Steroids and their Medicinal Potential

An Overview of Natural Steroid Sources and their Therapeutic Profile

Author(s): Mahalakshmi Krishnan, Livya Catherene Martin, Parimalanandhini Duraisamy, Sangeetha Ravi, Beulaja Manikandan, Janarthanan Sundaram and Ramar Manikandan * .

Pp: 39-58 (20)

DOI: 10.2174/789815049336123010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Natural steroids are organic compounds that play important physiological roles in various organisms. They are the key components of a cell, which act as important signalling molecules engaging in stress response, metabolic activities, reproduction, inflammation, and behavioural uniformities. Naturally, the human body embraces a cluster of steroids in the form of biological hormones, namely, sex hormones, adrenal cortical hormones and bile acids. Steroidal derivatives can imitate human hormones and exhibit their activities by boosting enzymes that the body lacks. Clinically, it is evident that the distribution of synthetic steroids is high in pharmaceutical use for hormonal anomalies, but they provide adverse side effects over long term usage. Steroids work as immunosuppressants to control many autoimmune disorders concerned with inflammation, but they also reduce the activity of the immune system, which is the body’s natural defence against infection and illness. Replacement of natural steroids sourced from herbal plants, marine invertebrates, bacteria, algae, and fungi has a medicinal value that aids in the treatment of various ailments. Apart from hormonal functions, bio-derived steroids also display a safe and copious pharmacological profile for anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-neoplastic, neuroprotective, and cardioprotective activities. This chapter discusses the prevalence of various naturally available steroids in different entities and their suitable applications in various fields.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory, Hormones, Natural steroids, Pharmacology, Signaling molecules.

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