REVIEW ARTICLE


A Review on the Recent Flavoring Herbal Medicines of Today



Rashmi S. Pal1, *
iD
, Yogendra Pal1
iD
, Nikita Saraswat1
iD
, Pranay Wal1
iD

1 Department of Pharmacy, Pranveer Singh Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India


© 2020 Pal et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pharmacy, Pranveer Singh Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India; E-mail: rashmisaxenapal@gmail.com


Abstract

Background:

Herbs are the most trending taste enhancers, carrying multiple benefits. Sprinkling them in minute amounts in pasta, salads, sautéed vegetables, curries, fried rice or adding them in dips and sauces can lead to enhanced flavours. The fresh and dried versions serve the same purpose, especially when the fresh ones are not available.

Objective:

The objective of this article is to explore and review trending flavouring herbs of the present era with reference to the knowledge available from previous texts.

Materials and Methods:

A literature review has been performed on various herbs such as dill, cilantro, parsley, chives, mint, oregano, etc, which can be used as healthy and taste enhancing sprinklers and garnishers for foods.

Results:

There are various herbs present in nature in many forms and patterns, some provide anti-inflammatory benefits, are anti-microbial and most of them are digestive in nature.

Conclusion:

These herbs are very rich in phytoconstituents, having multiple properties like anti-oxidant and carminative effects. They are superior as compared to artificial additives as well.

Keywords: Flavour, Herbs, Foods, Phytoconstituents, Carminative, Health.



1. INTRODUCTION

Herbs and spices serve both for culinary and medicinal purposes for ages. They provide multiple uses in addition to enhancing the flavor of foods and desserts. The nutritional contribution of these dietary important herbs is negligible due to their small amounts consumed [1-4]. Herbs are mainly leafy and green belongings of the non-woody plants found in the temperate zone. While fresh, herbs have more aroma, but spices are mostly more useful in dried powder form. Sometimes both herbs and spices are obtained from the same plant. The seeds from the dill plant are used as spices, while the stalk of the plant is a herb [5-9]. Spices have been used for not only flavour and aroma of the foods but also provide antimicrobial properties. Spices including Clove or Eugenia caryophyllus, Cinnamon in the form of Cinnamomum zeylancium, Black pepper or Piper nigrum, Turmeric as Curcuma longa and Ajwain or Trachyspermum ammi are very effective as anti-bacterials. Spices have been recognized for their value of preserving foods and medicinal values due to richness in bioactive antimicrobial compounds [10-13]. The present review is based on the trending herbs being used as flavour enhancers, along with the health benefits offered by them in the present era.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS

A literature review was performed to pertain to the information about herbs used as flavour enhancers, carminatives etc. The search was done on Google scholar, Pubmed, MEDSCAPE, Scopus, BMC, Science Direct, MEDLINE database, SCOPEMED and other databases, using keywords like flavour, herbs, foods, phytoconstituents. etc. The information was also extracted from various books of Pharmacognosy available in the Library of Pranveer Singh Institute of Technology, Kanpur, NBRI Lucknow. Available dissertations/thesis and various research articles were also investigated.

3. CURRENT SCENARIO OF FLAVOURING HERBS

The flavor market is still developing and offers multiple benefits for novices to flourish in this market. Additional factors such as awareness among users, present specific health and nutritional needs are strongly beneficiating the food and beverage sector, which, in turn, are promoting the over all market. There is a huge demand for new varieties, mainly in the health foods and beverages, a trend which is expected to continue in the future. Examples of phyto constituents, from Apiaceae family are coumarins and flavonoids compounds like psoralen, 5-methoxypsoralen, 8-methoxypsoralen and apigenin that could inhibit CYP1A2-mediated activation of carcinogens. Anethole is a key phenolic compound in volatile oil of anise and an estrogen receptor and could inhibit cell survival. Herbs, spices and seasonings play an important role in reducing sodium and even sugar in processed products. Formulators are substituting salt in foods with acidic lemon juice, vinegar, herbs, spices and seasoning blends. Some of the best flavorful herbs used to replace sodium would be basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro etc.

