Author(s): Moyo M, Van Staden J
Abstract Share this page
Abstract ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Pelargonium sidoides DC. (Geraniaceae), a popular medicinal plant used in traditional medicine in the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments has been transformed into a phytopharmaceutical (EPs(®) 7360) for treating respiratory tract infections. The increasing international demand for Pelargonium sidoides has led to localised overexploitation of its wild populations in southern Africa. The aim of the review is to provide a synthesis of the current state of scientific knowledge on the phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of Pelargonium sidoides as well as the potential role of plant biotechnology in its conservation. The review highlights knowledge gaps in these research areas. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A comprehensive literature search involving mainly electronic and library sources of information were used to collate and synthesise published data. RESULTS: Experimental results from in vitro studies indicate that bioactive phytochemical constituents of Pelargonium sidoides may not possess a direct antimicrobial effect, but instead act by interfering with microbial binding to host cell receptors, inhibition of key enzymes and the production of antimicrobial effector molecules such as nitric oxide and interferons (IFNs) by the host cells. Furthermore, clinical evaluations in randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated the beneficial effect of Pelargonium sidoides in the treatment of respiratory tract infections with few side effects. However, there is lack of adequate information on the safety evaluation of the plant. On the other hand, the increasing demand for Pelargonium sidoides has led to localised illegal harvesting of wild plants. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacological data reported in literature suggest that Pelargonium sidoides shows a beneficial effect in the treatment of respiratory tract infections. However, more studies are required to elucidate the mode of action of the active constituents exhibited in the treatment of respiratory tract infections and other health conditions caused by microbial attack. Furthermore, the pharmacological usefulness of Pelargonium sidoides must take cognisance of the broader context involving the need for conservation-friendly approaches in its utilisation. In this regard, plant biotechnology applications can play a meaningful role in a holistic conservation strategy. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Ethnopharmacol
and referenced in Alternative & Integrative Medicine