Angelica keiskei Koidzumi, or ashitaba, is a popular botanical medicine in Japan containing diverse bioactive components including prenylated chalcones, linear and angular coumarins, and flavanones. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of ashitaba metabolites and their biological activities to prioritize future studies. Ashitaba is purported to possess cytotoxic, antidiabetic, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, and antimicrobial properties. Although many in vitro studies have been conducted on ashitaba's chemical constituents, the in vivo efficacy and clinical relevance of this plant has yet to be confirmed for most of these activities. Here we describe the chemical composition of ashitaba and present the pharmacological effects of this botanical as supported by the current literature. The experimental results demonstrate promise for the medical use of ashitaba, but considerable work needs to be done to understand the mechanisms of action of its metabolites. Additionally, in vivo and clinical trials as well as additional studies on less abundant bioactive compounds are warranted.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.