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Euclea undulata Thunb.: Review of its botany, ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry and biological activities.

Euclea undulata (E. undulata) is traditionally used for the treatment of body pains, chest complaints, cough, diabetes, diarrhoea, headaches, heart diseases and toothaches in southern Africa. This study was aimed at reviewing the botany, ethnopharmacology and biological activities of E. undulata in southern Africa. Results presented in this study are based on review of literature using search engines such as Science Direct, Springerlink, Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, BioMed Central and Google Scholar. Herbal medicine is prepared from the decoctions of the roots, bark and leaves, and extracts of these plant parts have demonstrated anticholinesterase, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antimycobacterial, antiplasmodial, antioxidant and hypoglycaemic activities. Multiple classes of phytochemical compounds such alkaloids, diterpenes, fatty acids, flavonoids, glycosides, naphthoquinones, phenolics, phytosterols, reducing sugars, saponins and tannins have been isolated from the species. E. undulata has a lot of potential as herbal medicine in tropical Africa, and advanced research is required aimed at correlating its medicinal uses with the phytochemistry and pharmacological properties.

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