Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge. (Asparagaceae) yields Anemarrhenae Rhizoma, which has a long history to be used as a traditional medicine to treat various ailments, like cold-induced febrile disease with arthralgia, hematochezia, tidal fever and night sweats by Yin deficiency, bone-steaming, cough, and hemoptysis. It is also used as an ingredient of healthy food, wine, tea, biological toothpaste. Its importance is demonstrated by large scale to treat kinds of diseases in eastern Asian countries. The aim of this review is to provide up-to-date information about phytochemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology of Anemarrhena asphodeloides based on scientific literatures. It will build up a new foundation for further study on mechanism and development of better therapeutic agent and healthy product from Anemarrhena asphodeloides.
Material and methods:
All the available information on Anemarrhena asphodeloides was collected via electronic search (using PubMed, SciFinder Scholar, CNKI, TPL (www.theplantlist.org), Google Scholar, Baidu Scholar, and Web of Science).
Comprehensive analysis of the literatures searched through sources available above confirmed that the ethnomedical uses of Anemarrhena asphodeloides had been recorded in China, Japan, and Korea for thousands of years. The phytochemical investigation revealed the presence of steroidal saponins, flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, alkaloids, steroids, organic acids, anthraquinones, and others. Crude extracts and pure compounds from Anemarrhena asphodeloides exhibited significant pharmacological effects on the nervous system and the blood system. They also showed valuable bioactivities, such as antitumor, anti-oxidation, anti-microbial, anti-virus, anti-inflammation, anti-osteoporosis, anti-skin aging and damage as well as other activities.
In light of long traditional use and modern phytochemical and pharmacological studies summarized, Anemarrhena asphodeloides has demonstrated a strong potential for therapeutic and health-maintaining purposes. Both the extracts and chemical components isolated from the plant showed a wide range of biological activities. Thus more pharmacological mechanisms on main active compounds (TBII, TAIII, mangiferin and other ingredients) are necessary to be explored. In addition, as a good source of the traditional medicine, clinical studies of main therapeutic aspects (e.g. diabetes, Alzheimer׳s disease, Parkinson׳s disease, etc.), toxicity and adverse effect of Anemarrhena asphodeloides will also undoubtedly be the focus of future investigation.