The main herbs discussed in this paper are illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1. Flavouring herbs.
S.No Herb Botanical Name Form Used Health Benefits
1. Basil Ocimum sanctum leaves Immunity-booster
2. Parsley Petroselinum crispum leaves Anti-oxidant
3. Oregano Origanum vulgare Leaves and flowers Anti-microbial
4. Thyme Thymus vulgaris Oil from flowers Carminative
5. Dill Anethum graveolens L. Seeds and leaves Digestive
6. Cilantro Coriandrum sativum L. Leaves and stems Anti-flatulence
7. Chives Allium schoenoprasum L leaves Anti-oxidant
8. Mint Mentha piperata leaves Coolant

3.1. Basil (Tulsi)

Holy basil as shown in Fig. (1) can inhibit the growth of a range of microbes [14]. One small study highlighted that it can enhance the functioning of the immune system by increasing the number of certain immune cells in the blood. Holy basil also reduces blood sugar levels before and after meals, as well as, is used for treating anxiety and anxiety-related depression. It is also an antioxidant, which inhibits lipid peroxidation and decreases inflammation. There are different types of basil, which are different in taste and smell. Sweet basil, because of its high concentration of eugenol, is the most commercially available basil used in Italian food. Alternatively, lime and lemon basil have a strong citrus scent due to their high concentration of limonene. Basil is rich in essential oils, phenolic compounds and a wide variety of other natural products as polyphenols like flavonoids and anthocyanins. It has multiple culinary applications in baking, beverages and ice cream. Extract from pure Basil can also be used in butter cream, lemon, strawberry, coffee or chocolate flavored cakes [15-18].

Fig. (1). Basil.

3.2. Parsley

Parsley is used as a garnish for adding finishing touches to a dish or cuisine. It imparts freshness and brightness of colour. Parsley as shown in Fig. (2), belongs to the family of Apiaceae, making it relatable to other herbs such as carrot, cumin and dill [19]. It is a source of flavonoid and antioxidants, especially luteolin, folic acid, vitamin K, C and A. Half a tablespoon of dried parsley is rich in 6.0 µg of lycopene and 10.7 µg of alpha carotene, along with 82.9 µg of lutein and zeaxanthin and 80.7 µg of beta carotene. While flat parsley is primarily useful in seasoning purposes as it imparts robust taste such baking it into a meatloaf or bread. It has a sweet and tender flavour which is closer along the lines of a carrot. Excessive consumption of parsley is not preferable for pregnant women. It is safe in normal quantities, but large amounts may have uterotonic effects.2-6 leaves also are used as a food flavor and for gastrointestinal disorders [20-22].

Fig. (2). Parsley.

3.3. Oregano

Also called as Ajwain leaves, belong to O. vulgare subspecies hirtum, which has a spicy flavor. This subspecies carry furry leaves and floppy white flowers. Mexican oregano has the same properties but comes from a different plant, Lippia graveolens Kunth, better used as an antioxidant and antimicrobial. Origanum vulgare, a member of the plant family Lamiaceae is generally the spice variety sold as oregano in Europe and the United States. Its light green leaves are used in either dry or fresh form in the form of culinary seasoning. Two constituents of oregano, such as carvacrol and thymol are very important as there are so many species of Origanum, used as condiment and for medicinal purposes. There are variations in the profiles of bioactive constituents and in the expected beneficial effects. [23-28]

3.4. Thyme

Also known as Ajwain ke Phool, provides the essential oil of common thyme or Thymus vulgaris, containing 20 - 54% thymol. Thyme essential oil also contains terpenes such as p-cymene, myrcene, borneol and linalool. It is used in meat or vegetable, fish, beans, pizza, stuffings, fish sauces, cheese and egg dishes. The flavor and smell of thyme as shown in Fig. (3), enhances the cuisine it is used in and gives dishes a delicacy that is incomparable [29]. However, it is essential that the herb is used in the proper way to provide the best of its advantage. Fresh thyme has a pronounced, concentrated herbal flavor with sharp floral notes [30-33].

