Plant-based antihypertensive preparations are abundantly used in traditional medicinal practices in many parts of the world including the Republic of Suriname (South America). In some cases, their apparent blood pressurelowering activity may be related to inhibition of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). In this literature review, 12 plants that are commonly used in Suriname for treating hypertension have been compiled and assessed for an involvement of ACE inhibition in this condition. The 12 most commonly used ‘antihypertensive’ plants with ACEinhibitory properties are Ruellia tuberosa, Mangifera indica, Apium graveolens, Cocos nucifera, Cucumis sativus, Momordica charantia, Punica granatum, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Musa x paradisiaca, Averrhoa bilimbi, Phyllanthus amarus, and Piper betle. All of them inhibited ACE activity in vitro, 3 (M. charantia, P. granatum, and P. betle) inhibited ACE activity in laboratory animals as well, and 2 (P. granatum and M. paradisiaca) were also active against ACE in human subjects. Indications about the identity of the pharmacologically active ingredient(s) were available for R. tuberosa, M. indica, A. graveolens, M. charantia, H. sabdariffa, and P. amarus. In most cases, the active ingredient(s) were associated with phenolic compounds. The results from this study support the involvement of ACE inhibition in the blood pressure-lowering activity of traditionally used Surinamese medicinal plants but also indicate that the scientific evidence for this contention is limited. Further pharmacological studies on these aspects as well as the pharmacologically active constituents of the plants are warranted, since they may help identify novel plant-based ACE inhibitors.
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