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Chemical Composition and Hepatoprotective Effects of Polyphenol- Rich Extract from Houttuynia cordata Tea

The liver plays a pivotal role in metabolism and detoxification of various components entering the body, and hepatic injury associated with these metabolic dysfunctions can result in many disorders ranging from transient elevation of liver enzymes to life-threatening hepatic fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma. Therefore, it is of great importance to develop hepatoprotective agents to protect people from liver injury. However, the number of investigated medicines used successfully is limited, and some of them have potential adverse effects, especially when administered chronically or subchroni-cally.

In recent years, the use of active dietary ingredients and traditional herbs, which are believed to be harmless and free from serious adverse reactions, for the prevention and treatment of liver diseases has increased all over the world. Within these natural phytoconstituents, dietary polyphenols such as flavonoids contain a number of phenolic hydroxyl groups and have been demonstrated to be the key ingredients responsible for the beneficial effect, which is mainly due to their scavenging activity against reactive oxygen species (ROS). It is widely recognized that ROS can cause cell damage via the mechanism involving lipid peroxidation with subsequent tissue injury, especially liver injury. For this reason, it is of the highest priority to find natural antioxidants, especially polyphenol-rich fractions, for preventing or attenuat-ing toxic liver injury today.

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