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Maerua edulis (Gilg & Gilg-Ben.) DeWolf is collected from the wild for its edible fruits and also used as traditional medicine. This study is aimed at evaluating the ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of M. edulis. Results of the current study are based on data derived from several online databases such as Scopus, Google Scholar, PubMed and Science Direct, and pre-electronic sources such as scientific publications, books, dissertations, book chapters and journal articles. This study revealed that the bark, fruit, leaf, root and tuber infusion and decoction of M. edulis are mainly used as a thirst quencher and ethnoveterinary medicine, and traditional medicine for eye infections, stomach ache, infertility in women, wounds, fungal infections, rheumatic swellings, cough and tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. Phytochemical compounds identified from the species include agmatine, betaines, cardiac glycosides, fatty acids, flavonoids and quaternary ammonium compounds. Ethnopharmacological research revealed that M. edulis extracts and compounds isolated from the species have acaricidal, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antimycobacterial, antifungal, antiproliferative and insecticidal activities. Future research on M. edulis should focus on the possible biochemical mechanisms of both the crude extracts and identified phytochemical compounds including toxicological, in vivo and clinical studies to corroborate the traditional medicinal applications of the species.
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