This review attempts to collate existing data and provide the perspectives for future studies on the effects of plants on the male gonads. For many of these medicinal plants such as Lepidium meyenii, Rupus coreanus, Tribulus terrestres, Panax ginseng, Petasites japonicas, Apium graveolens, Eurycoma longifólia, Pedalium murex, Corchorus depressus, Mucuna pruriens, Astragalus membranaceus, Nigella sativa, Crataegus monogyna, Fagara tessmannii, Phaleria macrocarpa, Anacyclus pyrethrum, Cynomorium songaricum and Morinda officinalis, the mechanism of actions of their active principles and crude extracts has been shown in both laboratory animals, in vitro, and human studies, and includes their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, spermatogenesis-inducing, aphrodisiac, smooth muscle relaxing and androgenic properties. Several active chemical leads including glucosinolates, anthocyanins, protodioscin, ginsenosides, sesquiterpenes, phyto-oestrogens, quassinoids, diosgenin, thymoquinone, proanthocyanidins and bajijiasu isolated from these plants are known to have target effects on the testis, but efforts have been limited in their application at the clinical level. There still appear to be many more extracts of medicinal plants that have not been characterised to determine the phytochemicals unique to them that have target effects on the gonads. Further, collaborative efforts at isolating pro-drug candidates from medicinal plants for studies at the molecular, cellular and clinical level towards elucidating their mechanisms of action on the testes are therefore warranted in the light of the current male fertility crisis.
Andrologia. 2020 Jan 28 [Epub ahead of print]
Sunny O Abarikwu, Chigozie Linda Onuah, Shio Kumar Singh
Department of Biochemistry, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Port Harcourt, Nigeria., Department of Zoology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.