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Brachylaena discolor DC. is a shrub or tree widely used as herbal medicine in southern Africa. Brachylaena discolor is indigenous to Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This study was aimed at reviewing the phytochemistry, biological activities and therapeutic potential of B. discolor. Information on phytochemistry, biological activities and therapeutic potential of B. discolor was collected from online sources such as Google Scholar, PubMed and Science Direct, and pre-electronic sources such as books, book chapters, theses and journal articles obtained from the University library. This investigation revealed that the bark, leaf, root, stem and twig infusion or decoction of B. discolor are mainly used for magical purposes and as anthelmintic and tonic, and traditional medicine for female infertility, skin infections, renal problems, diabetes, gastro-intestinal problems and respiratory infections. Chemical compounds identified from B. discolor include alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolics, phlobatannins, saponins, sesquiterpene lactones, steroids, tannins and terpenoids. Ethnopharmacological review showed that B. discolor and phytochemical compounds identified from the species have anticancer, anthelmintic, anti-hyperglycaemic, antibacterial, cytotoxicity, antifungal, antidiabetic, antioxidant and leishmanicidal activities. Advanced ethnopharmacological research on B. discolor 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.


Asteraceae Brachylaena discolor Compositae Indigenous knowledge Traditional medicine

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How to Cite
Alfred Maroyi. (2020). Review of phytochemistry, biological activities and therapeutic potential of Brachylaena discolor. International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 11(4), 5626-5633.