Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacology of Highland Barley Monascus purpureus Went: A Comprehensive Review

Comb Chem High Throughput Screen. 2023;26(6):1083-1092. doi: 10.2174/1386207325666220818153054.


Background: Highland barley Monascus purpureus Went, a traditional Tibetan medicine with food functions, which is fermented by Monascus purpureus with highland barley as substrate. It possesses various medical functions of promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, invigorating spleen and promoting digestion in folk of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China. This review provides a comprehensive overview of ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and pharmacology of highland barley Monascus purpureus Went.

Methods: The references of highland barley Monascus purpureus Went were retrieved from the online database, such as Web of Science, Google Scholar, SciFinder, PubMed, SpringLink, Elsevier, Willy, CNKI, and so on.

Results: Phytochemical research revealed that highland barley Monascus purpureus Went contained multiple chemical components, including Monascus pigments, monacolins, lactones, and other compounds. The reported pharmacological activities of highland barley Monascus purpureus Went included hypolipidemic, anti-nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatoprotective activities.

Conclusion: In a word, botany, ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology of highland barley Monascus purpureus Went were reviewed comprehensively in this paper. In the future, highland barley Monascus purpureus Went needs further study, such as paying more attention to quality control and utilization of medicine. Therefore, this review may provide a theoretical basis and valuable data for future studies and exploitations on highland barley Monascus purpureus Went.

Keywords: Highland barley Monascus purpureus went; Lactones; ethnopharmacology; fatty liver diseases; pharmacology; phytochemistry.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal* / pharmacology
  • Ethnopharmacology
  • Hordeum*
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Monascus*
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts