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Phytoconstituents as novel osteo-protective agents: Implications in bone health

Azam Z1, Pandey V2, Gupta N3, Sapra L4, Dar HY5, Shokeen N4, Soni V2, Srivastava RK6.

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2020 Mar 1;25:1259-1296.


Osteoporosis is a progressive and chronic bone disorder characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of skeletal tissues. Osteoporosis leads to alteration in bone mineral content resulting in decreased bone strength with elevated fracture risks frequently associated with greater morbidity. The latest research in the area of photomedicine had sparked interest in harnessing the active components from plants in both disease control and management across the globe. We in the present review have taken a comprehensive approach to identify forty known plants and their phytoconstituents, which encompasses (i) the genetic diversity of various plants, (ii) their active components and (iii) their osteoprotective role in osteoporosis. Thus, the present review is an attempt for the first time to collectively document the therapeutic properties of valuable medicinal plants in preventing and treating bone loss in osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis is the most common chronic condition of skeleton effecting more than 200 million individual worldwide (206). It remained one of the most imperative but often ignored bone disease related with aging and postmenopausal conditions that always leads to fragility and bone loss. In addition, it has also been reported as a heavy toll on the economy with an estimated burden of 131.5 billion USD worldwide by 2050 (207). Till date, various drugs have been proposed for the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone related implications with variable results. Extensive safety concerns are of utmost importance with treatment, as presently accessible drugs (strontium, bisphosphonates and estrogen-replacement-therapy) in treating osteoporosis are associated with several undesirable effects (208). Both in vitro and in vivo studies have suggested that herbal medicines and their respective phytoconstituents have huge potential for future medicinal use in modulating bone health. These phytoconstituents possess many advantages over the modern conventional pharmaceutical’s preparations including their low cost and least adverse side effects. These properties of phytoconstituents make them suitable to be considered for herbal medicines as substitutes to various available synthetic drugs in the market, which are costly and have adverse side effects. With the advent of isolated bioactive compounds, these plants can be better exploited for advancement of innovative pharmaceuticals compounds with quick response, leading to development and formulations of novel phytomedicines. Also, there is enormous scope for many countries with rich biodiversity, to contribute towards the development of pharmaceutical trade in this field. Although phytoconstituents are present with vast medicinal applications, but for their full-fledged clinical applications, extensive study of their mechanism of action, bioactivity and toxicology are still warranted. With the discovery and advancement in pharmacological studies of novel phytoconstituents possessing potent osteoprotective and immunomodulatory properties, the field of phytomedicine is bound to grow with immense potential to fight against various emerging inflammatory diseases including bone health