Evolutionary research trend of Polygonatum species: a comprehensive account of their transformation from traditional medicines to functional foods

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Oct 20;1-18. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2021.1993783. Online ahead of print.


With the advances in Polygonatum research, there is a huge interest in harnessing the valuable functional ingredients of this genus with the potential for functional foods. This review emphasizes the different aspects of Ploygonatum based research starting from its bioactive compounds, their structural characterization, various extraction methods, as well as biological activities. In view of its integral use as an essential medicinal plant, our review emphasizes on its promising food applications both as an ingredient and as a whole food, and its improved health benefits with potential for agricultural and environmental relevance are also discussed. As we collated the recent research information, we present the main challenges and limitations of the current research trend in this area which can upgrade the further expansion of Polygonatum-related research that will strengthen its economic and accessible nutritional value in the food and health industries. By highlighting the need for the unattended species, this review not only fills existing research gaps, but also encourages the researchers to find new avenues for the natural production of bio-based functional materials and the development of highly functional and health-promoting foods for disease prevention and treatment.

Keywords: Polygonatum; Bioactive compounds; functional foods; health benefits.