Pharmacological and chemical features of Nepeta L. genus: Its importance as a therapeutic agent

Phytother Res. 2018 Feb;32(2):185-198. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5946. Epub 2017 Oct 18.


Medicinal plants have always had great value for the human population due to their valuable constituents and potential bioactivities. The objective of this review is to present an updated overview of an important medicinal plant genus Nepeta L., from the family Lamiaceae, revealing its traditional utilization, biological activity, phytoconstituents, and mechanisms of action. For this purpose, a literature survey was carried out by using SciFinder, ScienceDirect, Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science followed by a revision of the bibliographies of the related articles. We have described and analyzed the role of plants in drug discovery and the importance of Nepeta species. Information on the utilization purposes of Nepeta species in folk medicine has been emphasized, and scientific studies on the biological effects and secondary metabolites are addressed. Nepeta species are characterized by terpenoid-type compounds and phenolic constituents, which exert several activities such as an antimicrobial, repellent against major pathogen vector mosquitoes, insecticide, larvicide against Anopheles stephensi, cytotoxic anticarcinogen, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory agent, and antidepressant, revealing its importance in medicinal and agricultural fields. On the basis of numerous studies, the Nepeta genus demonstrates remarkable therapeutic effects against various diseases. However, clinical studies are warranted to confirm preclinical findings.

Keywords: Lamiaceae; Nepeta; biological activity; folk medicine; phytochemistry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Medicine, Traditional / methods*
  • Nepeta / chemistry*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plants, Medicinal / drug effects*