Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Eryngium creticum – ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacological activity. A review

Volume 26, Issue 3, May–June 2016, Pages 392–399

Open Access
Review Article

  • a Department of Pharmaceutical Botany and Plant Biotechnology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
  • b Department of Pharmacology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Open Access funded by Sociedade Brasileira de Farmacognosia
Under a Creative Commons license


Eryngium creticum Lam. (E. cyaneum Sibth. & Sm., E. syriacum Lam.), Saniculoideae, Apiaceae is of great importance in the traditional Greco – Arab medicine. This study was carried out in order to contribute to the ethnopharmacological knowledge of this medicinal species. This review describes the botanical characterization and distribution, as well as critically assesses the phytochemical properties and biological activities of E. creticum, a species that has been used in traditional medicine for many decades. Possible trends and perspectives for future research of this plant are discussed, as well. E. creticum has been found to contain several chemical constituents, mostly sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, aldehydes, coumarins, sitosterols and sugars. Eryngo with its bioactive compounds possesses a wild range of biological activities. It was reported that in traditional medicine E. creticum was applied mainly as the remedy for snake and scorpion bites. Some published studies have shown a broad spectrum of biological and pharmacological activities, including anti-snake and anti-scorpion venom, as well as antibacterial, antifungal and antileishmanial effects. Other have indicated antihyperglycemic, hypoglycemic and antioxidant activities of this species. The in vitro studies and in vivo models have provided a simple bioscientific explanation for its various ethnopharmacological uses.

Graphical abstract


  • Eryngium creticum;
  • Eryngo;
  • Ethnopharmacology;
  • Phytochemistry;
  • Pharmacological activity


To promote traditional medicine and herbal therapeutics, there should be provided the knowledge of plant bioactive compounds playing an important role in human healthcare and the scientific confirmation of their traditional use. Eryngium creticum Lam., Apiaceae is an example of a species that has remained a wild edible plant and it is known mostly to gatherers. This article provides an overview of E. creticum, a traditional herbal remedy used mostly for snake and scorpion bites: the distribution pattern and botanical description of the species, the status of ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and the laboratory data on the bioactivity. The current status of literature on eryngo has been reviewed.
In brief, this review presents the results of the investigations on E. creticum that have been conducted so far and points out the gaps in knowledge, which disclosure is necessary to understand the mechanism of action of the extracts used in a traditional medicine. Also it indicates the necessity to conduct in-depth examination of the correlation between the pharmacological effect and the presence of the bioactive compounds responsible for the action. The review summarizes the phytochemical analysis and biological studies that may be helpful for researches to undertake further studies supporting the existing knowledge necessary to understand the action and may contribute to the discovery of new uses of this interesting species.