Nutraceutical Properties in Flowers

Nutraceutical Properties in Flowers

Mamta Bohra (G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, India) and Amit Visen (G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2970-5.ch010
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Flowers are associated with human life since time immemorial. Beside aesthetic beauty, several flowers are used for edible purpose viz., rose, marigold, calendula, hibiscus, hollyhock, carnation, chrysanthemum, nasturtium, lotus, cosmos and pansies etc. These flowers have medicinal as well as nutritional values and are rich source of vitamins, antioxidants and mineral elements. The flowers are enriched with various pigments viz., chlorophyll, flavonoids, xanthophylls, carotenoids, betalains and anthocyanin that are generally used in coloring food, beverage, and textile and paper industries. Edible flowers have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antimicrobial and antimutagenic properties too. The flowers are used as vegetables and other purpose since time immemorial, however, flowers for supplementary health products is comparatively a new concept and therefore needs further research to utilize flowers as nutraceuticals.
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Today is the era of modernization and industrialization which has shifted keen interest of people from living simple life to luxurious one. This luxurious life makes us lazy as well as creative to search out shortcut of everything especially with respect to food habits. One can see its evidence by knowing the popularity of fast or junk foods among all generations either child, youth and adults. These kinds of food don’t have any nutritional value but only provide taste to the tongue. Nowadays due to hectic life schedule of people, their unwillingness toward the outdoor activities and for saving time as well for taste of tongue they have started regular consumption of such types of food. Due to this approximately one third population of the world wide suffering from one of the biggest problem that is obesity. Other than obesity these types of eating habits also leads to various serious diseases in human beings viz., heart diseases, cholesterol, cancer, brain hemorrhage, osteoporosis and arthritis etc. (Das et al., 2012). Because of these diseases nowadays life expectancy rate is also become low. The peoples that are suffering from these diseases are become depended on medicine throughout their life span. By taking this medicine from the doctor one can alleviate the symptoms of diseases but cannot get rid of it. So, nowadays people are attracting towards its alternate source i.e., nutraceuticals. The concept of nutraceutical was given by Stephen De Flice in 1989, who was the founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine. The term nutraceutical consist of two words i.e., nutrition + pharmaceuticals. According to Stephen De Flice, nutraceutical can be defined as, a food that provides various health’s benefit as well as enriched in medicinal value too. Nutraceutical helps in prevention and curing of various diseases. Hippocrates stated that our food should be our medicine that helps in alleviating various diseases. Nutraceutical justified his statement by making a link between food and health. Nutraceutical is also known as functional food, designer food, dietary supplements, medical foods and nutritional supplements. According to Dillard & German, 2000 reported that nutraceutical foods have a capacity of curing various diseases in humans. Use of nutraceutical food regularly in diet has various health benefits. They are non toxic food extract. They are naturally occurring chemical compound found in foods. The nutraceutical food contains adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids and proteins (Zeisel, 1999; Whitman, 2005). There has been lots of work done by various scientists or researchers for finding out the nutraceutical values of fruits, vegetables, medicinal and cereal crops. However, the literatures on nutraceutical value of flowers are meager. So this chapter has written to explore the possibilities of nutraceutical values of ornamental plants.

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