A review of the pharmacology and toxicology of aucubin

Fitoterapia. 2020 Jan;140:104443. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2019.104443. Epub 2019 Nov 29.


Aucubin is an iridoid glycoside that is widely prevalent in traditional medicinal herbs, such as Eucommia ulmoides Oliv., Aucuba japonica Thunb. and Plantago asiatica L. This review aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the source, biological activity, pharmacokinetics and toxicology of aucubin with the ultimate objective of providing a guide for future drug development and potential clinical applications of aucubin. Aucubin is a highly active compound possessing extensive biological effects including antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, anti-cancer, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective and osteoprotective properties. Although aucubin has been shown to have poor oral bioavailability in rats, aucubin is widely distributed in multiple organs including kidney, liver, heart, spleen and lung, and there is a sex difference in the absorption of aucubin. Tolerance of aucubin is good and no serious adverse reactions have been observed to date. In short, aucubin is a compound with abundant potential sources, good safety and numerous beneficial biological activities, which exhibits high potential value for use in health care products and pharmaceuticals. In order to accelerate the development and utilization of aucubin-related products, in-depth studies should be focused on the following questions of interest. First, it is necessary to introduce advanced separation and formulation technologies to improve the yield and stability of aucubin products. Second, studies should focus on the specific pharmacological activities of aucubin to determine the structure-activity relationship so as to improve the efficacy and reduce side effects. Finally, clinical studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of aucubin in specific diseases.

Keywords: Aucubin; Druggability; Pharmacology; Physicochemical properties; Toxicology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Iridoid Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Iridoid Glucosides / toxicity*
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytochemicals / toxicity
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry


  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Phytochemicals
  • aucubin