Authors: Nanjala, Consolata; Odago, Wyclif Ochient; Rono, Peninah Cheptoo; Waswa, Emmanuel Nyongesa; Mutinda, Elizabeth Syowai; Oulo, Millicent Akinyi; Muema, Felix Wambua; Wanga, Vincent Okelo; Mkala, Elijah Mbandi; Kuja, Josiah; Njire, Moses Mucugi; Hu, Guang-Wan
Publication: Journal of Ethnopharmacolory
Year: 2022
Genera: Didymocarpus

Ethnopharmacological relevance

Medicinal plants have been extensively used to treat various illnesses since the dawn of civilization. The genus Didymorcapus Wall. comprises 100 species widely distributed in the tropical regions of Asia, with a few found scattered in Africa and Australia. Species in this genus have long been used in folk medicine to treat various illnesses, including wounds, kidney stones, inflammations, asthma, flu, eczema, dysentery, fractures, colic etc. Some species have applications as weight loss agents, laxatives, and protective medication after childbirth.


To provide comprehensive information on the current knowledge of the ethnobotanical uses, phytochemical compounds, pharmacological applications, and toxicology of genus Didymocarpus to reveal its therapeutic potential, offering insights into future research opportunities.

Materials and methods

Data were systematically obtained from books and online databases such as PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Sci Finder, Google Scholar, Science direct, ACS Publications, Elsevier, Wiley Online Library.


Seventeen Didymocarpus species have applications in traditional medicine in different Asian countries. A total of 166 compounds have been isolated from the genus Didymocarpus including terpenoids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, chalcones, steroids, and others. Among these constituents, terpenoids, flavonoids, chalcones, and phenolics are the significant contributors to pharmacological activities of the genus Didymocarpus, possessing wide-reaching biological activities both in vivo and in vitro. The crude extracts and isolated phytochemical compounds from this genus have been shown to exhibit various pharmacological activities, including antiurolithiatic, nephro-protective, antimicrobial, anticancer, antidiabetic, cytotoxic, wound healing, and antioxidant activities.


Traditional uses and scientific evaluation of Didymocarpus indicate that Didymocarpus pedicellata is one of the most widely used species in some parts of the world. Although substantial progress on the chemical and pharmacological properties of Didymocarpus species has been made, further studies on the pharmacology and toxicology of these species are needed to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality. Also, further research on the structure-activity relationship of some of the isolated phytocompounds may improve their biological potency and scientific exploitation of traditional uses of the Didymocarpus taxa.