Plants of the genus Bauhinia (Fabaceae, Leguminosae), commonly known as cow's-paw or cow's hoof, are widely distributed in most tropical countries and have been used frequently in folk medicine to treat different kinds of pathologies, particularly diabetes, infections, as well as pain and inflammation. In recent years, interest in these plants has increased considerably throughout the world. The biological properties of different phytopreparations and pure metabolites have been investigated in numerous experimental in vivo and in vitro models. Although some contradicting evidence has been documented, in general, the results support the reported therapeutic properties, indicating that they are mainly due to the presence of flavonoids. This review summarizes the recent chemical and biological knowledge of plants of the genus Bauhinia.
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