Hypertension is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Interest in medicinal or nutraceutical plant bioactives to reduce hypertension has increased dramatically. The main biological regulation of mammalian blood pressure is via the renin–angiotensin-aldosterone system. The key enzyme is angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) that converts angiotensin I into the powerful vasoconstrictor, angiotensin II. Angiotensin II binds to its receptors (AT1) on smooth muscle cells of the arteriole vasculature causing vasoconstriction and elevation of blood pressure. This review focuses on the in vitro and in vivo reports of plant-derived extracts that inhibit ACE activity, block angiotensin II receptor binding and demonstrate hypotensive activity in animal or human studies. We describe 74 families of plants that exhibited significant ACE inhibitory activity and 16 plant families with potential AT1 receptor blocking activity, according to in vitro studies. From 43 plant families including some of those with in vitro bioactivity, the extracts from 73 plant species lowered blood pressure in various normotensive or hypertensive in vivo models by the oral route. Of these, 19 species from 15 families lowered human BP when administered orally. Some of the active plant extracts, isolated bioactives and BP-lowering mechanisms are discussed.
- angiotensin converting enzyme
- blood pressure