oxidative stress and promote optimal well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4066
JournalFoods
Volume12
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • carotenoids
  • edible flowers
  • flavonoids
  • functional foods
  • natural dyes
  • nutraceuticals
  • phenolic compounds

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