The genus Actinidia Lindl. belongs to the family Actinidiaceae and is popularly known as kiwi fruit. This genus comprises more than 55 accepted species that are widely distributed in the temperate and subtropical regions of the Asian continent. These plants are traditionally used to treat various disorders, such as digestive disorders, rheumatism, kidney problems, cardiovascular system, cancer, dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, and diabetes among others.
Researchers from the Wuhan Botanical Garden (WBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences evaluated the available information on the 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.
They found that that about 10 species of this genus have been reported to be used in traditional medicine. More than 873 secondary metabolites of 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 showed diverse bioactivities including antimicrobial, anti-angiogenic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anticinoceptive, antioxidant, and antiproliferative actions, and thus are vital part of their therapeutic efficacy.
The existence of biologically active novel constituents screened from Actinidia plants gives new dimensions to their applications in pharmaceuticals. Importantly, this work validates the scientific basis for some of the therapeutic uses of several Actinidia plants and supports their traditional medicinal claims as remedies for various diseases.
The study 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, the Hubei Provincial Science and Technology Innovation Talent and Service Program, and the National Science and Technology Fundamental Resources Investigation Program of China, among others.