The plants of the genus Stephania (Menispermaceae) are widely distributed, and have long been used in folk medicine for the treatment of various ailments such as asthma, tuberculosis, dysentery, hyperglycemia, malaria, cancer and fever. Over 150 alkaloids together with flavonoids, lignans, steroids, terpenoids and coumarins have been identified in the genus, and many of these have been evaluated for biological activity. This review presents comprehensive information on the chemistry and pharmacology of the genus together with the traditional uses of many of its plants. In addition, this review discusses the structure–activity relationship of different compounds as well as recent developments and the scope for future research in this aspect.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.