Ionizing radiations produce deleterious effects in the living organisms and the rapid technological advancement has increased human exposure to ionizing radiations enormously. There is a need to protect humans against such effects of ionizing radiation. Attempts to protect against the deleterious effects of ionizing radiations by pharmacological intervention were made as early as 1949 and efforts are continued to search radioprotectors, which may be of great help for human application. This review mainly dwells on the radioprotective potential of plant and herbal extracts.
The results obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that several botanicals such as Gingko biloba, Centella asiatica, Hippophae rhamnoides, Ocimum sanctum, Panax ginseng, Podophyllum hexandrum, Amaranthus paniculatus, Emblica officinalis, Phyllanthus amarus, Piper longum, Tinospora cordifoila, Mentha arvensis, Mentha piperita, Syzygium cumini, Zingiber officinale, Ageratum conyzoides, Aegle marmelos and Aphanamixis polystachya protect against radiation-induced lethality, lipid peroxidation and DNA damage. The fractionation-guided evaluation may help to develop new radioprotectors of desired activities.