Genus Rauvolfia: A review of its ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, quality control/quality assurance, pharmacological activities and clinical evidence.J Ethnopharmacol. 2022 Sep 15; 295:115327.JE
The plants are from the genus Rauvolfia Plum. ex L. (Apocynaceae), which is represented by 74 species with many synonyms, and distributed worldwide, especially in the Asian, and African continents. Traditionally, some of them are used for the treatment of various disorders related to the central nervous system (CNS), cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and as an antidote due to the presence of monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs) such as ajmaline (144), ajmalicine (164) serpentine (182), yohimbine (190) and reserpine (214).
The present review provides comprehensive summarization and critical analysis of the traditional to modern applications of Rauvolfia species, and the major focus was to include traditional uses, phytochemistry, quality control, pharmacological properties, as well as clinical evidence that may be useful in the drug discovery process.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Information related to traditional uses, chemical constituents, separation techniques/analytical methods, and pharmacological properties of the genus Rauvolfia were obtained using electronic databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, SciFinder, PubMed, PubChem, ChemSpider, and Google Scholar between the years 1949-2021. The scientific name of the species and its synonyms were checked with the information of The Plant List.
A total of seventeen Rauvolfia species have been traditionally explored for various therapeutic applications, out of which the roots of R. serpentina and R. vomitoria are used most commonly for the treatment of many diseases. About 287 alkaloids, seven terpenoids, nine flavonoids, and four phenolic acids have been reported in different parts of the forty-three species. Quality control (QC)/quality assurance (QA) of extracts/herbal formulations of Rauvolfia species was analyzed by qualitative and quantitative methods based on the major MIAs such as compounds 144, 164, 182, 190, and 214 using HPTLC, HPLC, and HPLC-MS. The various extracts of different plant parts of thirteen Rauvolfia species are explored for their pharmacological properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiprotozoal, antitrypanosomal, antipsychotic, cardioprotective, cholinesterase inhibitory, and hepatoprotective. Of which, clinical trials of herbal formulations/extracts of R. serpentina and MIAs have been reported for CVD, CNS, antihypertensive therapy, antidiabetic effects, and psoriasis therapy, while the extracts and phytoconstituents of remaining Rauvolfia species are predominantly significant, owning them to be additional attention for further investigation under clinical trials and QC/QA.
The present communication has provided a comprehensive, systematic, and critically analyzed vision into the traditional uses, phytochemistry, and modern therapeutic applications of the genus Rauvolfia are validated by scientific evidence. In addition, different plant parts from this genus, especially raw and finished herbal products of the roots of R. serpentina have been demonstrated for the QC/QA.