Bioactive Compounds of Aristotelia chilensis Stuntz and their Pharmacological Effects

Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2016;17(6):513-23. doi: 10.2174/1389201017666160114095246.


Aristotelia chilensis ([Molina], Stuntz) a member of the family Eleocarpaceae, is a plant native to Chile that is distributed in tropical and temperate Asia, Australia, the Pacific Area, and South America. The juice of its berries has important medicinal properties, as an astringent, tonic, and antidiarrhoeal. Its many qualities make the maqui berry the undisputed sovereign of the family of so-called "superfruits", as well as a valuable tool to combat cellular inflammation of bones and joints. Recently, it is discovered that the leaves of the maqui berry have important antibacterial and antitumour activities. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the traditional use, phytochemistry, and biological activity of A. chilensis using information collected from scientific journals, books, and electronic searches. Anthocyanins, other flavonoids, alkaloids, cinnamic acid derivatives, benzoic acid derivatives, other bioactive molecules, and mineral elements are summarized. A broad range of activities of plant extracts and fractions are presented, including antioxidant activity, inhibition of visible light-induced damage of photoreceptor cells, inhibition of α-glucosidase, inhibition of pancreatic lipase, anti-diabetic effects, anti-inflammatory effects, analgesic effects, anti-diabetes, effective prevention of atherosclerosis, promotion of hair growth, anti-photo ageing of the skin, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation. Although some ethnobotanical uses have been supported in in vitro experiments, further studies of the individual compounds or chemical classes of compounds responsible for the pharmacological effects and the mechanisms of action are necessary. In addition, the toxicity and the side effects from the use of A. chilensis, as well as clinical trials, require attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Elaeocarpaceae*
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Phytochemicals / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves


  • Alkaloids
  • Flavonoids
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts