Context: Litsea coreana H. Lév. (Lauraceae) is used as an ethnic herb or beverage in China. Substantial studies indicate that it contains a variety of compounds and shows diverse bioactivities with no toxicity.
Objective: This review analyzes and summarizes the ethnopharmacological applications, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities and molecular mechanisms of L. coreana.
Methods: Related literature (from 1998 to 2016) was obtained and compiled via searching databases including Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, CNKI and PubMed. Keywords (Litsea coreana, hawk tea, eagle tea and laoying cha) were used to select the articles.
Results: Studies indicate that L. coreana contains characteristic polysaccharides, polyphenols, essential oils, and numerious flavonoids, which exhibit remarkable bioactivities, such as hepatoprotection, hyperglycaemia, anti-inflammation, antioxidation and antibacterial, through multiple molecular mechanisms.
Conclusion: This paper provides a systematic review on the phytochemicals and pharmacological activities of L. coreana which should be useful for further study and application of this medicinal herb.
Keywords: Litsea coreana; biological activity; phytochemistry.