Bitter Glycosides

2.10 Bitter Glycosides

In general, bitters are the edible natural products mostly consumed before any normal meals to stimulate as well as enhance the appetite. However, the bitter glycosides as a class do possess almost similar activities like the bitters such as: digestive, stomachic and febrifuge. Therapeutically, the bitters have been found to exert their stimulant effects on the gustatory (i.e.; related to the sense of taste) nerves located in the mouth and ultimately give rise to an improved gastric juice secretion in the stomach.

The bitter glycosides have been found not confined to the same chemical class, but the most important ones amongst them essentially possess the pyran cyclopentane ring.

A number of bitter glycosides isolated from natural plants have been put into actual therapeutic practice, namely: Picrorhiza, Gentian, and Chirata, which shall be discussed in the sections that follow.

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