Chapter 6

Sambucus nigra L.: A Potential Source of Healthpromoting Components

Ângelo C. Salvador, Armando J. D. Silvestre and Sílvia M. Rocha


European elder plant, Sambucus nigra L., has been used since ancient times in folk medicine, and more recently in nutraceutical formulations, being considered the medicine “chest” from the days of Hippocratic medicine. This chapter aims at giving a general perspective of S. nigra L. berries and flowers potential as sources of healthpromoting compounds, covering first aspects ranging from its taxonomic classification and geographic distribution, current applications from food products to traditional medicine. Then, a detailed overview of berries and flowers chemical composition, specially focused on sterols, terpenic and phenolic components, and important factors that have impact on their biosynthesis and preservation are presented. Finally, the main findings regarding the potential health benefits of S. nigra-based preparations, namely antimicrobial, anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antidiabetic are also described, and special focus is devoted to diabetes mellitus and related complications, as it is a disease of a major threat to human health due to its alarming incidence growth.

Total Pages: 343-392 (50)

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