Ethnopharmacological uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological activities of Guiera senegalensis J.F. Gmel. (Combretaceae)

J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 Mar 1:267:113433. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.113433. Epub 2020 Oct 2.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Guiera senegalensis J.F. Gmel. (Combretaceae), commonly known as "Gubeish" in Sudan, is a small shrub abundant in semi-desert areas of the Sudano-Sahelian zone. It is widely used in African traditional medicine as a tonic and for the treatment of many complications such as respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, microbial and parasitic infections.

Aim of the review: The aim of this review is to critically analyze the reports on the traditional uses, ethnopharmacological studies, chemical constituents and pharmacological activities of G. senegalensis.

Methods: Scientific information on G. senegalensis was retrieved from the online bibliographic databases (e.g. like MEDLINE/PubMed, SciFinder, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus, Elsevier, SpringerLink). Other scientific information was acquired from secondary resources including books and proceedings, library catalogs, and dissertations.

Results: G. senegalensis is reported to be widely used traditionally for the treatment of various diseases in many African countries. Most of these studies are reported from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan. Phytochemical studies have revealed the presence of a total of 46 compounds belonging to major phytochemical classes namely; phenolic compounds, alkaloids, and triterpenes. Among them, galloylquinic acid derivatives and flavonoids are the most frequently reported constituents. The extracts and compounds have shown diverse biological activities including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiprotozoal activities and activities against gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders.

Conclusion: G. senegalensis is widely used in most African traditional medicine systems and used among African people for the treatment of many diseases. Although there are many reports on its biological activities, most of these studies are based on in vitro systems and only very few are based on in vivo systems. Also, some of these pharmacological data are insufficient and lack essential parameters such as proper positive and negative controls, and calculating the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values. From these studies, it is difficult to assess the future clinical potential of this plant without detailed studies in animal models or in humans. Similarly, there are not many reports on the action mechanism of the extracts and compounds. Future studies should focus to explore the therapeutic potential of G. senegalensis with advance experimental protocols and cutting-edge technologies.

Keywords: Bioactive compounds; Combretaceae; Ethnopharmacological; Gubeish; Guiera senegalensis.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Combretaceae* / chemistry
  • Ethnobotany
  • Ethnopharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Phytochemicals / isolation & purification
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts