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UK Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biosciences Vol.

2(1), 23-33, 2014

REVIEW ARTICLE

UK Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biosciences


Available at www.ukjpb.com
Medicinal Plants Used in Liver Protection - A Review
1

Amit Roy , Dayananda Bhoumik *, Ram Kumar Sahu , Jaya Dwivedi

Columbia Institute of Pharmacy, Tekari, Raipur (C.G.), India


Oriental College of Pharmacy, Raisen Road, Bhopal (M.P.), India
3
Department of Chemistry, Banasthali University, Rajasthan, India
2

Article Information
Received 10 January 2014
Received in revised form 18 Feb 2014
Accepted 20 Feb 2014

Abstract
Liver is the very important part of our body responsible for the maximum metabolic and secretory
activities and therefore appears to be a sensitive target site for substances modulating

Keywords:
Herbal drugs
Hepatoprotective
Liver Injury
Hepatotoxicity

biotransformation. Liver is also associated in detoxification from the exogenous and endogenous

therapy. During all such exposures to the above mentioned challenges, if the usual defensive

Corresponding Author:
E-mail: dbhowmik2005@yahoo.com
Tel.: +919893571085

challenges like xenobiotics, drugs, viral infections and chronic alcoholism. The period and
intensity of the pharmacological response to drugs is influenced by their metabolic rate and
hence substances capable to modify drug metabolism would be able to change the result of drug

mechanisms of the liver are overpowered, the effect is liver damage. Liver injury or liver
dysfunction is a major health problem that challenges not only medical professionals but also the
pharmaceutical company and drug regulatory authorities. Liver cell injury caused by various toxic
chemicals like certain antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, carbon tetrachloride, thioacetamide,
excessive alcohol consumption and microbes. Herbal medicines have been applied for the
treatment of liver disorder for a lengthy period. Many herbal preparations are available in the
market and therefore present review is aimed to compile the data on promising phytochemicals
from medicinal plants that have been tested in hepatotoxicity models using modern scientific
system.

1 Introduction
Vast ethnobotanical knowledge exists in India from ancient time. The
dictionary of Indian folk-medicine and ethno botany includes 2532
plants. India has about 45,000 plant species and many of them have
been studied for their medicinal properties. About 2000 figures are
available in the literature and commonly 500 species are used by
indigenous systems. Even though early (4500-1500 BC) origins and
a long history of usage in the last two centuries, the Ayurveda had
received very little official support and hence less attentions were

Bacopa (used as a brain tonic), Curcuma (anti-inflammatory) and


Asclepias (cardiotonic). An analysis of folk claims found 203 plants
for evaluation. Fewer well known ethnomedicines have been
identified that are used to treat intestinal, joint, liver and skin
diseases1. Routine random efforts are not likely to increase the
desired success rate of discovery. Experience indicates that a
modified collection policy offers the best chances for the discovery
and development of agents for the treatment of AIDS (acquired
immune deficiency syndrome) and cancer2.

noticed from good medical practitioners and researchers. A large

It has been calculated that approximate 75,000 types of higher plants

extent of work is now being done on the Botany, Pharmacognosy,

species exist on the world. A reasonable estimate of about 10% has

Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacology of herbal medicines.

been used in traditional remedy. However, perhaps only about 1% of

The importance of ethnomedicine has been realized and work is

these are recognized through scientific studies to have therapeutic

being done on psycho energetic plants, domestic remedies and

value when used in extract form by human3.

plants sold by street drug vendors. The statistical methods are being
used to assess the credibility of claims. A few recent works in drug
development relates to species of Commiphora (used as a
hypolipidaemic agent), Picrorhiza (which is hepatoprotective),

Hepatic disease is a united term for an entire group of trouble that


afflict the tissues, structures and cells of the human liver. Large
number of important functions is performed by liver, so there are lots

Roy et al. Liver Protection


of opening for somewhat to go incorrect. One of the most common

bilirubin in plasma, to enhance antioxidative enzymes, including

causes of liver disease is inflammation, which often results from

SOD, GPx, CAT and GST, to decrease MDA level, SGOT, SGPT

abuse of alcohol, poor diet or even malnutrition . Drug induced liver

etc. Hence the review study is concluded that the herbal drug

damage or liver dysfunction is the most important health crisis that

possesses hepatoprotective activity and it has been proved by

challenges not only medical personnel but also the pharmaceutical

different animal models give many links to develop the future trials.

field and drug control board. According to the United States Acute

3 References

Liver Failure Study Group, drug induced liver injury accounts for
more than 50% of acute liver failure, including hepatotoxicity caused

1.

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5

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3.

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2 Discussions

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UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 26

Roy et al. Liver Protection


Table1: List of hepatoprotective plants with their active constituents and underlying mechanism

Botanical name, family,

Parts

common English name

used

Solvent used

Reported active

Screening method

Underlying

constituents

(model) applied

mechanism

Melastoma

Due to

malabathricum L.
(Family;Melastomacea)

References

Flavonoids,
Leaves

Methanol

English: Indian

phenolic
components

Paracetamol-induced
liver toxicity in rats.

antioxidant
properties &
presence of

Rhododendron

flavonoids

Acacia catechu (Family;

By ameliorating
Saponins,

Fabaceae) English:
Mimosa catechu, catechu,

Heart

70%

cachou, cutchtree, black

wood

methanol

al7 (2013)

the antioxidant

tannins,

Liver Damage Induced

defense activity

flavonoids,

by Iron overload in mice

& reductively

phenols, alkaloida

cutch

Mamat SS et

Hazra B et al8
(2013)

releasing ferritin
iron

Feijoa sellowiana (Family;


Myrtaceae) English:
Pineapple guava,
guavasteen.

Fruits
peel

Polyphenols,
Methanol

carbohydrates,
vitamin A

3, 4-methylene
dioxymethamphetamine
(MDMA or ecstasy)
induced liver damage

By increasing the
reduced level of
blood
Glutathione

Isoniazid+rifampicin &

Significant

Moraceae) English:

paracetamol induced

increase of total

hepato toxicity

protein &

Leaves

Methanol

Flavonoids

Peepal or Pippal

reduced

Zygophyllaceae)
English: dhamasa and

Parameswari
SA et al10
(2013)

glutathione levels
By inhibiting lipid

Fagonia schweinfurthii
(Hadidi) (Fam:

al9 (2013)

(GSH)

Ficus religiosa (Family;

sacred fig, Bo-Tree,

Karami M et

Whole
plant

Ethanol

Total phenol and


flavonoid

Carbon tetra chloride


(CCl4) induced hepato
toxicity

dhamasia

peroxidation &
increase in the

Pareek A et

antioxidant

al11 (2013)

enzymatic
activity
By decreasing

Zingiber officinale Roscoe


(Family; Zingiberaceae)

Rhizome

Water

English: Zinger

Flavonoids,

Liver toxicity induced by

polyphenols

acetaminophen

the liver enzymes


and bilirubin in
plasma

Abdel-Azeem
AS et al12
(2013)

concentration
Acacia nilotica Linn
(Family; Fabaceae)
English: Gum arabic tree,
Babul, Kikar, Egyptian
thorn

Carbohydrate,
Aerial
parts

Methanol

cardiac glyco
side, saponin,
tannins

By reducing the
Acetaminophen-induced

oxidative stress

hepatic damage in

& elevating the

Wistar rats

total protein and

Kannan N et
al13 (2013)

GSH level

UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 27

Roy et al. Liver Protection


Astragalus kahiricus

Triterpenes,

(Family; Fabaceae)

flavonoids,

Ethanol-induced liver

effects against

phenolic

apoptosis in rats

caspase-3

English: Milkvetch, goats

Roots

Ethanol

thorn, locoweed

compounds

Podophyllum hexandrum

Tannins, terpe

(Family;Berberidaceae)

noids, alkaloids,

English: Himalayan

Rhizome

n-hexane

mayapple. Indian may

Allam RM et
al14 (2013)

activation

By increasing the
CCl4-induced

level of GSH,

hepatotoxicity in rats

GPx, GR. SOD &

nols, steroids,

apple

Ganie SA et
al15 (2013)

GST

glycosoids, and
volatil oils

Abelmoschus manihot (L.)


Medic

flavonoids, phe

Anti-apoptotic

By enhancing

(Family;

Malvaceae) English:

Flowers

Isolated

Total Flavonoids

Sunset muskmallow,

Carbon tetrachlo- ride

antioxidative

(CCl4) induced hepato-

enzymes, inclu

cyte damage

ding SOD, GPx,

sunset hibiscus or

Ai G et al16
(2013)

CAT and GST

hibiscus manihot
Terpenoids,
Origanum vulgare
(Family; Lamiaceae)

Leaves

Aqueous

English: Wild marjoram

tannin, pheno lic

Carbon tetra chloride-

By lowering the

compounds

induced hepatotoxicity in

serum ALT, ALP,

flavanoids,

rats

and AST levels

Sikander M et
al17 (2013)

saponins
Otostegia persica Boiss
(Family; Lamiaceae)
English: Golder

By decreasing

Aerial
parts

Methanol

(shoot)

CCl4-induced

MDA level &

flavonoids

hepatotoxicity model

increasing
content of GSH

Daucus carota (Family;


Apiaceae) English: wild

Essential oil,

Monoterpenoids,
Seeds

Methanol

flavonoids,

carrot, bird's nest,

quercetin,

bishop's lace, Queen

limonene

Anne's lace
Pisonia aculeate (Fam.;

Alkaloids, phen

Nyctaginaceae) English:

Leaves

Methanol

Four o'clock flower Plant

Thioacetamide induced

By decreasing in

Oxidative stress in rat

SGPT, SGOT

liver

and ALP levels

Nasiri
Bezenjani S et
al18 (2012)

Singh K et al19
(2012)

By reducing AST

olic compounds

Thioacetamide induced

, ALT, ALP,

Anbarasu C et

tannins, saponin

hepato toxicity in rats

GGTP, LPO

al20 (2012)

& flavonoids

levels

Cyathea gigantean

Phenolic

(Family; Cyatheaceae)

compounds,

Paracetamol-induced

elevated SGOT,

Kiran PM et

tannins &

hepato- toxicity in rats

SGPT, ALP, TB

al21 (2012)

English: Cup shaped sori,

Leaves

Methanol

little cup, cyathea

By reducing the

flavonoids

level
By inhibiting lipid

Xanthones,
Garcinia indica (Family;
Clusiaceae) English:
Kokum

flavonoids,
Fruit rind

Aqueous

benzophenones,
lactones &
phenolic acids

peroxidation &
Ethanol-induced

increase in the

Panda V et

hepatotoxicity in rats

antioxidant

al22 (2012)

enzymatic
activity

UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 28

Roy et al. Liver Protection


Premna esculenta Roxb.
(Family; Verbenaceae)
English: Lelom leaves,

By restoring the
leaves

Ethanol

Polyphenols,

CCl4-induced liver

hepatic SOD,

flavonoids

toxicity in rats.

catalase &

Lelom pata

peroxidase level

Cissus quadrangularis

By decreasing

(Family;Vitaceae ) English:
Veldt

Grape or Devil's

Stem

Methanol

-carotene.

Rifampicin-induced

the elevated

hepato toxicity in rats.

SGOT, SGPT,

Backbone

al23 (2012)

Swamy AH et
al24 (2012)

ALP, TB level
Alkaloids,

Asparagus racemosus
Willd

Mahmud Z et

(Family;

Asparagaceae)

By preventing the

phenolic cpds,
tannins, saponi Root

Hydro-alcohol

English:Satavar,

ns, steroids, and


flavonoids

Carbon tetrachlo- ride


(CCl4) induced hepatotoxicity in rats

Shatavari or Shatamull

CCl4 induced

Rutaceae) English:

Stem

wood-apple, elephant-

bark

Methanol

Flavanoid, tannin,

hepatotoxicity in rats &

phenols

CCl4 treated HepG2

apple, monkey fruit

cells

Flavonoids,

eleva- ting the

Acharya SR et
al25 (2012)

antioxidant

Root

Ethanol

grape

By preventing
hepatic damage
and depletion of
cellular

Jain M et al26
(2012)

antioxidants

By lowering the

tannins, poly

Vitis vinifera L. (Family;

Common grape vine, wild

enzymes &

enzymes

Feronia limonia (Family;

Vitaceae ) English:

raised serum

phenols, sapo

Carbon tetra chloride-

nins, cardiac

induced liver damage in

glyco sides,

rats

terpenoids,

serum levels of
SGPT, SGOT,
alkaline

Sharma SK et
al27 (2012)

phosphatase &
total bilirubin

phytosterols
Terpenoids,
cardiac glyco
Nerium oleander (Family;
Apocynaceae)

sides, tannin ,
Flower

Methanol

English: Oleander

CCl(4)-induced

By elevating level

hepatotoxicity in rats

of SOD and

flavanoids,

decreasing level

saponins,

of MDA

Singhal KG et
al28 (2012)

phenolic
Moringa oleifera Lam.

compounds
Flavonoids, ter

(Family; Moringaceae )

penoids,anthra

Carbon tetra chloride

By lowering level

quinine, tanni n,

induced lipid peroxide

of MDA & elevat

drumstick tree, ben

steroids,

tion and hepatic damage

-ing NP-SH and

oil tree, benzoil tree

saponins,

in rats

TP in liver tissue

English: Moringa,

Seed oil

Oil isolatad

Al- Said MS et
al29 (2012)

alkaloids
Alkaloids,

Alchornea cordifolia
(Family;Euphorbiaceae)
English: Christmas tree

Leaf

Methanol

flavonoids,
saponins and
tannins

By decreasing
Carbon tetra chloride-

the activities of

induced hepatic damage

the serum

in rats

enzymes and

Osadebe PO
et al30 (2012)

bilirubin
UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 29

Roy et al. Liver Protection

Hibiscus vitifolius Linn.


(Family; Malvaceae)
English: Rose mallow,

Pet Et,
Roots

bharadwaji, bankapas

chloroform,
met hanol &
aqueous

Anti-tubercular drug
Flavonoids,

By lowering the

induced hepatotoxicity in

phenolic

concentration of

rats

AST, ALT and

compounds

Samuel AJ et
al31 (2012)

ALP

By showing
decrement in
activity levels of

Murraya koenigii L.
(Family; Rutaceae)
English: Sweet neem

Leaf

Hydroethanol

Polyphenol

CCl(4) treated
hepatotoxicity in rats

leaves, curry lleaves

alanine amino
transferase,
aspartate

Desai SN et
al32 (2012)

aminotrans
ferase, alkaline
phosphatase

By inhibiting LPO
Vitex glabrata (Family;
Verbenaceae) English:
Smooth chaste-tree

Whole
plant

Ethanol

Pentamethoxy

Carbon tetra chloride-

flavonoid

induced liver damage in

artemetin

rats

& reducing the


elevated serum
levels of AST,

Sridevi VK et
al33 (2012)

ALT, ALP and


bilirubin

By reducing the
Desmodium triquetrum
DC

elevated levels of

(Family;

Fabaceae) English: Tick-

Leaf

Ethanol

Flavonoids

trefoil, tick clover, hitch

Carbon tetrachloride

serum

induced hepatic damage

transaminases,

in rats

alkaline

hikers or beggar lice

Kalyani GA et
al34 (2011)

phosphatase,
bilirubin

Clitoria ternatea (Family;


Flavonoids,

Fabaceae)
Leaves

Methanol

English: Butterfly-pea,

phenolic
components

Paracetamol-induced
liver toxicity in mice

By decreasing

Nithianantham

ALT, AST, and

K et al35

bilirubin levels

(2011)

blue-pea
Solanum xanthocarpum

Steroidal alkaloid,

(Family; Solanaceae)

Solasonine, fatty

CCl4-induced liver injury

peroxidation

& resinous

in rats.

(LPO) in the liver

English: Yellow Berried

Fruits

Ethanol

Nightshade

By reducing lipid

substances

Gupta RK et
al36 (2011)

tissue
By reducing

Cissampelos pareira
(Family:
Menispermaceae)
English: Abuta, velvet leaf

Alkaloids,
Roots

Hydroalcohol

essential oil,
sterol, leno

elevated serum
Carbon-tetra chloride

marker enzymes

Surendran S

induced hepatic damage

of AST, ALT,

et al37 (2011)

ALP and serum


bilirubin
UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 30

Roy et al. Liver Protection

Andrographis paniculata
(Family; Acanthaceae)
English: Green chirayta

Swertia chirayita (Family;


Gentianaceae) English:
Chiretta

Whole
plant

Aqueous

(Family;

Apiaceae) English:
Cilantro, Chinese

Whole
plant

Aqueous

triterpenoids,

hepato toxicity in Swiss

Tannins,
glycosides

albino mice

Whole
plant

Ethanol

By reducing the
elevated SGOT,
SGPT, ALP, TB
level

(2011)

By decreasing

Nagalekshmi

ALT, AST, and

R et al39

albino mice

bilirubin levels

(2011)

By reducing the

phenolic

carbon tetra -chloride

activities of

compound,

(CCl4) induced hepato

SGOT, SGPT,

flavonoids,

toxicity

ALP & direct

Pandey A et
al40 (2011)

bilirubin

quercetin
Alkaloids, tan
nins, saponin,

Ethanol-induced Liver

By suppressing

toxicity in male Wistar

the elevation of

rats

lipid peroxidation

phenol
Phenolic

Paracetamol induced

By reducing the

compound and

hepato cellular damage

level of ALT,

English: Flowering Murdah

flavanoids

in rats

AST, ALP

Luminetzera racemosa

Flavonoids,

Paradise, Melegueta

R et al38

hepato toxicity in Swiss

isoquercetin,

Aframomum melegueta

English: Grains of

Nagalekshmi

Paracetamol induced

Alkaloids,

parsley or dhania

(Family; Zingiberaceae)

Paracetamol induced

saponins

Coriandrum sativum
(Linn.)

