Phyto-chemistry and therapeutic potential of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.): An age-old ingredient in traditional medicine
The litchi (Litchi chinensis sonn.), long been used in traditional medicine, has been endowed by nature with myriad biological properties that makes it a potential crop for healing various sufferings of mankind. Different bioactive compounds like flavonoids and anthocyanins have been reported from pulp as well as the non-edible tissues such as pericarp, seed, flowers and leaves which possess strong free radical scavenging activities and can be used as anti-inflammation, anti-oxidant and anti-cancerous agents. Potential role of litchi seed extracts in preventing type 2 diabetes has been suggested in recent studies. Some components identified from litchi seeds are claimed to possess anti-cancer properties mainly against lung, liver, pulmonary and cervical cancer. Leaf extracts of litchi possess significant anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-pyretic activities. An innovative formulation, oligonol-L, derived from fruits of litchi is reported to possess chemo-preventive and chemo-protective potential against photo-injuries such as skin photo-ageing and cancer. Thus, it could be implied that litchi tree is studded with more blissful properties than hitherto conceded. However, an intensive research is paramount to unveil the exact mechanism of action of the active components in order to exploit the preventive and therapeutic potentials of this crop. The main objective of this review is to provide comprehensive information on the pharmacological activities of litchi reported till date and suggest future investigations required to exploit the neutraceutical properties of this potential plant.
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