Four Pistacia atlantica species (atlantica, cabulica, kurdica and mutica): a review of their botany, ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology.

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Ethnopharmacological relevance: Pistacia atlantica (wild pistachio) belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, and growing from the Mediterranean basin to central Asia, especially in Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia where it is extensively used in traditional medicine for a wide range of ailments related to relieving upper abdominal discomfort and pain, dyspepsia and peptic ulcer.
Objective: Despite the diverse biological activities of P. atlantica, there is no current review summarizing medicinal properties of its subspecies, including cabulica, kurdica and mutica. Thus, this paper aims to explore the current understanding of the chemical, pharmacological, and biochemical properties of the extracts and the main active constituents found in each subspecies of this plant.
Methods: Peer-reviewed articles, using “Pistacia atlantica” as search term (′′ all fields′′ ), were retrieved from Scifinder, Pubmed, Science direct, Wiley, Springer, ACS, Scielo, Web of Science and other web search instruments (Google Scholar, Yahoo search). Papers published until July 2020 are considered. In addition, various books were consulted that contained botanical and ethnopharmacological information. The information provided in this
review is based on peer-reviewed papers in English and French.
Results: Phytochemical studies have shown the presence of numerous valuable compounds, including volatile compounds, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, tocopherols and phytosterols. P. atlantica contains also minerals and trace elements, like iron, lead, copper, potassium, sodium and calcium; fatty acids, like oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acid; fat-soluble vitamins, such as α, β, γ and δ tocopherols; phytosterols, like betasitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol and Δ5-avenasterol. Crude extracts and isolated compounds from P. atlantica show a wide range of pharmacological properties, such as antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antinociceptive, wound healing, anticancer, cytotoxic, anticholinesterase, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, urease
inhibition, antihypertension, nipple fissure healing, antileishmanial and antiplasmodial activities. However, there are no reports summarizing the P. atlantica bioactivity, its therapeutic value, and the roles played by each
of the numerous phytoconstituents.
Conclusion: Many traditional uses of P. atlantica and its subspecies have now been confirmed by pharmacologic research. Systematic phytochemical investigation of the P. atlantica subspecies and the pharmacological properties,
especially the mechanisms of action and toxicology, to illustrate their ethnomedicinal use, to explore the therapeutic potential and support further health-care product development, will undoubtedly be the focus of
further research. Therefore, detailed and extensive studies and clinical evaluation of P. atlantica subspecies should be carried out in future for the safety approval of therapeutic applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113329
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Pistacia atlantica; Medicinal plant; Traditional use; Phytochemistry; Pharmacology

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