Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2017, Vol. 22(4) 1035-1043
Topical Review Article
Ethnobotanical, Ethnopharmacological, and Phytochemical Studies of Myrtus communis Linn: A Popular Herb in Unani System of Medicine
Mekonnen Sisay, Tigist Gashaw
Myrtus communis L (Myrtaceae) is one of the popular drugs being used in the Unani system of phytomedicine since ancient Greece period. From time immemorial, different parts of this plant and essential oil have been used for a variety of purposes such as cosmetics (hair fall control), flavoring of food and drinks as well as extensive therapeutic purposes. Ethnobotanical information revealed that M communis L has been a folkloric repute for the treatment of several diseases like gastric ulcer, diarrhea, dysentery, cancer, rheumatism, hemorrhage, deep sinuses, leucorrhoea, hemorrhoid, inflammation, dyspepsia, anxiety, insomnia, diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary disorders, and skin diseases. Moreover, ethnopharmacological studies revealed that the plant is endowed with extensive pharmacological activities, including antimicrobial, antidiarrheal, antidiabetic, antispasmodic, vasodilator, antiulcer, antioxidant, anticancer, anxiolytic, sedative-hypnotic, and anti-inflammatory activities, among others. The plant has been known to contain phenolic acids, tannins, flavonoids, glycosides, and terpenes. The myrtle oil was also found to be rich in a variety of bioactive monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes with their derivatives. Most of these studies validate the aforementioned tradi- tional claims of this medicinal plant. Further studies are needed to unravel other pharmacological activities of this plant in the long run.