The genus Ruscus (Asparagaceae) is comprised of seven species which include R. aculeatus L., R. colchicus Yeo., R. hypoglossum L., R. hypophyllum L., R. Hyrcanus Woronow., R.☓ microglossus Bertol., and R. streptophyllus Yeo. These perennial, rhizomatous, evergreen shrubs display a native distribution in the Mediterranean, Southern, and Western Europe areas. The rhizomes of the Ruscus species possess anti-inflammatory activity and are regularly used in traditional medicine for the treatment of urinary ailments, abdominal pain, vascular prevention, and skin disease. Ruscus species, especially R. aculeatus L., are a rich source of steroidal saponins which is responsible for their specific biological activities such as antihypertension, anti-hemorrhoids, and anti-venous sufficiency. This chapter aims to provide an updated overview of the phytochemical components and biological activities of Ruscus species to reveal their usage in traditional and modern medicine.
- Biological activity