Planta Med 2016; 82(14): 1236-1245
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-110496
Reviews
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

A Review of the Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology of Ashitaba

Lindsay K. Caesar
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
,
Nadja B. Cech
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 09 May 2016
revised 01 June 2016

accepted 09 June 2016

Publication Date:
11 July 2016 (online)

Abstract

Angelica keiskei Koidzumi, or ashitaba, is a popular botanical medicine in Japan containing diverse bioactive components including prenylated chalcones, linear and angular coumarins, and flavanones. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of ashitaba metabolites and their biological activities to prioritize future studies. Ashitaba is purported to possess cytotoxic, antidiabetic, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, and antimicrobial properties. Although many in vitro studies have been conducted on ashitabaʼs chemical constituents, the in vivo efficacy and clinical relevance of this plant has yet to be confirmed for most of these activities. Here we describe the chemical composition of ashitaba and present the pharmacological effects of this botanical as supported by the current literature. The experimental results demonstrate promise for the medical use of ashitaba, but considerable work needs to be done to understand the mechanisms of action of its metabolites. Additionally, in vivo and clinical trials as well as additional studies on less abundant bioactive compounds are warranted.