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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 191-197

A comprehensive review on herbal drugs for hepatoprotection of 21 st Century

1 Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Sri Satya Sai Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry Laboratory, Faculty of Pharmacy, Vidya Niketan Samiti Group of Institutions, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
3 Department of Pharmacology, Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur, Odisha, India
4 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Vedica College of B. Pharmacy, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Submission29-Mar-2014
Date of Acceptance20-Apr-2014
Date of Web Publication22-Aug-2014

Correspondence Address:
Himanshu Bhusan Sahoo
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Vedica College of B. Pharmacy, Bhopal, 462033, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: Ayushmati Educational Society, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-0738.139397

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Liver is a vital organ that plays a major role in metabolism and excretion of xenobiotics from the body. Liver injury or liver dysfunction is a major health problem that challenges not only health care professionals but also the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulatory agencies. Liver cell injury caused by various toxic chemicals (certain anti-biotics, chemotherapeutic agents, carbon tetrachloride (CCl 4 ), thioacetamide (TAA) etc.), excessive alcohol consumption and microbes is well-studied. The available synthetic drugs to treat liver disorders in this condition also cause further damage to the liver. Hence, herbal drugs have become increasingly popular and their use is wide spread. Herbal medicines have been used in the treatment of liver diseases for a long time. A number of herbal preparations are available in the market. The present review is aimed at compiling data on promising phytochemicals from medicinal plants that have been tested in hepatotoxicity models using modern scientific system.

Keywords: Alternative medicine, hepatoprotective, herbal drugs, liver disease, phytoconstituents

How to cite this article:
Sagar R, Bhaiji A, Toppo FA, Rath B, Sahoo HB. A comprehensive review on herbal drugs for hepatoprotection of 21 st Century. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2014;4:191-7

How to cite this URL:
Sagar R, Bhaiji A, Toppo FA, Rath B, Sahoo HB. A comprehensive review on herbal drugs for hepatoprotection of 21 st Century. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Jun 28];4:191-7. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Liver is considered to be one of the most vital organs that functions as a center of metabolism of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and lipids and excretion of waste metabolites. Additionally, it is also handling the metabolism and excretion of drugs and other xenobiotics from the body thereby providing protection against foreign substances by detoxifying and eliminating them. The bile secreted by the liver, plays an important role in digestion. Liver cell injury caused by various toxicants such as chemotherapeutic agents, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), thioacetamide (TAA), chronic alcoholism and microbes. Enhanced lipid peroxidation during metabolism of ethanol may result in development of hepatitis leading to cirrhosis. Since time immemorial, mankind has made the use of plants in the treatment of various ailments. Herbal drugs have gained importance and popularity in recent years because of their safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness. Hence, there is an ever in-creasing need for safe hepatoprotective agent. [1]

Herbal-based therapeutics for liver disorders has been in use in India for a long time and has been popularized world over by leading pharmaceuticals. Despite the significant popularity of several herbal medicines in general, and for liver diseases in particular, they are still unacceptable treatment modalities for liver diseases. The limiting factors that contribute to this eventuality are (i) lack of standardization of the herbal drugs; (ii) lack of identification of active ingredient (s)/principles (s); (iii) lack of randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs), and (iv) lack of toxicological evaluation. [2] The use of natural remedies for the treatment of liver diseases has a long history, starting with the ayurvedic treatment, and extending to the Chinese, European and other systems of traditional medicines. [3]

A large number of plants and formulations have been claimed to have hepatoprotective activity. Nearly 160 phytoconstituents from 101 plants have been claimed to possess liver protecting activity. In India, more than 87 plants are used in 33 patented and proprietary multi-ingredient plant formulations. [4] Inspite of the tremendous advances made, no significant and safe hepatoprotective agents are available in modern therapeutics. Therefore, due importance has been given globally to develop plant-based hepatoprotective drugs effective against a variety of liver disorders. The present review is aimed at compiling data based on reported works on promising phytochemicals and pharmacological activities from medicinal plants that have been tested for their hepatoprotective activity [Table 1].
Table 1: Herbal drugs used as hepatoprotective agents

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   Discussion Top

Popularity of herbal remedies is increasing globally and at least one quarter of patients with liver diseases use ethnobotanicals. More efforts need to be directed towards methodological scientific evaluation for their safety and efficacy by subjecting to vigorous pre-clinical studies followed by clinical trials to unravel the mysteries hidden in the plants. This approach will help exploring the real therapeutic value of these natural pharmacotherapeutic agents and standardize the dosage regimen on evidence-based findings to become more than a fashionable trend . Many herbals are on the market to support health, relieve symptoms and cure diseases. However, most of these products lack scientific pharmacological validation. In experimental hepatotoxicity models in laboratory or higher animals, several herbals exerted hepato-protective/curative effects that warrant their clinical testing. Due to lack of scientific-based pharmacological data, most of the herbal formulations cannot be recommended for the treatment of liver diseases. [88]

   Conclusion Top

Chronic hepatic diseases stand as one of the foremost health troubles worldwide, with liver cirrhosis and drug induced liver injury accounting to ninth leading cause of death in Western and developing countries. Therapies developed along the principles of Western medicine are often limited in efficacy, carry the risk of adverse effects, and are often too costly, especially for the developing world. Therefore, treating liver diseases with plant-derived compounds, which are accessible and do not require laborious pharmaceutical synthesis seems highly attractive. In this review article, an attempt has been made to compile the reported hepatoprotective plants from India or abroad and may be useful to the health professionals, scientists and scholars working in the field of pharmacology and therapeutics to develop evidence-based alternative medicine to cure different kinds of liver diseases in men and animals.

   Acknowledgment Top

The authors are very grateful to Dr. M. L. Kori, Director, Sri Satya Sai Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, for their persistent creative encouragement and valuable guidance throughout the review work. We are grateful to our library staff for their support.

   References Top

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