The genus Melastoma consists of approximately 100 species distributed widely in tropical and subtropical countries, and Melastoma species are often used for medicinal purposes, such as treatment for bleeding, diarrhea, diabetes, and gynecological tumors by local people, mostly in Southeast Asian countries.
The present review summarizes the traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of species belonging to Melastoma to suggest further research strategies and to facilitate the exploitation of the therapeutic potential of Melastoma species for the treatment of human disorders.
Information related to the traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological activities was systematically collected by searching for the word “Melastoma” in electronic databases, including SciFinder, Web of Science, PubMed, and Google Scholar, from Apr. 1968 until Dec. 2019.
A systematic literature survey revealed that Melastoma spp. are widely distributed in southern Asia to northern Oceania and the Pacific Islands and are traditionally used to treat bleeding, diarrhea, swelling, and gynecological tumors. Approximately 142 compounds, including flavonoids, tannins, phenylpropanoids, organic acids, terpenoids, and steroids, have been reported from Melastoma spp. Different extracts have been evaluated for their pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, anticoagulant, cytotoxic, antibacterial, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective and hypoglycemic activities.
Melastoma spp. are popularly used in Southeast Asian countries as effective herbs and are rich in flavonoids, tannins and organic acids with valuable medicinal properties. However, additional studies of the chemical constituents and the mechanism-based pharmacological activities of many members of Melastoma are still needed for developing new plant-derived drugs. In addition, studies on the clinical safety and efficacy of Melastoma are also needed.
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