, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 165-175
Date: 02 Oct 2007

Biological Activities of Extracts from Sumac (Rhus spp.): A Review

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Abstract

Sumac is the common name for a genus (Rhus) that contains over 250 individual species of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae. These plants are found in temperate and tropical regions worldwide, often grow in areas of marginal agricultural capacity, and have a long history of use by indigenous people for medicinal and other uses. The research efforts on sumac extracts to date indicate a promising potential for this plant family to provide renewable bioproducts with the following reported desirable bioactivities: antifibrogenic, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antimalarial, antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antithrombin, antitumorigenic, antiviral, cytotoxic, hypoglycaemic, and leukopenic. As well, the bioactive components can be extracted from the plant material using environmentally benign solvents that allow for both food and industrial end-uses. The favorable worldwide distribution of sumac also suggests that desirable bioproducts may be obtained at the source, with minimal transportation requirements from the source through processing to the end consumer. However, previous work has focussed in just a few members of this large plant family. In addition, not all of the species studied to date have been fully characterized for potential bioactive components and bioactivities. Thus, there remains a significant research gap spanning the range from lead chemical discovery through process development and optimization in order to better understand the full potential of the Rhus genus as part of global green technology based on bioproducts and bioprocesses research programs.