Fig. (3). Thyme.

3.5. Dill

Anethum graveolens L. as shown in Fig. (4), is the only species of the genus Anethum, though classified in the related genus Peucedanum as Peucedanum graveolens [34]. Anethum seeds are used as a spice and its fresh and dried leaves are used as condiment. The aromatic herb is commonly used for flavoring and seasoning of various foods such as pickles, salads, sauces and soups. Fresh or dried leaves are used for meats, fish, sandwiches and fish sauces. It is also an essential ingredient of sour vinegar. Dill oil is obtained from seeds, leaves and stems, which contains essential oil, which is used as a flavoring agent in the food industry. Fresh dill is often added to seafood, yogurt sauces, vinegar, potato salads, fresh-baked breads and soups and it can also be used as a garnisher like parsley [35-40].

Fig. (4). Dill.

3.6. Cilantro

or Coriandrum sativum Linn. has many medicinal properties. It refers to the leaves and stems of the coriander plant. Cilantro as in Fig. (5), has a very different flavor as quite pungent [41]. It provides good taste to spicy foods.The green leaves of coriander are known as “asotu” in the Eastern Anatolian region or “cilantro” consumed as a fresh herb. Coriander seed oil contains linalool (60-70%) and 20% hydrocarbons and the composition of the herb oil completely differs from the seed oil. The essential oil of ripe and a dried fruit of coriander varies between 0.03 and 2.6%, and the content of fatty oil varies between 9.9 and 27.7%. Dried coriander seeds contain essential oil (0.03-2.6%) with linalool as the main component. Other components of the essential oil are: α-thujene, sabinene, β-pinene, myrcene, p-vymene, limonene, z-β-ocimene, y-terpenin, terpinolene, camphor, citronellal, trpinene-4-ol, decanal. Cumin aldehyde and geranyl acetate [42-45].

Fig. (5). Cilantro.

3.7. Chives

Allium schoenoprasum L. is native to the cooler regions of Europe and Asia. Cultivated by gardeners since the Middle Ages, it is now is available at home any-where. Chives, as shown in Fig. (6),is used for garnishing, in salads, mayonnaise, vegetable, soups, creamy sauces, adding the herb to the dish just before serving [46]. Purple-blue chive flowers are also used as a garnishers. The main polyphenolic constituents of its leaves are p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, isoquercitrin and rutin. It is also rich in malonic diesters of cyanidin 3-glicoside, 3-sophoroside-7-glucosiduronic acid or kaempferol [47-49]. This member of the onion family, is widely used as a culinary herb to provide mild onion flavour to many foods like salads, soups, vegetables and sauces. Chive has green leaves and pale purple edible flowers. The plant is used in traditional folk medicine as digestive, anti-anaemic, enhances the immune system and also acts as a blood cleanser. Recent studies have reflected the antioxidant properties of the bulb, leaf and stalk of plant as shown in Fig. (6) [50-53].

Fig. (6). Chives.

3.8. Mint

Allium schoenoprasum L. Mint is a herb as in Fig. (7), which is used for its antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant effects [54]. Peppermint is one of the mentha species, which is mentha piperita, mentha arvensis etc. Menthol and menthone are the major constituents of the peppermint essential oil [55-59]. Peppermint is used for the treatment of dyspepsia without any known side effects. It improves the gastric emptying rate. Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultures have been using the herb in cooking as well as in medicine [60-65].

Fig. (7). Mint.

4. FUTURE PROSPECTS OF FLAVOURING HERBS

The future of the Indian flavors market is based on the launch of novel foods and beverages containing health and functional ingredients. Innovation in flavor variants of major resources, elevation of sales force potential and technological refinement are the main factors for the success of a flavor industry. The addition of herbs, spices, and botanicals to food and beverages enhances flavor, helps replace sodium, sugar, artificial colors and flavors and solves some health issues. Every year, trendy new combinations of spices and herbs come in the limelight. Cardamom, hatch chile, doenjang and turmeric are gaining interest in the supermarkets today, as are green and herbal, hot and spicy and even floral flavors. People want as authentic and traditional a flavor as possible. Latin American flavors include garlic and onion, cumin and coriander, or strong herbal flavors of parsley and cilantro in the form of chimichurri. The use of ethnic condiments will continue to grow with the great demand from millennials, who always want something new.

