Medicinal Uses of Pistacia Species

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Five Pistacia species (P. vera, P. atlantica, P. terebinthus, P. khinjuk, and P. lentiscus): a review of their traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacology

Bozorgi M, Memariani Z, Mobli M, Salehi Surmaghi MH, Shams-Ardekani MR, Rahimi R
ScientificWorldJournal. 2013 Dec 15;2013:219815
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3876903

Mahbubeh Bozorgi and colleagues from Tehran University of Medical Sciences review the literature concerning ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities of five Pistacia species: P. vera, P. atlantica, P. terebinthus, P. khinjuk, and P. lentiscus.

From the abstract:

Pistacia vera
Pistacia vera [Source: Paolo Galli, Wikimedia Commons]
Pistacia, a genus of flowering plants from the family Anacardiaceae, contains about twenty species, among them five are more popular including P. vera, P. atlantica, P. terebinthus, P. khinjuk, and P. lentiscus. Different parts of these species have been used in traditional medicine for various purposes like tonic, aphrodisiac, antiseptic, antihypertensive and management of dental, gastrointestinal, liver, urinary tract, and respiratory tract disorders. Scientific findings also revealed the wide pharmacological activities from various parts of these species, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, anticholinesterase, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antidiabetic, antitumor, antihyperlipidemic, antiatherosclerotic, and hepatoprotective activities and also their beneficial effects in gastrointestinal disorders. Various types of phytochemical constituents like terpenoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, and sterols have also been isolated and identified from different parts of Pistacia species.”

The authors note that different parts of Pistacia species have been traditionally used for a wide range of purposes:

“Resin of P. lentiscus has been used for variety of gastric ailments in the Mediterranean and Middle East countries for the last 3000 years. It was used in ancient Egypt as incense; it has also been used as a preservative and breath sweetener. Most of the traditional uses reports for resin of P. atlantica are from Iran and have been used for the treatment of digestive, hepatic, and kidney diseases. Fruit of P. vera (pistachio) is used all over the world. Records of the consumption of pistachio as a food date to 7000 BC. Pistachio is cultivated in the Middle East, United States, and Mediterranean countries. Iran is one of the biggest producers and exporters of pistachio nuts.”

The team reviews the literature of Pistacia spp. as antioxidants, antimutagens, antimicrobials and antivirals, anti-inflammatories and antinociceptives, effects on gastrointestinal disorders, antidiabetics, antitumors, effects on liver and serum biochemical parameters, effects on atherosclerosis, and anticholinesterase activity.

They conclude that current research on crude plant parts, extracts, and pure metabolites of Pistacia spp. provides scientific evidence for traditional uses and reveals the genus to be a valuable source for medicinally important molecules.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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