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Lamiaceae Family Description Essay

Abstract

Herbs and spices have been used since ancient times to improve the sensory characteristics of food, to act as preservatives and for their nutritional and healthy properties. Herbs and spices are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and are excellent substitutes for chemical additives. Essential oils are mixtures of volatile compounds obtained, mainly by steam distillation, from medicinal and aromatic plants. They are an alternative to synthetic additives for the food industry, and they have gained attention as potential sources for natural food preservatives due to the growing interest in the development of safe, effective, natural food preservation. Lamiaceae is one of the most important families in the production of essential oils with antioxidants and antimicrobial properties. Aromatic plants are rich in essential oils and are mainly found in the Mediterranean region, where the production of such oils is a profitable source of ecological and economic development. The use of essential oils with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to increase the shelf life of food is a promising technology, and the essential oils of the Lamiaceae family, such as rosemary, thyme, and sage, have been extensively studied with respect to their use as food preservatives. Regarding the new applications of essential oils, this review gives an overview of the current knowledge and recent trends in the use of these oils from aromatic plants as antimicrobials and antioxidants in foods, as well as their biological activities, future potential, and challenges. View Full-Text

Keywords: aromatic plants; essential oil; food additives; antioxidant; antimicrobialaromatic plants; essential oil; food additives; antioxidant; antimicrobial

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nieto, G. Biological Activities of Three Essential Oils of the Lamiaceae Family. Medicines2017, 4, 63.

AMA Style

Nieto G. Biological Activities of Three Essential Oils of the Lamiaceae Family. Medicines. 2017; 4(3):63.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nieto, Gema. 2017. "Biological Activities of Three Essential Oils of the Lamiaceae Family." Medicines 4, no. 3: 63.

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Lamiaceae, formerly called Labiatae, the mint family of flowering plants, with 236 genera and more than 7,000 species, the largest family of the order Lamiales. Lamiaceae is distributed nearly worldwide, and many species are cultivated for their fragrant leaves and attractive flowers. The family is particularly important to humans for herb plants useful for flavour, fragrance, or medicinal properties.

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Lamiales: Lamiaceae

Most members of Lamiaceae are annual or perennial herbs, though molecular studies indicate that some of the woody genera formerly placed in Verbenaceae belong in Lamiaceae. Delimited this way, there are 236 genera and 7,173 species in Lamiaceae. The primary centre of distribution of…

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Most members of the family are perennial or annual herbs with square stems, though some species are woody shrubs or subshrubs. The leaves are typically simple and oppositely arranged; most are fragrant and contain volatile oils. The flowers are usually arranged in clusters and feature two-lipped, open-mouthed, tubular corollas (united petals) with five-lobed bell-like calyxes (united sepals). The fruit is commonly a dry nutlet.

Best known for its sharp fragrance is rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), a Mediterranean species. Also Mediterranean is lavender (Lavandula officinalis), with fragrant blue to lavender flowers in leafless spikes. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) was once used as a curative herb.

There are about 350 species in the genusThymus, all of which are Eurasian. Wild thyme (T. praecox), with scented leaves, is a creeping plant that is native in Europe but naturalized in eastern North America. Its foliage and flower heads resemble those of garden thyme (T. vulgaris), the source of the kitchen herb.

Of the 150 tropical species of Ocimum, basil (O. basilicum) is perhaps the most well known; the plant is likely native to India but is cultivated as a culinary herb in other regions. The genus Origanum, native in Europe, includes 15 to 20 species, chief among them being marjoram (O. majorana) and oregano (O. vulgare).

Catnip, or catmint (Nepeta cataria), a Eurasian perennial, grows to about 1 metre (3.3 feet) and has downy heart-shaped leaves with an aroma that is stimulating to cats.

Betony (Stachys officinalis) was once regarded as a cure-all, and other plants of the genus Stachys, or the woundworts generally, had supposed value as folk remedies. Self-heal, or heal-all (Prunella vulgaris), provided another important source of herbal medicine. The 40 to 50 species of the genus Lamium are known as dead nettles; they are low weedy plants that are sometimes cultivated as medicinal plants.

Among the approximately 100 species of the genus Phlomis is Jerusalem sage (P. tuberosa), which rises to almost 2 metres (6.5 feet) and has clusters of purple flowers. It is native to Eurasia and is naturalized in North America. One of the 40 species of the African genus Leonotis, klip dagga, or lion’s ear (L. nepetifolia), is naturalized throughout the tropics; it has red-orange globe clusters of profuse flowers at the top of the 1- to 2-metre plants. See alsoColeus; Mentha; Monarda.

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