CONCLUSION

The main health benefits of culinary herbs and spices are because of the presence of polyphenols. They add flavors to the cuisine and give dishes a delicacy that is incomparable with any other herb. It is necessary to use the proper part of the herb in a proper way for its best advantage. It is effective to treat dyspepsia without any side effects. It helps in the gastric emptying rate. It enhances the flavor of seafood, yogurt, sauces, vinegar, salads, breads and soups and it can also be used as a garnish like parsley. They are rich in dietary polyphenols, known for reducing the risk of developing chronic non-communicable diseases. However, normally in small quantities and in combination with other foods, they are used. They offer a wide range of essential oils, phenolic compounds as flavonoids and anthocyanins. They have a wide variety of applications in baking, beverages and ice cream.

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

Not applicable.

FUNDING

None.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Declared none.

REFERENCES

[1] Tapsell LC, Hemphill I, Cobiac L, et al. Health benefits of herbs and spices: The past, the present, the future. Med J Aust 2006; 185(S4): S1-S24.
[2] Ghawi SK, Rowland I, Methven L. Enhancing consumer liking of low salt tomato soup over repeated exposure by herb and spice seasonings. Appetite 2014; 81: 20-9.
[3] Carlsen MH, Blomhoff R, Andersen LF. Intakes of culinary herbs and spices from a food frequency questionnaire evaluated against 28-days estimated records. Nutr J 2011; 10: 50.
[4] Pérez-Jiménez J, Fezeu L, Touvier M, et al. Dietary intake of 337 polyphenols in French adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 93(6): 1220-8.
[5] Food and Drug Administration. Chap 5: Foods, Colors and Cosmetics 2007; 205-8.
[6] Chen CH, deGraffenried LA. Anethole suppressed cell survival and induced apoptosis in human breast cancer cells independent of estrogen receptor status. Phytomedicine 2012; 19(8-9): 763-7.
[7] Gagandeep S, Dhanalakshmi S, Méndiz E, Rao AR, Kale RK. Chemopreventive effects of Cuminum cyminum in chemically induced forestomach and uterine cervix tumors in murine model systems. Nutr Cancer 2003; 47(2): 171-80.
[8] Bush JA, Cheung KJJ Jr, Li G. Curcumin induces apoptosis in human melanoma cells through a fas receptor/caspase-8 pathway independent of p53. Exp Cell Res 2001; 271(2): 305-14.
[9] Jung EM, Lim JH, Lee TJ, Park JW, Choi KS, Kwon TK. Curcumin sensitizes tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis through reactive oxygen species-mediated upregulation of death receptor 5 (DR5). Carcinogenesis 2005; 26(11): 1905-13.
[10] Islam SMD. Transient receptor potential channels 2011; 50.
[11] Jett JW. That devilish parsley west virginia university extension service 2007.
[12] Krishnaswamy k. Traditional indian spices and their health significance. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008; 17(S1): 265-8.
[13] Mitchell M. Inspections, compliance, enforcement, and criminal investigations: Warning letter to young living 9/22/14 2014.
[14] BARITAUX O.. Effects of drying and storage of herbs and spices on the essential oil. Part I. Basil, Ocimum basilicum L Flavour Fragr 1992; 7: 267-71.
[15] Hasegawa Y.. Tajima k., Toi n., Sugimura y. Characteristic components found in the essential oil of Ocimum basilicum L Flavour Fragrance J 1997; 12: 195-200.
[16] Koba k., Nambo p., Gaset A. Chemical investigation of Ocimum species growing in Togo Flavour Fragrance J 1998; 13: 226-32.
