This study provides a basis for further study on molecular mechanisms of anti-inflammatory, phlegm-expelling, cough- and pain-relieving activities of Gancao (Radix Glycyrrhizae).
Gancao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) was first recorded in Shennongbencaojing, which was published in the third century A.D. (Han Dynasty of China).
Objective: To accumulate data from studies on the compounds identified from Gancao (Radix Glycyrrhizae, GC), and then systematically summarize and classify these compounds according to their structural characteristics. Methods: Five databases (CNKI, VIP, Wanfang data, CBM, and Pubmed) were used to search for studies on the chemical structure of compounds from GC. The retrieval time of the respective databases was from their inception to March 2016. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the papers were carefully screened, and the data were extracted. Results: A total of 653 compounds from GC were collated from 252 articles, including flavonols (n = 201) belonging to 10 subgroups, terpenes and saponins (n = 167), coumarins (n = 30) belonging to 3 subgroups, aliphatics (n = 206), aromatics (n = 35), and others (n = 14). The flavones, represented by liquiritin and liquiritigenin, were the most reported compounds isolated from GC, followed by terpenes and saponins such as glycyrrhizic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid. Conclusion: The more than 600 natural compounds in GC may be responsible for GC’s anti-inflammatory, phlegm-expelling, cough- and pain-relieving activities.