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Research Reviews the Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacological Properties of Kiwifruit


The genus Actinidia Lindl. belongs to the family Actinidiaceae and is popularly known as kiwifruits. This genus comprises over 55 accepted species, which are widely distributed in the temperate and subtropical regions of the Asian continent. These plants are traditionally used to treat diverse disorders, such as digestive disorders, rheumatism, kidney problems, cardiovascular system, cancers, dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, and diabetes among others.

Researchers from the Eastern African Plant Flora and Taxonomy Research Group of Wuhan Botanical Garden assessed the available information on ethnobotanical, phytochemical, and pharmacological uses, possible mechanisms of action, and toxicity of Actinidia plants, to understand their connotations and provide a scientific basis and gaps for further research.

The findings revealed that about 10 species of this genus have been reported to be used in traditional medicines. More than 873 secondary metabolites from different chemical classes have been isolated from this genus, several of which are linked to the exhibited bioactivities. Synergetic interactions between many of these compounds and/or extracts displayed diverse bioactivities including antimicrobial, anti-angiogenic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anticinoceptive, antioxidant, and antiproliferative actions, and thus are vital part of their therapeutic efficacy.

Existence of biologically active novel constituents screened from Actinidia plants gives new dimensions towards their applications in pharmaceuticals. Importantly, this paper validates the scientific basis for some of the therapeutic uses of several Actinidia plants and supports their traditional medicinal claim as remedies to diverse illnesses.

The research titled “The Genus Actinidia Lindl. (Actinidiaceae): A Comprehensive Review on its Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacological Properties” was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Hubei Provincial Science and Technology Innovation Talent and Service Program, National Science and Technology Fundamental Resources Investigation Program of China, and Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, CAS.

Emmanuel Nyongesa Waswa, a Kenyan student, is the first author. Professor HU Guangwan is the corresponding author. Several students from the group take part in this study.

 Classes of secondary metabolites with biological activities (Image by WBG)


Modes of immunoregulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor actions of Actinidia bioactivities (Image by WBG)

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