Research: xTU and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 233


xTU and COLLEAGUES,  (1)Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, PR China conducted a review to assess the scientific evidence for therapeutic Callicarpa in TCM and to identify future research needs.


Callicarpa L. (Verbenaceae) has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the prevention and treatment of a wide number of health disorders such as inflammation, rheumatism, haematuria, fracture, hematemesis, menoxenia, gastrointestinal bleeding, scrofula, etc.


The available information on the ethnopharmacological uses in Chinese medicine, phytochemistry, pharmacology and clinical practice of Callicarpa species was collected via a library and electronic search (PubMed, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar and CNKI).


A variety of ethno-medical use of Callicarpa has been recorded in many ancient Chinese books. Phytochemical investigation of this genus has resulted in identification of more than 200 chemical constituents, among which diterpenes, triterpenoids and flavonoids are the predominant groups. The isolates and crude extract have exhibited a wide spectrum of in vitro and in vivo pharmacological effects involving anti-inflammatory, haemostatic, neuroprotective, anti-amnesic, antitubercular, antioxidant, antimicrobial and analgesic activities. Preparations containing Callicarpa species exerted good efficacy on clinical applications of gynaecological inflammation, internal and external haemorrhage as well as acne vulgaris and chronic pharyngitis, etc. From the toxicity perspective, only three Callicarpa species have been assessed.


Pharmacological results have validated the use of Callicarpa species in the traditional medicine. As literature demonstrated, terpenoids and flavonoids are perhaps responsible for most of the activities shown by the plants of this genus. However, the detailed active compounds and the underlying mechanisms remain a work in progress. In addition, more attention should be paid to C. nudiflora as well as the domain of rheumatism.


Tu Y(1), Sun L, Guo M, Chen W. The medicinal uses of Callicarpa L. in traditional Chinese medicine: an ethnopharmacological, phytochemical and pharmacological review. J Ethnopharmacol 146(2):465-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.12.051. Mar 27 2013. Epub Jan 9 2013. Erratum in  J Ethnopharmacol.;147(3):680. Jun 3 2013.

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