Symphytum species: A comprehensive review on chemical composition, food applications and phytopharmacology

Bahare Salehi, Farukh Sharopov, Tugba Boyunegmez Tumer, Adem Ozleyen, Celia Rodríguez-Pérez, Shahira M. Ezzat, Elena Azzini, Tahereh Hosseinabadi, Monica Butnariu, Ioan Sarac, Cristian Bostan, Krishnendu Acharya, Surjit Sen, Kadriye Nur Kasapoglu, Ceren Daşkaya-Dikmen, Beraat Özçelik, Navid Baghalpour, Javad Sharifi-Rad, Patrick Valere Tsouh Fokou, William C. ChoNatália Martins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Symphytum species belongs to the Boraginaceae family and have been used for centuries for bone breakages, sprains and rheumatism, liver problems, gastritis, ulcers, skin problems, joint pain and contusions, wounds, gout, hematomas and thrombophlebitis. Considering the innumerable potentialities of the Symphytum species and their widespread use in the world, it is extremely important to provide data compiling the available literature to identify the areas of intense research and the main gaps in order to design future studies. The present review aims at summarizing the main data on the therapeutic indications of the Symphytum species based on the current evidence, also emphasizing data on both the efficacy and adverse effects. The present review was carried out by consulting PubMed (Medline), Web of Science, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane Database, Science Direct and Google Scholar (as a search engine) databases to retrieve the most updated articles on this topic. All articles were carefully analyzed by the authors to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and to select the most useful ones for the purpose of review, prioritizing articles published from 1956 to 2018. The pharmacological effects of the Symphytum species are attributed to several chemical compounds, among them allantoin, phenolic compounds, glycopeptides, polysaccharides and some toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Not less important to highlight are the risks associated with its use. In fact, there is increasing consumption of over-the-counter drugs, which when associated with conventional drugs can cause serious and even fatal adverse events. Although clinical trials sustain the folk topical application of Symphytum species in musculoskeletal and blunt injuries, with minor adverse effects, its antimicrobial potency was still poorly investigated. Further studies are needed to assess the antimicrobial spectrum of Symphytum species and to characterize the active molecules both in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2272
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Biological activity
  • Clinical trials
  • Phytochemistry
  • Symphytum species


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