[17] Rao J.T. In vitro antimicrobial studies of the essential oil of Cyperus scariosus and Ocimum basilicum Ind Drugs 1979; 16: 150-2.
[18] Lawrence B.M.. A review of the world production of essential oil. Perfum Flavor 1985; 10: 2-16.
[19] Chaves DS, Frattani FS, Assafim M, de Almeida AP, de Zingali RB, Costa SS. Phenolic chemical composition of Petroselinum crispum extract and its effect on haemostasis Nat Prod Commun 2011; 6(7): 961-4.
[20] Yoshikawa M, Uemura T, Shimoda H, Kishi A, Kawahara Y, Matsuda H. Medicinal foodstuffs. XVIII. Phytoestrogens from the aerial part of Petroselinum crispum MIll. (Parsley) and structures of 6"-acetylapiin and a new monoterpene glycoside, petroside. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2000; 48(7): 1039-44.
[21] Gadi D, Bnouham M, Aziz M, et al. Flavonoids purified from parsley inhibit human blood platelet aggregation and adhesion to collagen under flow. J Complement Integr Med 2012; 9: 19.
[22] Hudson CS. Apiose and the Glycosides of the Parsley Plant. Adv Carbohydr Chem 1949; 4: 57-7.
[23] Fleisher A, Sneer N. Oregano spices and Origanumchemo types. J Sci Food Agric 1982; 33: 441Y446.
[24] Hazzit M, Baaliouamer A, Faleiro L, Miguel M. Compositionof the essential oils of Thymus and Origanum species from Algeria and their antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. J Agric Food Chem 2006; 54: 6314Y6321.
[25] Figueredo F, Cabassu P, Chalchat J, Pasquier B. Studies of Mediterranean oregano populations VIIIV chemical composition of essential oils of oregano of various origins. Flav Frag J 2006; 21: 134Y139.
[26] Figueredo G, Cabassu P, Chalchat J, Pasquier B. Studies of Mediterranean oregano populations VV. Chemical composition of essential oils of oregano: Origanum syriacumL. var. siniacum (Boiss.) Ietswaart, O. syriacumL. var. syriacum (Bioss.) Ietswaart, and O. syriacum L. var. syriacum from Lebanon and Israel Flav Frag J 2004; 20: 164Y168.
[27] Dorman H, Bachmyer O, Kosar M, Hironen P. Antioxidant properties of aqueous extracts from selected Lamiaceae species grown in Turkey. J Agric Food Chem 2004; 52: 762Y770.
[28] D’Antuono F, Galletti G, Bocchini P. Variability of essential oil content and composition of Origanum vulgareL. Populations from a North Mediterranean area (Liguriaregion, Northern Italy) Ann Botany 2000; 86: 471Y478.
[29] Thomson PDR. PDR for Herbal medicines, Thompson PDR, Montvale 3rd ed. 2004.
[30] Passet J. Thymus vulgaris L. chemotaxonomie et biogenese monoterpenique. [MS thesis] 1971.
[31] Council of Europe European (COE) and European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines. (EDQM), European Pharmacopoeia, Council of Europe European (COE), European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines 6th ed. 2008.
[32] Available from: http://www.baltikjunior.com/o-divljem-origanu /farmakokinetika-karvakrol-i-timol/
[33] Thompson JD. Population structure and the spatial dynamics of genetic polymorphism in ThymeThyme: The Genus Thymus 2002; 44-74.
[34] A. Can ˇ carevi ˇ c, B. Bugarski, K. ´ Savikin, and G. Zduni ˇ c, “Bio- ´ logical activity and ethnomedicinal use Thymus vulgaris and Thymus serpyllum. Medical Material 2013; 33: 3-17.
[35] Pulliah T. Medicinal plants in India 2002; Vol. 1: 55-6.
[36] Warrier PK, Nambiar VPK, Ramakutty C. Arya Vaidya Sala 1994; 153-4.
[37] Blank I, Grosch W. Evaluation of potent odorants in dill seed anddill herb (Anethum graveolens L.) by aroma extract dilution analysis. J Food Sci 1991; 56: 63-7.
[38] Huopalathi R, Linko RR. Composition and content of aroma compounds in dill, Anethum graveolens L., at three different growth stages. J Agric Food Chem 1983; 31: 331-3.
