There are thousands of individual phytoactives that have been identified and many are highly valued for the active role they play in human health.
Phytoactives are the protective molecules that play a specialised role in a plant’s defence systems. They form part of a complex chemical system that plants can call upon in response to each specific threat. These have evolved with intelligent forms of defence to protect them from attack from sources as diverse as insects, pathogens, bacteria and viruses.
Some of the more well-known phytoactives include theobromine, derived from cacao plants, which is the active ingredient in chocolate that improves mood and feelings of wellbeing. Another is salicin, derived from the willow tree, which is the key component in the world’s most popular form of pain relief medication, Aspirin.
The research that is driving this next wave of discoveries is focused on a powerful group of phytoactives, known as neuro-phytoactives, that actively benefit the brain. They have been shown to support brain function and cognition, and also regulate our body’s inflammatory responses. This research is revealing new and powerful ways to address the rise in modern ailments, such as low mood, mental wellbeing and emotional imbalance.