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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (2): 104-113.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.12.004

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Aconitum heterophyllum Wall. ex Royle: A critically endangered medicinal herb with rich potential for use in medicine

Tareq A. Wania, Zahoor A. Kalooa, Nisar A. Dangroob   

  1. a. Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory, Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190006, India
    b. Department of Chemistry, National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190006, India
  • Online:2022-03-25 Published:2022-03-30
  • Contact: Tareq A. Wani wanitariq.bio.iiim@gmail.com E-mail:wanitariq.bio.iiim@gmail.com

Aconitum heterophyllum (Patrees) is a critically endangered medicinal herb of the northwestern Himalayas and has enormous pharmacological potential. It is the only nonpoisonous member of the genus Aconitum, and has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times. A. heterophyllum is an important ingredient in many traditional systems of medicine. Mostly, it is harvested for its roots, and its medicinal properties are due to the presence of diverse bioactive secondary metabolites, commonly known as aconites. Our understanding of the pharmacological properties of this intriguing genus is continuously growing due to its broad chemical diversity. The therapeutic uses identified by traditional medicinal practice are receiving extensive study. Multiple in vitro experimental investigations of A. heterophyllum have reported the analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiarrhythmic, antiparasitic and anticancer properties, as well as its effects on the central nervous system. In this review, we highlight the classification, distribution, commerce, traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology and conservation measures relevant to this species. Additionally, this review includes the biosynthetic pathways of A. heterophyllum’s key constituents, which could be targeted to enhance the expression levels of desired metabolites via genetic interventions. Studying the genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomic aspects of this species would be helpful in developing highly designed genotypes and chemotypes of this species to be used in commercial production.

Key words: Aconitum heterophyllum, Ethnopharmocology, Herbal medicine, Phytochemistry

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