[39] Lawless J. The illustrated encyclopedia of essential oils 1995; 83.
[40] Chaubey MK. Insecticidal activity of Trachspermum ammi (Umbelliferae), Anethum graveolens (Umbelliferae) and Nigella sativa(Ranunculaceae) essential oils against stored-product beetle Tribolium castaneum Herbst Coleoptra: Tenebrionidae Afr J Agric Res 2007; 2: 596-600.
[41] Kirtikar KP, Basu BD, Mahaskar C. Indian medicinal plants 2nd ed. 1987; Vol. 2: 1219.
[42] Coskuner Y, Karababa E. Physical properties of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum L.). J Food Eng 2006; 80: 408-16.
[43] Guenther E. The essential oil 1950; Vol. IV: 602-15.
[44] Eikani MH, Golmohammad F, Rowshanzamir S. Subcritical water extraction of essential oils from coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum L.). J Food Eng 2007; 80: 735-40.
[45] Rastogi RP, Mehrotra BN. Compendium of Indian medicinal Plants 1993; Vol. II: 212.
[46] Telci I, Gul TO, Sahbaz N. Yield, essential oil content and composition of Coriandrum sativum varieties (var. Vulgare Alef and var. microcarpum DC.) grown in two different locations. J Essent Oil Res 2006; 18: 189-93.
[47] Yoshida H, Katsuzaki H, Ohta R, et al. Antimicrobial activity of the thiosulfinates isolated from oil-macerated garlic extract. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1999; 63(3): 591-4.
[48] Yoshida K, Mori M, Kondo T. Blue flower color development by anthocyanins: from chemical structure to cell physiology. Nat Prod Rep 2009; 26(7): 884-915.
[49] Awad AB, Fink CS. Phytosterols as anticancer dietary components: Evidence and mechanism of action. J Nutr 2000; 130(9): 2127-30.
[50] Ban JO, Hwang IG, Kim TM, et al. Anti-proliferate and pro-apoptotic effects of 2,3-dihydro-3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl-4H-pyranone through inactivation of NF-kappaB in human colon cancer cells. Arch Pharm Res 2007; 30(11): 1455-63.
[51] Gardner JA. Herbs in bloom: A guide to growing herbs as ornamental plants 1998; 81-5.
[52] Roberts M. Edible and medicinal flowers 2000; 160.
[53] Small E, Deutsch G. Culinary herbs for short-season gardeners 2001; 59-62.
[54] Stajner D, Canadanović-Brunet J, Pavlović A. Allium schoenoprasum L., as a natural antioxidant Phytother Res 2004; 18(7): 522-4.
[55] Eccles R. Menthol and related cooling compounds. J Pharm Pharmacol 1994; 46(8): 618-30.
[56] Foster S. Peppermint: Mentha piperita. American Botanical Council - Botantical Series 1996; 306: 3-8.
[57] Murray MT. The healing power of herbs: the enlightened person’s guide to the wonders of medicinal plants. Rocklin, CA. Prima Pub 1995; xiv: 410.
[58] Hoffman D. The complete illustrated holistic herbal 1996; 256.
[59] Bove M. An encyclopedia of natural healing for children & infants 1996.
[60] Blumenthal M. The complete German commission E monographs: Therapeutic guide to herbal medicines. American Botanical Council 1998; 684.
[61] Paula Gardiner Peppermint Page 8 Longwood Herbal Task Force 2000. Available from: http://www.mcp.edu/herbal/
[62] Hoffman D. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies 1996; 256.
[63] Bove M. An encyclopedia of natural healing for children & infants 1996; 352.
[64] Blumenthal M. The complete German Commission E monographs: Therapeutic guide to herbal medicines Austin: American Botanical Council 1998; 684.
[65] El-Kady IA, El-Maraghy SSM, Mostafa ME. Antibacterial and antidermatophyte activities of some essential oils from spices. Qatar University Science Journal 1993; 13: 63-9.