Rheum australe D. Don: a review of its botany, ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology.J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jun 14; 141(3):761-74.JE
Rheum australe D. Don (Polygonaceae) has been commonly used in traditional medicine for a wide range of ailments related to the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, respiratory and skeletal systems as well as to infectious diseases.
AIM OF THE REVIEW
To provide the up-to-date information that is available on the botany, traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of Rheum australe. Additionally, to highlight the possible uses of this species to treat different diseases and to provide a basis for future research.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The present review covers the literature available from 1980 to 2011. The information was collected from scientific journals, books, theses and reports via a library and electronic search (Google Scholar, Web of Science and ScienceDirect).
Ethnomedical uses of Rheum australe have been recorded from China, India, Nepal and Pakistan for 57 different types of ailments. The phytochemical studies have shown the presence of many secondary metabolites belonging to anthraquinones, stilbenes, anthrones, oxantrone ethers and esters, chromones, flavonoids, carbohydrate, lignans, phenols and sterols. Crude extracts and isolated compounds from Rheum australe show a wide spectrum of pharmacological activities, such as antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer, hepatoprotective and immune-enhancing activities, as well as a usefulness for improving renal function.
Rheum australe has been widely used source of medicine for years without any adverse effects. Many studies have provided evidence for various traditional uses. However, there is a need for additional studies of the isolated compounds to validate the traditional uses in human models. The present review on the botany, traditional uses, phytochemistry and toxicity has provided preliminary information for further studies and commercial exploitations of the plant.