Pharmacological potential and conservation prospect of genus Eucomis (Hyacinthaceae) endemic to southern Africa.

Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa.
Journal of ethnopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.94). 11/2013; 151(1). DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The genus Eucomis (Hyacinthaceae) consists of 10 species that are extensively used in African traditional medicine.
An appraisal of current information on the distribution and morphology, traditional uses, pharmacology, toxicology and approaches devised to enhance the conservation of the genus.
A systematic and comprehensive literature search using electronic searches such as Scopus, Google Scholar, Web of Science and ethnobotanical books was conducted.
Evidence from traditional medicine usage shows wide utilization of this genus for ailments such as respiratory, venereal diseases, rheumatism, kidney and bladder infections. Pharmacological screening reported antimicrobial, antiplasmodial, antitumor, cytotoxic, phytotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The potential of the genus Eucomis especially in terms of pharmacology cannot be overemphasized. Apart from the anti-inflammatory properties, the antifungal activity of Eucomis remains a valuable reservoir with potential application in the agriculture sector as a source of an affordable biocontrol agent. Extensive utilization of members of the genus Eucomis is causing severe strain on wild populations. Although conventional propagation has been relatively effective in the alleviation of the declining status, micropropagation of members may be vital to guarantee the conservation of wild populations.

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