Prunella is a genus of perennial herbaceous plants in the Labiatae family. There are approximately 15 species worldwide, distributed widely in the temperate regions and tropical mountains of Europe and Asia. In the genus Prunella, P. vulgaris is the most studied, following a several thousand-year history as a traditional antipyretic and antidotal Chinese herb. Furthermore, since ancient times, P. vulgaris has been widely used as a cool tea ingredient and consumed as a vegetable. The genus Prunella contains triterpenoids and their saponins, phenolic acids, sterols and associated glycosides, flavonoids, organic acids, volatile oil and saccharides. Modern pharmacological studies have revealed that Prunella possess antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, anti-oxidative, anti-tumor, antihypertensive and hypoglycemic functions. The active components related to these functions are mainly triterpenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids and polysaccharides. This review mainly summarizes recent advances in traditional usage, chemical components and pharmacological functions.
Keywords: Chemical constituents; Pharmacological activity; Prunella genus.
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