Ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry, and biological activities of plants of the genus Gynura

Md. Sazzadul Bari, Labony Khandokar, Ehfazul Haque, Barbara Romano, Raffaele Capasso, Veronique Seidel, Md. Areeful Haque, Mohammad Abdur Rashid

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance The genus Gynura (Compositae) includes around 46 species and is native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, Africa and Australia. Many species within this genus are used in ethnomedicine to treat various disorders including skin diseases, injuries, ulcers, wounds, burns, sores, scalds, as well as for the management of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, constipation, rheumatism, bronchitis and inflammation. Aim of the review This review is an attempt to provide scientific information regarding the ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, pharmacological and toxicological profiles of Gynura species along with the nomenclature, distribution, taxonomy and botanical features of the genus. A critical analysis has been undertaken to understand the current and future pharmaceutical prospects of the genus. Materials & methods Several electronic databases, including Google scholar, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, ScienceDirect, SpringerLink, Semantic Scholar, MEDLINE and CNKI Scholar, were explored as information sources. The Plant List Index was used for taxonomical authentications. SciFinder and PubChem assisted in the verification of chemical structures. Results A large number of phytochemical analyses on Gynura have revealed the presence of around 342 phytoconstituents including pyrrolizidine alkaloids, phenolic compounds, chromanones, phenylpropanoid glycosides, flavonoids, flavonoid glycosides, steroids, steroidal glycosides, cerebrosides, carotenoids, triterpenes, mono- and sesquiterpenes, norisoprenoids, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides and proteins. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the pharmacological potential of Gynura species, including antidiabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihypertensive and anticancer activities. Although the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids within a few species has been associated with possible hepatotoxicity, most of the common species have a good safety profile. Conclusions The importance of the genus Gynura both as a prominent contributor in ethnomedicinal systems as well as a source of promising bioactive molecules is evident. Only about one fourth of Gynura species have been studied so far. This review aims to provide some scientific basis for future endeavors, including in-depth biological and chemical investigations into already studied species as well as other lesser known species of Gynura.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113834
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Early online date16 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2021


  • gynura species
  • compositae
  • ethnomedicinal uses
  • phytochemistry
  • phenolic compounds
  • pharmacological activity


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