Tannins, steroids,

Whole
plant

Aqueous

steroids, cardi
acglycoside,

Nwozo SO et
al41 (2011)

flavonoid,

pepper

terpenoids and
Terminalia paniculata
(Family; Combretaceae)

(Family;Combretaceae)

Bark

Bark

Ethanol

Methanol

English: Tonga mangrove

alkaloids and
polyphenols

By reducing

al42 (2011)

Gnanadesigan

CCL(4) induced

SGOT, SGPT,

M et al43

hepatotoxicity

ALP, bilirubin,

(2011)

cholesterol level

By reducing

Dichrostachys cinerea
(Family; Fabaceae)
English: Sicklebush, Bell

Eesha BR et

Flavonoids,
Leaves

Methanol

mimosa, Chinese lantern

polyphenols,
tannins

elevated serum
CCL4 induced

marker enzymes

Babu PS et

hepatotoxicity

of AST, ALT,

al44 (2011)

ALP and serum

tree

bilirubin

By normalizing
Ocimum sanctum
(Family; Lamiaceae)
English: Sacred/Holy
Basil, Green Tulsi

Volatile oil,
Leaves

Ethanol

eugenol, gallic
acid, flavonoids,
vitamin C

serum proteins,
Paracetamol- induced

albumin globulin

liver damage in Albino

ratio, alkaline

rats

phosphatase,

Lahon K et al44
(2011)

transaminases
level

UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 31

Roy et al. Liver Protection


Glycosides,
Leptadenia reticulata
(Retz.)

(Family;

Asclepiadaceae) English:

Stems

Ethanol and
aqueous

Jiwanti

By restoration

flavonoids,

Carbon tetra chloride-

tannins,

induced hepatotoxicity in

phytosterols,

rats

levels of serum
bilirubin and

Nema AK et
al45 (2011)

protein

phenolic
compounds

Carissa opaca (Family;

Flavonoids,

Apocynaceae)

tannins, terpen

English:Conkerberry

Leaves

Methanol

oids, alkaloids,

or Bush Plum, Currant

anthraquinones &

Bush

cardiac glycosides

By increasing the
activities of anti
CCl4-induced damage in

oxidant enzymes;

Sahreen S et

rat

CAT, POD, SOD,

al46 (2011)

GSH-Px, GSR,
GST and QR

Alkaloids, tannins,
Musa sapientum Linn
(Family; Musaceae)
English: Banana,

Central
stem

Aqueous

Carbon tetra chloride

saponins,

induced hepatotoxicity in

flavonoids,

rats

glycosides
Curcuma longa L.

Alkaloids, tannins,

(Family; Zingiberaceae)
English: Turmeric

Rhizome

Aqueous

By preventing

polyph enols,

saponins,
flavonoids,
terpenoids

D-galactosamine
(GNH2) induced liver
injury in mice

rise in MDA &

Dikshit P et

increasing GSH,

al47 (2011)

SOD

Enhance hepatic
GSH

Adaramoye
OA et al48
(2010)

Bacopa monnieri
(Family; Plantaginaceae)
English: water hyssop,
brahmi, thyme-leafed

Whole
plant

Alkaloids,
Ethanol

saponins,
flavonoids

Nitrobenzene Induced
Liver Damage in Rats

By increasing in
SOD, CAT and
GPx

Menon BR et
al49 (2010)

gratiola

Flavanol

Flavan-3,4-diol

UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 32

Roy et al. Liver Protection

Quercetin

Pyrocatechol

Gallic acid

Phloroglucinol

Flavonoid (Flavone)
Resorcinol

Ellagic acid
Pyrogallol
Figure 1 Chemical structure of some important flavonoids and phenolic compounds exhibit hepatoprotective effect

UK J Pharm & Biosci, 2014: 2(1); 33